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In Response to Carol

The following is a short response to the film Carol.


  1. Compare and contrast the beginning of the film with the ending of the film. What has evolved and changed? What has caused the change? What is the lesson? Where is the joy?


Carol is much like Fear Eats the Soul and Mississippi Masala in that they deal with forbidden love that is taboo between “others”. Unlike those in the latter two films, Carol and Therese are capable of hiding what makes them different, but at a cost. Much of the film is spent illuminating the suppression of sexuality and identity. The subdued light-green, gold, soft pink, and grey color pallet is used to make all characters and objects in the scene to blend together; except when we are introduced to Carol, the scene bursts with bright reds. Even though the story primarily takes place during Christmas, Carol is always the brightest most distinguished splash of color. Later, after Therese and Carol have their affair, Therese is shown wearing the same red as Carol. This is perhaps a symbol for identifying her openly as “other”. Her sexuality is no longer hidden, so neither is she. The suppression of their sexuality (among other things) is also represented by the camera observing them from the other side of blurry, rain-studded windows. It is yet another barrier that blurs and hides their true identities. Not only is does the film focus on romantic longing but the longing of identity as well. For Therese, “the change” is understanding herself. As the film continues, she becomes a much stronger female character; this change was brought about by meeting Carol. For Carol, she is finally able to openly chase after what she wants. She is out of a bad marriage and still gets to see her daughter. This, interestingly enough, is brought about by Therese’ absence.

by Sky Katz

For more information about Carol

For more information about Mississippi Masala

For more information about Ali: Fear Eats the Soul

Movie poster from:

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