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  • Just in time for award season Carol is the Cirque inspired Hayes directed lesbian Christmas

  • love story you didn't know you needed. Why do you need it? I'm Leslie Combemale, Cinema

  • Siren, and this is my review.

  • Maybe you'd like to visit me sometime. You're welcome to. At least there's some pretty country

  • around where I live. Would you like to come and visit me this sunday? Yes. What a strange

  • girl you are. Why? Flung out of space.

  • Carol is the cinematic version of the bold seminal 1952 lesbian romance novel The Price

  • of Salt by Patricia Highsmith (who wrote Strangers on a Train), from a screenplay by Phyllis

  • Nagy. The book is known as the first famous gay novel with a relatively uplifting ending.

  • No one dies, or turns appropriately straight in the end, for example.

  • Shopgirl Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara) and socialite Carol Aird (Cate Blanchett) are

  • immediately drawn to each other. They meet in the department store where Therese works

  • during the holidays, when she helps Carol searching for a Christmas gift for her young

  • daughter. The story of their budding relationship, and the challenges it brings to them as individuals

  • in the homophobic atmosphere of 1950s New York unfolds with all its beauty, poignancy,

  • and sadness, over the 118 minutes of screen time.

  • Director Todd Haynes has proven himself capable of this kind of story telling with 2002’s

  • Far From Heaven. With Carol, he reaffirms himself as the cinematic heir of classic Hollywood

  • melodrama auteur Douglas Sirk, whose visually stylized films focused on the hypocrisies

  • of American domestic life and the oppressive nature of forced conformity. Here Haynes turns

  • his lens to the history of being gay in the 50s through the cinematization of the novel,

  • although the film is far more about desire, yearning, and choosing to be true to oneself,

  • regardless of the cost, and therefore has a far more universal appeal than simply an

  • entrant into contemporary queer cinema. There is also a subversive quality to the fact that

  • in the 1950s, there isn’t yet a language or understanding of what being gay looked

  • like, and as such allows the characters to discover for themselves what being gay means.

  • Visually lush, gorgeously photographed, deliciously costumed by Sandy Powell, and, above all,

  • exquisitely acted, Carol should be seen and appreciated widely this holiday and awards

  • season.

  • Rooney Mara won a Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival, and the story is seen through

  • her eyes, but both she and Kate Blanchett are, in their own way, leads in the film.

  • With a 16 year difference in age, it is somewhat a May-September romance. Both actresses make

  • nuanced use of the elements of that dynamic at play, as well as the fundamental differences

  • in personality and positions of class. Kyle Chandler as Harge Aird, Carol’s husband,

  • carries the weight of playing the oppressive self-righteous husband, and does so with a

  • spot-on subtle self assurance. Sarah Paulson as Carol’s friend Abby Gerhard lends an

  • authenticity to the outsider role, although for fans, is seen too little on the screen.

  • Screenwriter Nagy says the story is about how truth is the ultimate tonicthat if

  • you are emotionally truthful to who you are and what you believe it, good things may not

  • happen, but youll still become a better person. Certainly, Nagy’s screenplay and

  • Haynes’s direction allow these characters good arcs and a rich interior lives. The actors

  • embrace that in their memorable, nuanced portrayals.

Just in time for award season Carol is the Cirque inspired Hayes directed lesbian Christmas

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