Michael’s review published on Letterboxd:
"You will seek resolutions and explanations because you are young, but you will understand one day."
Finally!!! I was more anxious to watch this than The Force Awakens. And it's worth it!
Carol, Carol, I wish I had the words to explain my love for you. With glances, touches, empty space, framing you tell such an exquisite love story. Beautiful and genuine, you are like my angel flung out of space. I want to tattoo every frame of this gorgeous film on my body.
A common criticism of Carol is that the main romance is cold and lacking chemistry. My friends have made me semi-self-conscious about how often I pull out the Homophobia Card, but I'm doing it. I seriously think that this (people finding it emotionally detached) can only be explained by the straights being unable to connect to a gay romance, because my gay ass felt passion oozing out of every frame. So much so that the film almost began to deflate when Carol and Therese weren't together.
Another thing that is often said by primarily (let's be honest) straight people about any halfway decent gay film, especially this one, is that it transcends gender and sexuality, that it's not "really" a gay film. To which I say: eat my entire ass. This movie is deeply rooted in the same-gender-loving experience, particularly in the woman-loving-woman experience. You can connect with it, and feel it, without stripping it of the Icky Lesbians and claiming it OK 4 Straights. This is a gay story, and it is a damn good one. Please let us have this.
Also, at the girl who started giggling loudly during the (tasteful and tender) sex scene: Fuck you.
Anyways, let's talk about the actual movie. Cate Blanchett is amazing. She has this exterior layer of being cool and sophisticated, but beneath it is a deeply human, caring person who, at times, feels remarkably lost. Just as good (better? at least a part that feels slightly more familiar, to me at least) is Rooney Mara, as the lost department store worker who falls for this older woman. Her love is innocent without being childlike (and innocent doesn't mean chaste, either), her view of the world constricted without being naive. I'm not too familiar with Mara's work, but I just fell in love with her while watching this.
And audio/video wise? I have no complaints. None. This movie is so beautifully, delicately, and carefully framed. This kind of artistic precision would be, as some view it, cold and distant, but there is a beating heart at the center of this story which I felt throughout. (I cried three times. Ugly crying. And it takes a lot to make me cry when I'm in a movie theatre.) The emotion and energy at the center of the story stops this from being just the standard Tragic Lesbian Story. The story isn't particularly new, but it feels so real, so remarkably human.
There were some clunky moments (that guy at the hotel, you know the one, I felt could have been handled better), but the good is just so. good!!! It leaves you breathless, begging for more. As the film drew to a close, I felt an ache, longing for it to go on and on, sitting on the edge of my seat, praying to Gay God to please, please let this movie go on, don't let it end here. The last time this happened (maybe sans the Gay God part) was when I watched The Godfather Part II. So, yeah. It's pretty good.
Needless to say, I got a new favorite of 2015. Bravo, everyone.