Initial reactions to Carol
Open thread

Topics for M 11/25

Here are topics for our discussion of Carol on Monday. Feel free to start the conversation here or to suggest additional topics.

  • Framing & decor: the use of windows and mirrors in framing shots.
  • Lighting.
  • How the filmmakers use mise-en-scène to create a film that not only looks and feels like the period, but also looks and feels like a film from the period.
  • Action and performance: how Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara use facial expression and body language to show emotion and change. We can also talk about how costume and make-up support these performances.



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Grant Fullerton

Watching this film I could not help but notice how it drew from a very Noire place. As before when films were previously in black and white, this contrast was all they had to work with. With Carol, they use this hard use of contrast. While i'd say most of the film takes place in the day, or in indoor areas with suitable lighting. This effect is still taken advantage of, we see it notable at 1:29 where dusk lighting shines light over a sleeping Therese, allowing the audience to really know that Carol cares and covets her enough to let her go. Essentially projecting Carol's motherly aura that reminds us of their age gap.

Taylor Seufferheld

I think the use of a common theme song was an interesting choice because I feel like this is not done as much in movies now. I think the music helps set the tone of the movie and makes it feel like it's older than it is, which as we talked about the director likes to make his movies feel like they were made fro the time they were set in.

Sadee McClendon

I think that costume was the biggest visual aid in making this film feel as if it takes place in the 50's because fashion and how one styles themselves is a lot different now than it was back then. In terms of making the film feels like it is from that time period, the lighting or lack of lighting was the biggest aid in giving the film an older feeling. I noticed that the film took advantage of natural lighting whenever it was possible so a lot of the film was on the darker side.

Austin W Woodall

One thing I was wondering was that the director did a great job of making the film truly look and feel old but at moments I was taken out of this because of actors i'm familiar with them.I wonder if in some cases directors would use lesser known actors to help keep a person immersed.

Tyler Durbin

The use of dark lighting in the film really brought it to life and brought the setting to life too. It gave it the dramatic look, fitting in with the theme of the film. Also, the use of props and costume assisted the lighting in really main it feel like the 1950’s.

Mariano Manzo

I feel as if the use of the costumes in this film was really good, it really did feel like it was filmed and took place in the 50's. I feel as if we could touch of the effective use of carefully framed shots and close ups.

Ray Barton

This film cleverly uses both mirrors and windows for reflection. Although windows are typically clear, this film obscures the windows with rain in order to make the window also a reflective surface, like the mirrors. I also find it incredibly interesting to note the use of costume and color change with both Teressa and Carol to indicate character development within the film. In the beginning of the film, Teressa can be seen with a Santa hat and a short, simplistic bob which makes her appear young and has an uncertain look in her eye like a deer in the headlights which directly contrasts her ending costume with properly done hair, more proper looking clothes, and an asserted look in her eyes. It’s almost as if Carol and Teressa switch places character in a character development aspect because at the beginning, Carol is seen as assertive with her red accessories and lipstick, but then when she is no longer assertive from the custody battle on she is in earth tones and is less bold.

Myah Christensen

I think it is important to note what type of set the characters are in that helps frame the time the most. The biggest thing that stood out to me that helps place the characters in the 50s is the costumes and their location. I thought what screamed out 50s the most was the doll store at the beginning of the movie due to these stores being so common back then. It is also important to note that the costumes are more modest, providing more of an understanding of the timeline.

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