Tuesday, June 22, 2021

‘Carol’ Explores Lesbian Love in the 50s

Rooney Mara (Therese) and Cate Blanchett (Carol) first encounter in 'Carol.'
Rooney Mara (Therese) and Cate Blanchett (Carol) first encounter in ‘Carol.’

*In a 1950s department store, young clerk Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara) spots Carol (Cate Blanchett), an elegant older woman, looking at doll displays.

Therese is enameled with Carol’s presence; and when Carol leaves her gloves on the counter, Therese grabs that opportunity to initiate a relationship.

With a child and husband, Harge (Kyle Chandler), Carol’s romance with Therese—she’s engaged to Richard (Jake Lacy)—is not only considered controversial but outright blasphemous during that time period.

Harge is very much in love with Carol and will stop at nothing to keep her. Even though she might lose custody and visitation rights in a divorce battle, Carol is determined to keep her lover. Meanwhile, Therese balks at Richard when he tries to pressure her into going with him to Paris, a trip they talked about before he purchased the tickets.

Kyle Chandler (Harge) in a scene from 'Carol.'
Kyle Chandler (Harge) in a scene from ‘Carol.’

That being said, The Film Strip asked the cast gathered together at a press conference in the JW Marriott Essex House, if this story was a classic case of “The heart wants what the heart wants”? After answering yes, Chandler pointed out that “Harge was very confused about what was going on because his character continued to love his estranged wife.”

Blanchett agreed that given all their obstacles, what was in their hearts was what mattered. “It is interesting that obsessive relationship between Therese and Carol is perhaps more so in the film than in the book,” Blanchette offered. “There’s this obsessive pursuit that Therese has of Carol.” Screenwriter Phyllis Nagy said she emphasized with both Richard and Harge, and their inability to understand the women’s growing attachment.

Emmy winner Chandler best known for his TV work, particularly “Friday Night Lights” and the earlier “Early Edition,” was cast as two-time Oscar winner Blanchette’s husband because Haynes needed a strong male image. “I lucked out [with Kyle],” Haynes explained. “ I’ve been watching Kyle’s work and have been so amazed by it as I’m sure most people would agree having seen ‘Friday Night Lights’ and the films he’s been in. Casting a man to play opposite Cate Blanchett is not an obvious task because a lot of male actors today are kind of grown up boys. You need to have a real grown up, I think, opposite Cate.”

While Haynes was heaping beaucoup praises upon Chandler, Blanchette interjected, “He’s an animal! ‘[Laughng]” To which Haynes responded, “And we found an animal in Kyle. But, no, it’s true I think he enters that era with such a sense of believability. It’s like when I saw him in the clothes the first time, I was like ‘it suits him so well.’”

This, of course, further emphasizes the statement, “The heart wants what the heart wants,” because Chandler was no match for Therese.

Syndicated Entertainment journalist Marie Moore reports on film and TV from her New York City base. Contact her at [email protected]

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Marie Moorehttp://eurweb.com
Veteran syndicated journalist who covers film and television.



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