seen @ Kew Gardens Cinemas, Kew Gardens, Queens
There's a scene in the movie Carol where Rooney Mara's character questions whether it's possible for her to love another woman despite not having any homosexual inclinations. She feels herself falling for Cate Blanchett's Carol, and though she doesn't completely understand it, she's willing to go along with the feeling. She leads a pretty normal life. There's a dude who's got the hots for her; even wants to marry her. So why can't she seal the deal with him? What makes Carol different?
Director Todd Haynes, to his credit, doesn't try to give a definitive answer other than this: sometimes you just can't help loving who you love. It could be a married person. It could be someone much older or younger. It could be someone of the same sex. Doesn't matter. Whether you can follow through on that feeling, well, that's something separate - and of course, it depends on whether the other person feels the same way about you.
I didn't expect to get as caught up emotionally by Carol as I was; I had thought this to be similar to Haynes' Far From Heaven, which was also set in the 50s, but the two are nothing alike. The latter is clearly meant to evoke a vintage filmmaking style, in both looks and in the storyline. Carol is much less melodramatic. I don't think it's a spoiler to reveal that Blanchett and Mara's relationship is consummated eventually - and boy, is it ever! - but it comes at a point where you know it has to happen, where it would be wrong if it never happened. That's powerful stuff.
Could I fall for a dude - out of the blue, with no warning? I've thought about what it would be like to be gay. I've even joked about it. The truth is, though, for that to have any chance of happening, the dude would have to be one in a million at the very least. Even then, would I have the courage of acting on those feelings? I strongly suspect not - and maybe that's a failing of mine. I dunno.
Human sexuality has been redefined and redefined again so much within my lifetime - and yes, there are those who would say that none of what we're seeing now is anything new - and I have to admit, to someone like me, it's a little scary. I don't entirely understand why certain people have certain tendencies. I try to keep an open mind about it all, I really do, but it's not easy. The notion of sexuality being fluid goes against many of the things I had grown up believing.
And yet you do kinda buy it after seeing the characters in Carol. Mara falling for Blanchett makes sense and it doesn't at the same time, but you wanna believe in it, you wanna believe that one could be capable of pursuing feelings that go against what one considers the norm. Maybe it is... and maybe some of us will get to experience that once in our lives before we die. But I suspect most of us won't.