Short reviews for clear and concise verdicts on a broad range of films…
Carol (Dir. Todd Haynes/2015)
We’re voyeurs, peering through the cloudy window, into a private relationship that we’re not meant to see. The hustle and bustle of New York hides the lost souls. “I’m always alone at New Years. Alone in a crowd” says Therese (Mara), her petit mouth and perfect cheeks; she is a porcelain doll with wide eyes, curious of the world but unsure how she fits within it. That is until she meets Carol (Blanchett). Introduced from afar, Carol spies Therese across a department store. Her cool, cat-like gaze almost hypnotising the young and innocent clerk. Todd Hayne’s critically acclaimed (#2 in Sight and Sound’s films of 2015) Carol has the dreamy air of Wong Kar Wai’s In The Mood For Love and the sexuality-themed, 1950/60’s US context of Tom Ford’s A Single Man. Like Edward Hopper’s neo-realist paintings, Haynes highlights the isolation during America’s high point. Blanchett’s troubled mother has a similar nervous disposition (and affluent circumstance) to her Academy Award winning role in Blue Jasmine, but without the madness. This is about passing, pertinent glances and those long held looks from across the diner table. In 2015, as same-sex couples can marry and raise children across the western world, it is easy to forget how men and women were still gay in the 1950’s. They were chained down by social expectations, gender roles and a desperate need to remain mothers and fathers. Carol lets us see what’s past the murky glass, and witness a love that so many never had.