This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Salim Ibrahim’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
what can I say, liking things can be too hard to comprehend at times.
it's a lot like loving someone...
Flung out of space to bonk me on the head on Oscar night and into screens when I struggle to breathe from a bitter cold on a secluded little night
I honestly don't know where to begin...
Despite my carelessness towards sexual orientation/preference in my life, I'm shocked that I ended up caring for the two main love birds and for what the film had to say in general.
It's just love.
But in the end of the day, it's just a typical love story. Yes, it's a lesbian love story set in the 50s; a time where homosexuality was seen with confusedness and disapproval. But the fact of the matter is, this is every love story ever made. But the way Todd Haynes pictures it front and center somehow affected me internally, not from start to finish, but through moments. When Carol pulls a gun, when Therese gets upset over being easily impressed by whatever comes by (to be mentioned later).....it's moments like that...that makes Carol not only exceeds my expectations, but also comes from behind and relieves my fears for it.
It's a very accurate portrayal of instant romance. Initially, it's great. It's so joyful and happily stimulating to the mind and feeling, but also, there's some amount of carefulness that can be overlooked for the sake of feeding the impulse. One fell swoop and it can all collapse. I may have only went through this with "just" friends and never romantically, but I really respected that Haynes would go that far intellectually.
"OH!! Blanchett and Mara were snubbed!!!"
Yeah, I can agree.
While I went for Rampling to win Best Actress, Blanchett would've been my #2 choice for sure. She was great in this one, and so was Rooney Mara (who was my #1 pick to win Best Supporting). Sure, it might not be the most emotionally vibrant or David O. Russell, but I think their performances set a great tone. Hell, it feels a bit deadpan at times.
But understandably (and far too obviously), comparisons are made to Douglas Sirk. In a way, I can't really see the comparisons outside of it's story and themes, to an extent. Maybe it's because I haven't seen enough Sirk, or maybe it's because I want to also see it as a Patricia Highsmith adaptation, whatever...
Ed Lachman's cinematography is unexpectedly fantastic.
Probably the best of 2015.
Forget the usual film review clichés of "the cinematography creates art", it just creates great imagery, artful and all. But some shots did made me think of really great paintings.....
And on par with Hiroshima Mon Amour as one of the best shots of moving flesh...but Carol's nails bothered me....
There was one scene where Carol is driving and the shot is framed from an outside perspective instead of the usual inside job. It feelt really 'alien' in a way, especially when the actors moved their heads. It was like I was watching PFFR's Xavier Renegade Angel when the surrealistic klutz gets to chat with humans in some part of Arizona (assumably AZ, that, or NM). Instantly, I felt like that shot meant something to me in that way.
Carter Burwell's score is terrible. Easily his worst work since THE CORRUPTOR. It feels like....just the most false Philip Glass. Hell, it's kinda worse than Glass' generic feeling score for THE FOG OF WAR.
There are definitely some big flaws in logic, one in particular was the ending, when Therese enters the restaurant and runs away from the receptionist to see Carol (or maybe a phantasm.... O_o)
Wouldn't the receptionist try to stop her quickly instead of just slow reflection time.
Even though Todd Haynes hasn't made that many films in X amount of time, I think this is his best feature since I'M NOT THERE, and even since SAFE (haven't seen Far From Heaven as of this writing). It's pretty great, and my brain is faltering so I should stop.
A nice spot, the lovers will find, in my top 10 of 2015.