Movies: Carol

The only books by Patricia Highsmith that I've read are the Tom Ripley ones. I really like those. And maybe I'd like The Price of Salt, on which Carol is based, but . . . I don't know.

For those of you even farther behind than I am on these things, Carol is set in the 1950s and follows the titular character (played by Cate Blanchett) in a budding romance with a much younger woman (Rooney Mara). Complications arise as Carol is in the midst of a divorce and may lose custody and visitation with her young daughter.

My chief problem was a lack of tension. They didn't make me care enough about Carol to care whether she got to see her daughter. And I didn't really feel much by way of sexual tension between Carol and the shopgirl either.

Maybe it plays better in prose? Research informed me that Highsmith was in therapy to "normalize" her sexuality at the time she wrote The Price of Salt. That tidbit makes the book and movie marginally more interesting. In the film, Carol does mention seeing a therapist. I'd almost think that would have been a better story than whatever it was they were trying to tell me in this movie.

In short, I was underwhelmed. The film is slow, almost soporific. Really good musical score, but when you're noticing the music, that tells you something may be wrong with the bigger picture.

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