My Rating: 4 stars
What a beautiful, sexy, sad, little film. There’s a lot of very complex human emotions all tied together in this movie, and it’s definitely worth looking into. When I first heard the premise of this film—an illicit lesbian relationship in 1950s America—I thought it was going to be another snoozy art-house piece. But, this film actually gives viewers a pretty genuine-feeling glimpse into the lives of two women taking the first tentative steps into a new relationship. The energy created by all the sexual tension between these characters is mesmerizing. We all understand the feeling of first falling in love, regardless of whether it’s a homosexual or heterosexual relationship. That first thrill of attraction and possibilities is intoxicating. And, it makes for very interesting viewing.
The barriers that these two women have to overcome in order to pursue this attraction create the backbone of this story. Cate Blanchett plays Carol, the older sophisticated, wealthy woman who is married with a child. Rooney Mara plays Therese, the young, doe-eyed innocent. She doesn’t really know what she’s looking for yet, but a gay relationship isn’t yet socially acceptable in 1950s New York. She’s not very enthusiastic about the various boyfriends in her life. But, she’s captivated by this glamourous, extroverted woman who comes into her life in a chance meeting at her job. She may not even realize that it’s a romantic attraction, but what she does know is that yes she would like to have lunch with Carol, and she doesn’t look back.
This is a gorgeous movie. The costumes, the color palette, and cinematography are beautiful. So much information is conveyed by what’s not said—the communication is in the pauses and glances. But, in addition to this being a successfully executed film, I think it’s an important piece of art, too. We’ve pretty much been ignoring these stories in this country for decades. So, I’m really glad to see some more diversity popping up in Hollywood, even if the progress is relatively slow. This movie isn’t the self-important snoozefest that I was preparing myself for. It’s actually a little exciting, and definitely sexy. Blanchett is a tiger. She’s the charismatic alpha, and she’s used to winning the girls she’s interested in. And, we get to watch her slowly reel in Rooney Mara with her charm and certainty. I think you’ll probably like this film if you give it a chance. You just have to be in the mood and have sufficient energy to watch a drama.