Thursday, September 8, 2016

Christmas Carol

Carol (2015) is a bit of a departure from our usual run of action, comedy, and SF. It was Ms. Spenser's suggestion. This seems appropriate, since Carol is a "women's picture", but it is also a departure from her usual horror selections.

It is set in the 1950s. Cate Blanchett is Carol, a fashionable woman out Christmas shopping. Shopgirl Theres (Rooney Mara), wearing the company-mandated elf hat catches her eye and they share a "moment". They slowly begin a friendship, which very slowly becomes much more. But Carol is being divorced, for reasons that aren't spelled out, but have something to do with another close woman friend. Carol is in danger of losing her beloved daughter, especially if morals enter into it.

Carol is directed by Todd Haynes, who I know mainly as the director of Cate Banchett as Bob Dylan in I'm Not There. But I think he is considered to be more of an inheritor of the Douglas Sirk tradition - technicolor melodramas about the emotional life of suburban women. They live in beautiful homes, wear lovely fashions, and suffer sterile lives of repression. Haynes keeps the feel and art direction, but makes some of the unspoken subtexts explicit - like homosexuality.

The story comes from a Patricia Highsmith novel. She wrote a lot of detective stories, like The Talented Mr. Ripley. She also wrote both pulp and literary lesbian life stories. Of course, by tradition, they have to end in tragedy. After all, even today, "the Lesbian Dies" is a trope. But this novel and movie are different. It isn't exactly a happy ending, but nobody has to die - not even Corey Michael Smith (Gotham), the creepy guy they meet on their road trip.

Yes, Carol and Theres go on a road trip, but this isn't Thelma and Louise.

I'd just like to mention the odd name of Mara's character, Theres, pronounced "Tirez", only to say that know a Theres, a friend of friends. And she is kick ass.

In conclusion, this is really a Christmas movie, and we should have waited to watch it in season. Also, we probably should have watched The Witch over Thanksgiving.

No comments: