Saturday, 16 January 2016
A Christmas Carol.
118 Minutes. Starring: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson, Corey Michael-Smith & Kyle Chandlar. Director: Todd Haynes.
Christmas has come late in this case, but how can we not talk about this multi-Academy Award nominated picture? Especially when it shares the namesake with this writers dear mother. Based on legendary author Patricia Highsmith's semi-autobiographical novel 'The Price Of Salt' and peppered by the woman that supported the amazing adaptation of her 'Talented Mr. Ripley' classic, 'Far From Heaven' and Joaquin Phoenix semi-mocumentary 'I'm Not There' director Todd Haynes gives us his most wonderful work. An affair of a 50's love story set to the Christmas decorated backdrop of a Manhattan mall in the heart of New York Cities beautiful boutiques. Lavish looking in its seductive style, this cinematic classic is as magic as Christmas in New York as the toy trains running through the opening and the gleaming glass cabinet where are two Julliet star crossed lovers meet over the Bloomingdales 'Serendipity' chance luck of a lost pair of leather gloves. And it looks like this pair of leading ladies may as well be wearing white ones. Because Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara look like they are about to polish off a pair of Oscars. The hearts about to get what the heart wants.
Cate is 'Carol' a New Jersey housewife, a state in her Meadowlands Garden past the point of wilting desperation. Kissing wine won't nurse her loneliness and the broken down marriage that her and her husband (a wounded but wonderful Kyle Chandlar) cant provide for, but maybe someone who makes her feel love in her soul as well as her heart will like no one else...no matter who she is. The 'Blue Jasmine' of Blanchett bloomed into Oscar gold, but now going from Woody to 'Carol' she might just double up for her number one film in an 'ography' that is chasing Streep's streak of success that the legendary legacy likes of Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence could only (only right now anyway) dream of. Dressed in fox fur, French beret and a clinic of classic, Hollywoodland starlet foundation, Blanchett is made up in equal parts beauty and isolated loneliness, hidden behind elegant veneers as smooth as blue velvet. This pearl of a perfect performance is draped and fashioned in more than movie star looks however, the depth to this is much more than skin deep. Beneath this tender touch is a feeling of this womans work to find her worth. Her family may seem comfortable by a warm fireplace at night, yet the paint on the white picket fench is chipping come morning light. A house that is no home here may as well reside on 'Revolutionary Road' with the Academy of fellow nominees Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, because come the middle of February this funny valentine may join the cinematic couple of 'The Revenant' and the 'Steve Jobs' star in a stauette matrimony from the stars of the Hollywood Walk of Fame to the flashbulbs of the Kodak Theatre.
Snap for Cate's 'Carol' co-star, because Rooney Mara looks like the only one that could marr Golden Globe winner Winslet's own double award tour. 'The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo' star has inked herself quite the playing with fire reputation when it come to love stories that get to the heart of matters. There's the comatosed, medicine induced, psychological paranoia of 'Side Effects' and then the social media age application of the future of 'Her'. Whilst nobody should forget her underrated independent gem alongside Casey Affleck in the spirited 'Aint Them Bodies Saints'. Still in the red room here as an aspiring photographer Rooney captures the performance of her portfolio. Painfully shy, but healing in her meditatively soothing nature this young stars two eyes speak volumes of the hearts chambers that a million words could not express. This portrait may just be her lasting moment in the lens. As it is for the anything but negative reel on this film. There's the ever-great and underrated character actor with more leading qualities, Kyle Chandler. The ever-improving and inspired Sarah Paulson as an old flame with a doused spark. Even the riddles of 'Gotham' spotlight star Corey Michael-Smith question the tricks of this enigmatic star. All in all Haynes bears us with something to behold. The joy and tragedy of love in all is high fidelities and how when it comes to the matters of the heart there's more that beats between the romance of marriage and the lust of commitment. More than the nature of relationships, whether tied in a knot or unraveling this movie has something to say about same sex relations. Albeit softly and subtely so in a stereotypical time of ingrained ignorance. And that what's inspired here. No matter what, who, or why, true love is true love. Listen to your heart...not your eyes. Two woman, two men, two souls. Love is blind. TIM DAVID HARVEY.