“… managed to be emotional and engaging, while also separating itself from other films that are of similar genre.”
Carol is a movie that was recommended to me by a friend, and was pitched as “a sad movie about lesbians”. Well they weren’t wrong, but it’s also a lot more. Carol is a movie about Therese Belivet, an aspiring photographer in 1950’s New York who meets and falls in love with a woman named Carol (little known fact: that’s why the movie is called ‘Carol’). Of course the relationship is a little more complicated than what I just spelled out becasue otherwise it wouldn’t be a movie.
Carol is a movie that blends in with other films of the genre, but does its best to stand out in every way it can. One of these ways is with the story. Carol manages to tell a story that is both compelling and engaging, and it does this by adding elements that aren’t just “two people love each other, but the world is against them”. There is mystery, there is intrigue, there is espionage; it’s a great way to keep tensions high and attentions glued to the screen. And of course everything was carried by the amazing performances in the movie (the phone call scene was a masterpiece).
But these things didn’t exactly stand out to me when watching Carol; instead I found myself drawn to other elements. First of all the score of the film was impeccable. As soon as the movie starts we are greeted with a song that captures the tone of the film perfectly, fitting in with not only the general feel and the characters but also the setting and time period. If I had to give the Carol score a genre it would be “amorous melancholia”. The score is not only beautiful, but it goes so well with the rest of the movie and creates a spellbinding experience. There were also tracks that sounded a little bit like the music from The Shawshank Redemption, so I may be a little biased.
What I adored most about Carol was the way the movie messed with perspective. It did this in a lot of ways, but the easiest to discuss would be the shot/scene composition. Carol makes sure to really convey to the audience the importance of the story at hand. There are times in the movie when the characters are kept in the lower corner while the bustling city is in full view behind them, or they are obscured by a window that features the reflection of a busy street. These moments show that the story being told is small compared to the outside world. These characters are mere fragments of the city and the world they are a part of; but then there are moments that display the opposite. We get to see these two characters be alone together and the framing is always tight. The focus is clear becasue in those moments the story being told is the entire world. There are also brilliant examples of scenes being replayed with context given, which completely change the tone of the scene which I thought was brilliant.
Overall Carol was a really great watch. It managed to be emotional and engaging, while also separating itself from other films that are of similar genre. There was great direction, amazing performances, and a phenomenal score.
I give Carol an A