Carol ★★★★½

Carol very poignantly illustrates that, despite legislative oppression, despite the patriarchy and the surveillance of a society capable of such things as the Red Scare and the Lavender Scare. Despite all that, gays find each other through the darkness and fall in love. It is a film that best combines the politics of being queer and the protest of falling in love with someone of the same gender in a gorgeous melodramatic visage (hello, Todd Haynes is the granddaughter of Douglas Sirk after all). And never fails to woo me and make me weep. But this time, I also felt incensed to take political action. The fight is not over yet. It is Pride Month after all. Why do I live in the middle of nowhere? Carol is multi-faceted and lovely.

That ending is one of my favorites of all time. Even though it takes forever to end!

And while there are some issues with the pacing, in particular, the scenes between Therese and her would be male suitors, the movie really immersed me into the love story once the two ladies took off on their road trip. It's a gorgeous movie that often situates the women among noise and very intrusive over-bearing men. Todd Haynes is not afraid to show that side of masculinity and men. The coddling, the controlling of women. Harge is very much the catalyst for the main conflict in Carol and the "morality clause" he throws at the titular character in order to gain temporary custody of their daughter is one of the best illustrations of how homophobia was ingrained into our laws on film. Carol's choice towards the end of the film illustrates a survivalist need to be true to herself.

I really appreciate that movies like Carol and Call Me By Your Name can delicately show age gaps in queer relationships. I think people are very afraid to talk about this aspect of the gay experience, but I want to go out on a limb and say a few things about it. Age gaps are very common in gay male and lesbian relationships (this is common knowledge). This is not usually problematic in my experiences. I think these types of relationships can be problematic when someone is too young or the other is abusive or in a position of power (a teacher, a boss, etc.) But that's not the case in either movie, since they are both queer coming of age/love stories. They have a lot of similarities. Therese, who is 19 in the book, but may be somewhat older in the film, is often referred to as a girl. Carol is probably 15 years older than her. Therese is called a "Shop girl" and is said to have a "School girl" crush. When Carol first meets her, she is asking Therese about toys, and about when she was young. Therese watches Sunset Boulevard with her friends (a movie about a lot of things, including a much older woman falling for a younger man). Carol is very thirsty for Therese in many of the early scenes. Some parts made me uncomfortable. But I know that this is a love story about two consenting individuals with the only 'power' being experience and influence. Just because something makes you uncomfortable doesn't make it abuse. We need to speak open and honestly about our experiences as LGBTQ people. Many of us have daddy/mommy issues and look for relationships (and find them) with accepting older gay men and women. A lot of gay men in particular like older guys. Stereotypes about abusing children is separate from that. That is abuse. But relationships where there is an age gap shouldn't be automatically condemned as abuse. That is not my experience/observations with them. I see gay relationships like this all the time. Lets call out actual abusive acts and not relationships defined by love and attention.

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