Movie Review by Molly Hogan

January 8, 2016 by islandersvoice1

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Islanders’ Voice is pleased to publish the first of what is anticipated to be an ongoing series of movie reviews by Friday Harbor’s own film buff Molly Hogan. Molly’s is the voice you hear on the Palace Theatre’s phone line when calling for movie information. She is also well known as one of the personable checkout cashiers at King’s Market.

Comments are welcome.

Carol by Molly Hogan, January 8, 2016

I spent Christmas in San Francisco with my youngest daughter. Our plan for Christmas Day was to eat Chinese take-out and watch Netflix. As much as I appreciate what Netflix has to offer, my preference is to see films at the cinema. So the day after, we checked what was available to see a bus ride away.We chose Carol, from director Todd Haynes (Far from Heaven, Velvet Goldmine).

This film is based on the novel The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith, published in 1952 under a pseudonym. Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine, Babel) is Carol Aird and Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Side Effects) is Therese Belivet. Blanchett oozes elegance and style in a 1950s sort of way as a suburban housewife who is separated from her husband and remains in the family home with their young daughter. Mara’s Therese is younger and seemingly more innocent, still unsure of what she wants to do with her life. She has a male admirer, played by Jake Lacey (Obvious Child, Love the Coopers) who wants to motorcycle across Europe with her, but she isn’t ready for that kind of relationship with him.

At the moment, Therese is working as Christmas help in Toys in a downtown Manhattan department store, when she notices Carol, in a mink coat, browsing the toys. Carol approaches Therese, asking for help locating a certain doll for her young daughter’s Christmas present. The doll is not available, but Therese sells Carol a train set, making note of her address so the store can deliver the purchase to her New Jersey home. This is when the spark of infatuation ignites between Therese and Carol.

This film is beautifully shot and slow moving. We can see where the story is going, long before it gets there. Kyle Chandler (The Spectacular Now, Argo) plays Harge, Carol’s estranged husband. He begins to suspect that there is more to this new “friendship” than meets the eye. Harge would like to reconcile, but Carol wants to divorce. She assumes she will retain custody of their daughter, with Harge having visitation rights. Harge, however, plays the “morality clause” in an attempt to force Carol to stop the divorce proceedings. Suddenly, Carol must choose between her daughter and her blossoming relationship with Therese.

Carol has been nominated for several awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actress for both Blanchett and Mara. Mara won the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actress. If you get a chance, see this film. I’m glad I did.

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