I know, I know, “enchanting” is a stupid word, but I don’t know how else to describe it. The US trailer for Carol, based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel about a mid-century lesbian romance, just came out and it IS enchanting. It’s so beautiful in its period detail and mustard-lit color scheme—giving it the look of an early Kodachrome photograph in which primary colors pop and everything else looks washed out and sallow—and with The Incomparable Cate doing a blown-out smoker’s voice in narration, it’s instantly evocative. Very, VERY effective trailer. Whoever cut this—at the behest of The Weinstein Company—is not f*cking around.
But it’s not just the extremely good trailer editing—the substance from the film looks GREAT. The looks between Blanchett as Carol and Mara as her younger lover, Therese, are whole conversations in a glance. Surprisingly, though, Carol’s reception at Telluride wasn’t that ecstatic. It looks like exactly the kind of movie that would send everyone over the moon, but while the acting and artistic design got a lot of praise, I saw a number of critics mention that it felt “studied” and “perfunctory”. Director Todd Haynes’s work can be mannered, which is a turn off to some (see also: his recent Mildred Pierce mini-series), but he made one of my all-time favorite movies, Velvet Goldmine, which is as outré and explicit about sexuality as Carol seems restrained and repressed. (Oh man, now there’s a double-header for future conversation, comparing and contrasting Velvet Goldmine and Carol.) Still, Carol looks good enough to warrant a chance, and it’s at the top of my must-see list for the fall.
Attached - Rooney Mara at Telluride on the weekend.