Carol ★★★★½

NOTE: This excerpt is the introductory section of an essay I wrote for Cineccentric, entitled "The Role of Nostalgia in the Films of Todd Haynes". Here is a link to entire piece, one which I spent a good amount of time writing and am reasonably proud of having written. In advance, thank you to anyone who opts to follow the link and spend part of their life reading the essay. It is appreciated more than you know.

Todd Haynes is a director who wears his cinematic influences on his sleeves. From his very first full-length film, Poison (1991), to his latest work, Wonderstruck (2017), his films are often defined by the era in which they take place and how they mimic the cinematic language of that era. For Haynes, implementing these styles is done for many reasons, as is the case for any director who attempts to make a nostalgic film. Not only is it a chance for Haynes to employ the style of films he loves, but it is also a chance for him to critique the representation of social issues of the time through the lens of a film from that period or provide him with an opportunity to deliver representation to a group underrepresented in cinema of the time.

At the center of his reliance upon this nostalgia filmmaking, however, is his film Wonderstruck. Serving as the one of the chief examples of Haynes’ repeated attempts to mimic the style of classic films, the film further serves as a representation of what Haynes seeks to do in his work. For him, his filmography serves as a museum, full of exhibits of past styles and ideas that he has carefully curated to tell a new story. Rather than merely represent history as seen by the world at the times his films take place, Haynes takes nostalgia, peels back its glossy exterior, and uses his own worldview and ideals as a means of providing audiences with the dark truth.


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