Posts Tagged ‘movie adaptation’

An unlikely love blossoms in the 1950s in Todd Haynes’s excellent ‘Carol’

January 15, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
Jan. 15, 2016

Director Todd Haynes develops a romance between a young shop clerk and an elegant married mother in Carol, his new adaptation of a 1952 novel by the American writer Patricia Highsmith.

The title character, an upper-crust New Jerseyan, is played by Cate Blanchett. The exotic Australian actress, who may possess the most prominent cheekbones in history, portrays Carol Aird as a sort of cocktail: four parts confidence and two parts doubt along with an infusion of alcohol and nicotine. (The ratio of the latter two elements varies widely from scene to scene but tends to be high.) When she meets Therese Belivet, the younger woman is working at a Manhattan department store. The mousy, neurotic Belivet, whose first name is pronounced tuh-REZ, is so low on the store’s totem pole that she’s subjected to a manager’s withering regard for having the temerity to ask to borrow a pencil and paper.

The movie is framed by a meeting Therese and Carol have at a hotel tea service — potentially their very last encounter — that’s interrupted by one of Belivet’s friends.

Carol is in the process of divorcing Harge Aird (Kyle Chandler, the straight-laced FBI agent in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street). The resentful Harge becomes suspicious of Belivet the moment he sees her, and he is more than willing to use evidence of a lesbian liaison as leverage in the divorce proceedings.

Belivet is dating Richard Semco (Jake Lacy), a younger, less well-heeled version of Harge who’s cajoling Therese into marrying and/or taking a honeymoon in Europe. But the reluctant Belivet is more interested in taking photographs — although usually not of people, which she sees as an invasion of privacy — and talking to her friend who works for The New York Times than she is in reciprocating the affections of either Richard or her reporter pal. (I didn’t catch this character’s name.)

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