Critiquing Film, Television, and More

Carol (2015) and the Power of Technical Storytelling

First off, I’d like to make a toast to Carol for being one of the prettiest films I have ever laid my eyes on. Heavens, goodness me.

There’s something eminent about forbidden love stories. Like most, they follow the brew-stirred formula yet, there’s something pernicious when witnessing the deprivation of an unmatched potential breach into your sockets. 

Carol is a film that utilizes its atmosphere or mise-en-scene as a primary factor in visually controlling its narrative. The story often hinges itself on the two lead actresses’ abilities to convey crucial subtle gestures as well as its props, costumes, lighting, and production design.

One of the most striking sequences in the film that truly exemplified this was rather towards the beginning when Carol, played magnificently by Cate Blanchett, and Therese, performed flawlessly by Rooney Mara, first meet. The maneuver of Therese’s eyes reveals her attraction towards Carol considering they are always intensely locked on her. Therese’s expeditious mannerisms and semi-stumbling responses uncover her shyness but flattered consistencies upon Carol. Cate Blanchett’s somewhat flirty but continuously elegant sways and pieces of dialogue radiate her intrigue in Therese as well as the appealing mysteriousness of her figure from the perspective of Therese. Whenever someone lights a cigarette, gazes at another, raises an eyebrow, it’s all perfectly synced with how the story wants to portray its romantic, star-struck tale tales.

The frequent use of cigarettes by our many characters doesn’t only ignite the romantic and occasionally sensual vibrancy of the film’s tone but it also strongly establishes its 1950s period. The discussion of dolls and trains as popular kids’ toys also hint towards the audience of its retro era and additionally launches the emotional moods of the Christmas time frame. The formal, wealthful, and variant costumes that all of our characters wear expose the fanciness and professionalism of the movie’s setting. This makes it appear as if the film takes place in an environment full of financially thriving individuals.

Carol is a movie that leans heavily on hitting its technical perfections to the bone. You could tell that every meager detail was thought-out carefully and for such a simplistic and straightforward plot, it seems like there was so much more to it considering how labyrinthine the intricacies of its presentation were.

Verdict: B+

“Carol” is now available to rent and buy on Vudu, iTunes, YouTube, Amazon Prime, Google Play, and Netflix.

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