The film Carol, directed by Todd Haynes,was opened in limited released last November and received some of the best reviews in 2015. Carol received ratings ranging from 8.5 out of 10 to an impressive 95% from various sources such as Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, grossing an international total $35.4 million dollars and received a ten-minute standing ovation after its press screening and premiere at the Cannes Film Festival.
The British-American romantic drama film set in 1952 is based on the romance novel The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith. Therese Belivet, played by Rooney Mara, works at a department store in Manhattan and meets Carol Aird, played by Cate Blanchett, who is looking for a Christmas gift for her daughter. In discussing train sets, Carol purchases the set, yet leaves her gloves on the counter. Therese later calls Carol to return her gloves, which leads to a string of lunch meetings and get-aways between the two. While wrangling with ending male relationships between the two of them, they find consilience in each other and fall in love slowly over the course of the film. Other stars in the film include Sarah Paulson, Kyle Chandler and Carrie Brownstein.
Films starring queer characters and relationships are not foreign to the movie industry. With some movies like Cabaret and The Boys in the Band released as early as the 1970’s, the queer film genre started to find success in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Films such as But I’m a Cheerleader, My Own Private Idaho, Paris is Burning, Brokeback Mountain, and the recent Blue is the Warmest Color, have allowed the genre to become accustomed to the spotlight of both cult and Hollywood stages.
Much of Carol’s success was awarded due to the interaction between emotional development and cinematography, the Camerimage International Film Festival said. “It also creates its own unique cinematic language and pulls the viewer deeper and deeper into a world where something as simple as love comes at a staggering cost,” their statement said.
Carol also received over 180 industry and critics nominations and received over 50 awards. Although the film was nominated for Best Picture, Carol endured a controversial loss. “To date, a queer-themed movie has still never won Best Picture, and those that do receive any kind of recognition prominently feature queer suffering… The reason that Carol is unique and extraordinary is likewise the exact reason that the Academy didn’t deem it Best Picture,” said Matthew Jacobs of The Huffington Post.
Carol’s loss has stirred up ravage comments about the Academy by film experts and critics. Although its stellar reviews may say enough by themselves, the tradition of institution has created “this year’s most egregious snub,” said David Ehrlich of Rolling Stone.