Carol Movie Review
Hey, it's Cate Blanchett doing her period-piece Cate Blanchett thing! Oh, and Rooney Mara as someone much less interesting than her Oscar-nominated turn as Lisbeth Salander! Quick, let's give them award buzz because they're playing lesbians back before lesbians were officially a thing!
The emotionally charged drama Carol is getting plenty of award recognition these days, most notably five Golden Globe nominations at time of writing, but in reality it's one of the many “well made” dramas in recent years that has very little holding power.
About a department store clerk who falls for an older, married woman, Carol is getting recognition for just that--being about two women who fall in love. That's its hook, its defining characteristic, but is a drama about a same-sex affair that shocking these days? It's Brokeback Mountain without the cowboys or the mountain or Heath Ledger or that soundtrack.
Listen: Carol is a good movie. It looks nice, it's well written, and both actresses are solid in their respective roles. But Blanchett has been fantastic in so many things, delivering so many intense, memorable performances, that when she delivers a strong but nuanced one like this I at best shrug, and at worst get annoyed, that she isn't using her talents for a more aggressive or ambitious role. That may not be fair to the actress, but Carol, and the actors within, just fails to explode off the screen like some people claim it does.
For those who are really into period films, especially ones that question societal norms of the time, Carol is well worth watching. But it's a good-but-not-great drama that is about as memorable as that last good-but-not-great period drama you saw and quickly forgot.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.