Carol

Carol ★★★★★

I have a lot of disjointed (and personal) thoughts/feelings on this film and didn't organize them very well, so read on at your own risk. 

I always feel a bit guilty rewatching a film. I have so much great stuff on my watchlist that I have trouble revisiting something I've already seen (no matter how good). Basically I have a rule: I'll only rewatch something if I'm showing it to someone else or it's been 4+ years since I last saw it.

But with Carol I broke my rule and didn't feel bad in the least. Revisiting this film just feels right. I feel like I know it and the characters so well by now, yet I was somehow still surprised by the beautiful little details within the dialogue, sets, costumes, and performances. I've had a really crushing last few months and watching Carol again somehow made things seem a bit better.

I literally think about this film at least every other day. Really think about it. I still will read essays on it, go through the Letterboxd reviews, watch cast/crew interviews, and even listen to podcast episodes where they talk about it. I can't help myself. When I was going to school in Ohio I even made some (very out of the way) excursions specifically to see filming locations. There's a million specific things I love about this film from the color palette and score to its brilliant use of windows, but they'd take far too long to list. I don't know to explain it but this film just reaches something inside me. It alternately gives me chills and makes me feel warm and deliciously happy. It's the only film/show I think I can say I'm a true, even slightly obsessive, fan of (in the way some people are diehard Comic-Con-going Marvel/DC lovers).

I feel like a lot of the praise this film received when it came out was for being a "universal" love story. But to me, it's not and that's one of its strength. I certainly think people can enjoy it whether they're straight or not, but one of the things I really admire about it is that is so clearly queer, and (I feel) made for an LGBT audience. From the beginning Carol and Therese attraction to each other is hidden in plain sight and boiling under the surface. Each lingering glance and compliment is coded and the two are constantly questioning and challenging each other (and themselves) in a way that I think many LGBT folks will instantly recognize. And the friendship, ease, and genuine care between Carol and Abby, two queer women and former lovers, is handled so perfectly. 

I read The Price of Salt aka Carol after I moved to New York City on my own at 18 and had just begun discovering I was attracted to women. I was attending a strictly religious college and didn't feel I had anyone I could talk to about my feelings and instead sought out all the lesbian cinema and lit I could find (many of which was not good). Reading this book I instantly connected with Therese. We were about the same age, worked dead end jobs in Manhattan, were desperate for a real career, and felt alone and bored in our lives. She felt real, and I liked her. And she fell in love with a woman and it was okay, it was actually more than okay, it was great. Reading that was such a relief and comfort to me. 

When the movie came out I went hours out of my way to go see it by myself. And I was stunned by its intimacy and my own strong reaction to it. As much as that book did for me at 18, the movie has impacted and resonated with me even more.

 I've never been in love. Not really. But this film makes me want to be.

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