Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Carol: Our Review Of The Movie!

This Christmas season we had a wish list of films that we wanted to watch in addition to our usual Christmas classics.

These included:
  • Christmas With The Coopers
  • Carol

Christmas With The Coopers was as expected, a simple story, a slight unexpected twist and a happy ending. Well happy in general - Laura and I finished the film in tears as there was a line referring to how dogs feel about their humans....we got a little emosh! It got quite bad reviews by the critics, but in our opinion, a Christmas movie doesn't need to be great - just 'feel-good' with a great cast and story - which this movie delivered!

Next, we saw Carol. Whenever a movie with a lesbian couple comes out (haha, no pun intended) it's hard to ignore the excitement on our Twitter feed. Usually, the movies are small, independent ones that we have to wait ages to see or spend hours looking for on USA streaming sites so when we heard Carol was heading to the cinema near us we were excited!

We planned to see it with friends but the weekend ended up being too busy.

We planned to see it at our local cinema but the times were always too late.

We planned to make sure and see it before Christmas.....and we failed!

So on Boxing Day we finally found a cinema playing the film, at a reasonable time and were able to watch the film.

Honestly, we were a bit disappointed. Perhaps the wait, the Twitter comments or other factors had built the film up too much? We aren't sure.

First, the good: the film was beautifully shot, and the styling, setting and locations were stunning. The acting was first rate - Cate Blanchett especially was enchanting and engaging. It was a lovely and artistic film.

Warning, SPOILERS ahead!!!

Our criticisms are all regarding the story. For the first 30 mins we were waiting for something to happen. Then, the story picked up and rushed through the main 'action' before settling back to it's slow pace to finish. We knew Cate Blanchett's character was going to get together with Rooney Mara's Therese we just didn't know how. However having seen the entire film, I'm sill not sure why they got together. Common interests? Shared passion? We weren't shown much of that, it looked mostly like Carol pursued Therese because of one long, lingering look.

And when their interactions turned to romance, was it because of all their deep and meaningful conversions? Did we miss these? Was there an intense friendship based on shared experiences or likes and dislikes, passions? All the things that make for a great start to a relationship, lesbian or otherwise, seemed to be missing - in our opinion.

Then, just as the film was exploring their relationship, Carol upped and left in the middle of the night, and Therese's reaction was minimal! There was another woman in her hotel room in the morning and she just said 'Oh, has she left then' and that was it! If L had left me in a random motel with her best friend my reaction would have been WAY less accepting! And as for forgiveness - that wouldn't happen after a month of been ignored. The film seemed to completely miss the nuances of a girl-girl relationship. While passion may create a relationship, communication sustains it. Their communication was non-existent.

In fact, if you swapped Therese's character to a man, it wouldn't have changed the story at all - it would almost be more believable.

There were so many bits of the story that were never really explained or followed up on - how did the Private Investigator find her? And then there were story lines that were never really finished. If the film had spent less time scene setting and more time building the relationship, it would have been more enjoyable. Or if the film had continued and we'd seen how they built a life together in America in the 1950's at least it would have left me feeling like I had learnt something, or gained appreciation for the challenges gay people had at the time.

Maybe if we had read the book first we'd have 'gotten it' more? Maybe the book allowed you to increase the speed of the story or spent more time building the relationship - I hope it does!

We rarely do reviews but when searching for Carol reviews we couldn't really find many that was more than a few lines long so we thought we'd add our tuppence.

Have you seen the movie? What did you think?

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