With Oscar season fast approaching a lot of the favourties are being released. Just recently we got to see Steve Jobs and now another film that has a lot of buzz surrounding it has been released to cinemas, Carol. Naturally with the attention it was receiving I wanted to check it out plus I’d watch Cate Blanchett in anything.
Carol is a romantic drama with much of its focus on the two lead actresses, Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. Blanchett is already a renowned name and she has had a wonderful year of roles. Firstly we saw her in the more fun role of Lady Tremaine or the wicked step mother in Disney’s live action remake of Cinderella. Now we watch Blanchett play Carol Avid, a woman going through a divorce whilst forming a new relationship with a temporary shop girl. Blanchett is fantastic as always here and shows her talent through the many dimensions of her characters. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Academy recognise this performance with a nomination or even a win. Having Blanchett in your film is always going to work in your favour and she captives the audience with her every word. Rooney Mara who we most recently saw as Tiger Lily in Pan has managed to distance herself entirely from that shambles to add quality to this film in abundance. Mara has great chemistry with Blanchett and is never overshadowed by her which is impressive. These performances are the best thing about the film for sure and without these two strong central performances Carol wouldn’t have been worth anyone’s attention.
The plot of the film focuses mainly on two elements, the divorce and the new relationship between Blanchett and Mara’s characters. There is of course overlap between these elements as well. Personally I just didn’t think that the story was one that had much to offer in terms of entertainment. The romance elements always took precedence which was a shame because I always found the drama regarding the divorce to be more interesting and emotional. Due to this uninspiring story I just didn’t think that the plot could match the standard of performances on offer here. As a result the film did become boring and I felt that it went on much longer than it needed too which was a shame as it started well. However, I did like how the final scene of the film played out and the combination of this with the score was a good ending which slightly redeemed the film for me. The other element that is easily enjoyed in Carol is of course it’s style. Set in 1950s New York the film looked beautiful, from the costume design right through to the old fashioned cars that were used. Even if the story was boring me I could always rely on the surroundings for enjoyment.
So whilst the performances from the lead actresses are pretty flawless and the aesthetically pleasing nature of the film impress I can’t help but feel that Carol is let down by it’s simple and uninteresting plot. Despite this I’d be surprised to see Carol ignored in this years Oscars and expect it will receive some recognition, which is deserved in some areas. I don’t think this is a film for the mass market but it will certainly have it’s fans so this is one you’ll have to decide on for yourself.
Rating – 6.5/10