Excited to have been present to see this film as the closing event of Leeds International Film Festival a week ahead of its official UK opening.
Less excited to walk out of the screening at the end, realising that I wasn’t as in love with this film as I had hoped or expected, given the almost universal swooning going on.
Two outstanding performances from Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara should have electrified this story. The exquisite costumes and perfect makeup should have transported me back in time. Instead, I found myself thinking “ooh, that’s a bit Brief Encounter“, ” I have a pair of gloves in that shade”, “Jane Wyman had boots like that in All That Heaven Allows“, “I like what he’s doing with the window frames in those shots” all the way through the film. I wasn’t drowning in the sumptuous beauty of the story, setting and characters.
It was only discussing it on the way home afterwards that I realised the real problem – I didn’t like Carol herself. The character (not the actress, not the performance) stopped me from feeling like I could just dive into the story as everyone around me had. She kept me at arm’s length so that I was full of admiration for everything, but lukewarm emotionally.
Of course, it will win everything come awards season. And I may lose some friends over my reaction. But there you have it.