Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Melancholy Cast in Steel: Cate Blanchett in Carol

Posted By on Thu, Dec 10, 2015 at 1:30 PM

click to enlarge Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett - THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY
  • The Weinstein Company
  • Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett

The opening shot of Todd Haynes’ Carol rises up on an ornately patterned fence. Each exquisitely composed scene that follows includes things that divide us: walls, doors, panes of glass. There’s always something visually in the way to separate Therese from Carol, the woman she’s fallen in love with at first sight. The movie is set in 1950s New York so the obvious comparisons will reference Haynes’ 2002 film with Julianne Moore Far From Heaven.

But that was an autumnal story, warmed up by Julianne Moore and the shimmering palette of gold, green and rust. Carol is a wintry melodrama, with actresses performing a different kind of craft. Rooney Mara as Therese is chilly and reticent, her wardrobe constricts her body in gray, pearl and black. Casting her was clever: we’re used to seeing her as decisive and self-aware. Here, her character is unformed and in process. Her scene partner is Cate Blanchett as Carol, and she dominates every scene with a melancholy that’s cast in steel. We know what the wiser, experienced Carol is thinking because Blanchett becomes her. We don’t know what the unworldly, closeted Therese is thinking because Mara becomes her. This is a master class in acting, an icy romance heating up on a slow burn. Haynes’ meticulous direction reminds us what it feels like to resist someone, to long for them, and then, finally, to allow yourself the ecstasy of a swoon.

Carol opens Thursday, Dec. 11, at the Embarcadero Cinema.

  • Pin It

Tags: , , , , , , , ,


Comments are closed.

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"