here, but she's right!). Haynes is much more interested in Carol, the Cate Blanchett character, and what she represents to Therese. But Carol, too, is also somewhat of a surface creature; other than providing the camera, Therese, and the audience something to gaze at, and serving as a vehicle for the film's politics ("how hard it was to be a lesbian in the 1950's"), she never really comes to life as a human being, never really is interesting save as an object of desire. Maybe it's just that I have a hard time imagining Patricia Highsmith - a bold, outspoken, cantankerous, difficult, and rather irrepressible woman, by most accounts - being as restrained and inhibited as these women end up being; I imagine her as larger than life and fearless, spilling a messy humanity out wherever she went, ranting about Jews, smuggling her pet snails around in her bra, what-have-you. Therese, by contrast, is boring, and Carol, while gorgeous, is hollow, a symbol of something-or-other whose inner life never really shines on the screen and whose reality outside what she represents to Therese seems pretty limited. In the end, the film Carol reminded me the most of of queer-themed cinema I've seen was, god help me, Brokeback Mountain - it has a similar sort of self-pitying, woe-is-me, being-queer-is-so-hard subtext that rewards its audience for being evolved enough to feel sorry for its characters, but doesn't really take them anywhere daring or provocative. It kind of feels like a pretext for audience self-congratulation, mostly. I'd hoped for so much more!
But maybe the problem is precisely my own hopes? I had, for one, hoped that Todd Haynes would make the film a sort of a homage to Patricia Highsmith - a remarkable, unique weirdo and a fascinating writer. I'd dared to hope even that he might include a couple of snails in the film, say, since she loved her snails so (story goes that Highsmith once brought a handbag full of them to a party so she would have someone to talk to; how can you not love someone who does such things). Anyhow, fat chance, if what I was looking for was something of an homage to one of my favourite writers. Rooney Mara looks a bit like young Pat, below, but that's about as far as the film goes, that I could see, in trying to mine parallels between Therese and Highsmith - neverminding, of course, that the novel contains autobiographical elements.
And that would appear to be that. I'd wanted to interview Haynes, before the film came out, but my attempts led nowhere; now that I've actually seen it, I'm kind of relieved.