Movie Review: Carol: An Exquisite Masterpiece - GMonsterTV

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Movie Review: Carol: An Exquisite Masterpiece

"Carol" is a exquisitely filmed, beautifully acted masterpiece. It is based on the 1952 Patricia Highsmith novel "The Price of Salt". She is also known for such works at "The Talented Mr Ripley". Cate Blanchett stars as Carol Aird and Rooney Mara as Therese Belivet. Kyle Chandler is Carol's soon to be ex-husband Harge. Sarah Paulson rounds out the cast as Carol's BFF Abby. 

Everything about this movie is gorgeous The score is compelling. The cinematography is stunning. We see many shots of the characters through windows, windshields, etc. The colors are crisp. The color palette is all pinks and greens. The sets and costuming are beautiful. Everything is quite proper (as it was during that time). Everything except for Carol who can't bear to spend the rest of her life pretending to be a dutiful wife. 

We see the budding relationship between the two woman as Carol visits a toy store in New York and (accidentally on purpose) leaves her gloves. Therese of course goes out of her way to return them. Carol takes Therese to lunch as a way to thank her... and they fall in love at first sight. Carol is divorcing her husband. He knows she favors the ladies and is going to make her pay by keeping their daughter from her. Carol decides to leave town for a while and asks Therese to join her. And just like that, Therese quits her job and travels cross country with a woman she barely knows. Much is said without words. There are long yearning stares.  

I won't give away the rest of the story since you really need to see it. Suffice to say, when Carol returns home she tries to lead a "normal" life in order to see Rindy. Will she conform or face the consequences?

Other observations:
  • 1950s Gaydar- We get hints in the beginning that Therese is not like other girls. She works in the doll department at the toy store but would rather play with trains. When she goes to a record store she sees two woman (dressed masculinity) and gives them a knowing smile. Apparently Therese has good gaydar. The same can be said of Carol. She seems instantly attracted to Therese. How does she know Therese will reciprocate?  
  • The Husband- Harge comes off as a bad guy but there's more going on with him than meets the eye. He's still desperately in love with his wife (who can not reciprocate his feelings). He cant force her into being what he wants (no matter how hard he tries). Things are rough for everyone involved. That doesnt excuse his behavior though. It just explains it. 

  • "Dearest, there are no accidents and everything comes full circle. No explanation I offer with satisfy you. You seek resolutions...because you are young. But you will this one day."- Carol's letter to Therese. 
  • "Everything comes full circle. And when it happens I want to imagine me there to greet you."- Carol to Therese. 
  • "Some times mommies and daddies just decide there isn't enough room for them in the same place at the same time."- Carol to her young daughter. 
  • "I should be more interested in humans."- Therese to Carol about her photography hobby. 
  • "What a strange girl you are, flung out of space."- Carol to Therese during their first lunch.
  • Harge: "She is still my wife. I love her." Abby: "I cant help you with that."
  • Abby: "She's so young. Tell me you know what you're doing." Carol: "I never did."
  • "I wont deny the truth. Not what happened with Therese. I want it. And I will not deny it or say that I do."- Carol being cornered in the lawyer's office. 
  • "Now there was a time when I would have done almost anything. I would have locked myself away to keep Rindy with me. What use am I to her, to us, if I'm living against my own grain? So that's the deal. I won't. I CANNOT negotiate any more. You take it or leave it. But if you leave it, we go to court. And if we got to court, it will get ugly And we're not ugly people Harge."- Carol to Harge about the horrors of their custody battle.
  • "My angel...flung out of space."- Carol to Therese.
  • "I love you."- Carol to Therese.  

Grade: 5 Monsters (out of 5). Finally a movie (spoiler alert) that doesnt involve lesbians dying, being carted off to an insane asylum, or being "cured". Hallelujah! Phyllis Nagy does an excellent job with the screenplay. She apparently wrote the first draft some 20 years ago. Todd Haynes as the director handles everything to perfection. "Carol" deserves all the awards this year. 

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January 6, 2015
Movie Review: Carol: An Exquisite Masterpiece Reviewed by GMonsterTV on 9:09 PM Rating: 5 "Carol" is a exquisitely filmed, beautifully acted masterpiece. It is based on the 1952 Patricia Highsmith novel "The P...

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