Ricky's Film Reviews

Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases

Carol

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Set in 1950s New York, a department-store clerk who dreams of a better life falls for an older, married woman.

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Cast

Cate Blanchett – Carol Aird

Rooney Mara – Therese Belivet

Kyle Chandler – Harge Aird

Jake Lacy – Richard Semco

Sarah Paulson – Abby Gerhard

Cory Michael Smith – Tommy Tucker

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The ‘No Tears’ Formula

I wanted to be gripped emotionally by this movie. I wanted to leave the cinema with with damp eyes, having been crying at a heartbreaking story – at the very least a feeling in my gut of sadness but appreciation. I wanted to exit the screen feeling convinced and entertained at Blanchett and Rooney’s portrayal of two women who couldn’t help falling for each other.

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..I got absolutely none of this. At all. The biggest disappointment of Carol was how unfeeling it was. Of course it contained the theme of heartbreak and separation, but it somehow managed to dilute itself of engaging emotion. I say separation – even that was largely toned down due to Carol being already separated from her husband, therefore her situation lacked the ‘torn between two people’ aspect and was ultimately just her – a thirty-something horny housewife on the prowl for the nearest bit of vagina. Emotionally, the only thing that grabbed my heart was how she would maintain a relationship with her daughter. But even then the fact her daughter was too young to understand the situation and had about eleven years until it really affected her dawned on me and became less emotional.

CAROL

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Trailer Failure

Often I find movies that I could have skipped going to the cinema for and just watched the trailer at home. Not just because what happens in these trailers happens in the movie, but because the trailer highlights the main events of the movie and gives the whole plot and even conclusion away.

On the contrary however, the trailer for Carol seemed to mix lines from the movie with totally different scenes. It puts emphasis on the lead character narrating the letter she has written to her lover – but some of the things she says have no connection with what is being shown on screen.
For example, Carol speaks the line, “we gave each other the most breathtaking of gifts”

– clip of the two women’s hands entangled whilst enjoying a passionate embrace.

This wasn’t what happened. In the movie Carol is talking to her husband about their daughter; telling him they (him and her) gave each other the most breathtaking of gifts (daughter).

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The trailer was one of those ones which paints it with a glossy coat, but the movie turns out to be something else. It made Carol look as though it would be emotionally heartbreaking, extract tears from the audience. But in all honesty, I was more emotionally engaged during Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011); the only movie I can remember sitting through at the cinema were myself and other audience members around me were sobbing and squelching at how heart-wrenching the little boy’s story was.
If you did see Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and did not cry – I rest my case.

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I wanted to get emotionally involved in Carol, I did. But something about the slick, sexy action watered down any hint of sadness. When this movie got into the thick of the action, it basically showed Therese and Carol on a joyride through the country having a blast, laughing and smiling – and then getting action fuelled as Carol produces a gun when confronted by a man who threatens to out her to her husband. These scenes were like something from Thelma and Louise, not a sad story of forbidden love. And as such, I felt absolutely nothing towards the lead characters as they fucked around on a random road trip. I got more emotional watching Christian & Sayed episodes of Eastenders (BBC UK).

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What a waste of time Carol was. What I expected to have me crying as I left the cinema turned out to be a simple drama about a woman seperating from her husband, and shagging another woman in the process. This movie needed more anger, more tears, people being torn away from each other.. the ingredients of a perfect love story. One advertisement I saw before watching this called Rooney ‘mesmerising’, another referred to Blanchett with ‘a performance best’.
Both of which I completely disagree. I mean, why exactly was this Blanchett’s performance best?

..because she shed a few tears from red, swollen eyes?
..no different from Blue Jasmine.
Because she vamped up her performance with a deep, powerful voice and wide-eyed facial expressions?
..no different to Cinderella.
Because she played a character caught up in sheer intrigue and mysterious background activities?
..no different to The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

I honestly think the reason people have enjoyed this movie is due to its 1950’s setting; costume and scenery ensure an authentic 50’s feel, as well as the story  being strange for its time. If this movie was set in present day, no one would bat an eyelid – but because it’s in 1950’s America, it’s obviously quite different.

During the movie’s final few moments, Therese is seen walking into a restaurant and approaching a table of people – where Carol is sat – slowly. Carol looks up and the two women share a lingering gaze of adoration and passion.
Yes, the custody battle issue over Carol’s daughter has disappeared. And all the horrible stuff that has happened between her and her husband is forgotten, as the two adult women smile at each other – probably at the prospect of ‘bucketing’ each other once more.
Not a very gripping ending.

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And the positives of Carol?..

I’ll think about it and come back to you.
Maybe.

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This entry was posted on December 9, 2015 by .
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