Carol: First reviews

Yesterday, there was a screening in New York. I think the all film was shown but I’m not complitly sure about that.
There are a lot of great reviews (that include Cate of course). They are all seems to agree Cate had a great performance, though they don’t believe she will win the Oscar.
These are the reviews (thank you IMDB and Carol’s forum)

Movie’s a solid 8.5/10 for me. The book was like a 9.5/10 so a tad disappointing, but it’s still great. I think its most significant issue is that it feels a little rushed, and really glosses over the development of Carol and Therese’s relationship, especially in its early stages. But other than that, Haynes did a wonderful job (both as a director and writer) of bringing the world that Highsmith created to life. And aside from a misstep here or there, both ladies slay it. When I originally started sending people PMs, I thought I preferred Blanchett of the two, but now I’m not so sure. Cate is completely entrancing from the first moment she appears on screen and it’s almost impossible to take your eyes off of her, but Mara probably has the more subtly challenging role, since much of the time, she has to express her emotions without words. She also brings a vulnerability I’ve never really seen before from her (considering she was playing icy nut jobs in her other two meaty roles I’ve seen from her, Dragon Tattoo and Side Effects). That vulnerability and naiveté is just a TAD overplayed in one of her earlier scenes, but other than that it works beautifully. I’ll be very surprised if they’re not nominated (oh, and Mara in supporting would be an O’Neal-in-Paper-Moon level of a joke, but I guess I could see it happening). I could also see Paulson happening if the film is loved enough – she doesn’t have THAT much to do, but she’s great with what she does (which is significantly more than Weaver in SLP or Knightley in The Imitation Game IMO). Oh and Kyle Chandler is borderline awful, drags down my rating of the film a little bit. And overall, I think the Academy will really love the film in general. I see it getting 5+ nominations, for sure!

Blanchett and Mara were great, but the former outdoes the latter. Blanchett was at the top of her game. There were a few moments where she had the audience eating out of the palm of her hand, especially towards the end during a custody scene. Mara displayed some of her usual tendencies, but also broke out of her shell more with expressive moments. Yet, the two of them together had explosive chemistry. Chandler is also quite loud in his performance with a lot of yelling and complaining, often repetitive. He’s a very unlikable nemesis . Paulson is fine. However, Jake Lacy may be looking forward to having a career breakout, as he’s an absolute doll in his role.

Both lead actresses bat it out of the park, and the focus group agreed (though, they especially loved Blanchett). In comparison to Blue Jasmine—which, granted, was quite theatrical—this a quieter, more restrained performance from the two-time Oscar winner. As a woman with a husband and daughter, the stakes are higher for her, so she’s more dynamic and complex. There is simply more for the actress to work with and show off emotionally. Blanchett overshadows Rooney Mara as the dominant character who is a mentor of sorts, even though her co-lead has a little more screen-time (though not by that much). Mara is naturally a more passive, naive character. The few baity scenes Mara has where she cries and another where she falls ill, are dwarfed by her meek and monotone character/performance. The film largely hinges on the performances, chemistry, and relationship of the two leads, so I expect their reviews to be strong along with the film. Kyle Chandler doesn’t fare so well, unfortunately. I expect that his critical reception will not be kind for his 8.5 minutes of delivering one-dimensional ham on a platter. It’s like he drained Coach Taylor of all nuance, turned him into an asshole, and took a page out of the Meryl Streep Guide to Acting. All he does is scream and blather on. Someone needed to hand him a paper bag and some valium.

On the whole, my rundown of the film’s awards nomination prospects would be like so:

Very likely:
1. Actress (Blanchett)
2. Costumes

3. S. Actress (Mara)
4. Adapted Screenplay

Possible, But Depends on Competition:
5. Cinematography
6. Picture (in expanded field; would be lower w/ field of five)
7. Director
8. Production Design
9. Score
10. Editing
11. S. Actor (Chandler)


3 responses to “Carol: First reviews

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