7:30 PM, 18th March, 2016
CATE BLANCHETT NIGHT: One of Australia’s most acclaimed actresses, two-time Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett began her career on stage in the early ‘90s and is best known for her roles in Elizabeth, Blue Jasmine, The Aviator and The Lord of the Rings.
Carol is beautiful. Carol is captivating. Carol is heartbreaking. There are a million adjectives to describe the experience of watching this film. Not only is the cinematography masterful and alluring, but the actresses’ performances, score and story are all flawless, blending together to produce one of the greatest and most enchanting dramas ever made.
Cate Blanchett stars as the eponymous Carol Aird, alongside Rooney Mara, as Therese Belivet, the younger woman with whom she falls in love. Both actresses convey a subtle beauty to each of their characters that instantly enamours the audience, and fabricates an almost ethereal glamour in the way they interact with each other.
The film, based on Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novel “The Price of Salt”, eloquently delves into the story of their forbidden romance, and how it affects Carol’s divorce and legal plight for custody of her daughter. The enthralling and perhaps melodramatic tale of their relationship is backdropped by a 1950s Manhattan Christmas, lending to the film a sense of wistfulness and aged beauty.
Nominated for six Academy Awards, Carol has been heralded by critics globally as one of the best films of 2015, with both Mara’s and Blanchett’s performances – both Oscar nominated – garnering particular praise. Even the translation from book to film, often a point of contention in such adaptations, is here regarded as near perfect. Whilst the subject matter behind Carol may not invite a popular audience, its artful mastery will leave a lasting impression on the audience it is lucky enough to attract.
9:38 PM, 18th March, 2016
We are back in 2004, in the thick of George W. Bush Jr’s re-election campaign, where we meet Mary Mapes (Blanchett), producer of “60 Minutes Wednesday”, as she approaches her supervisor with a new story. And it’s a bombshell: an apparently legitimate report that Bush received preferential treatment from officials of the Texas Air National Guard during Vietnam and that he in fact then went AWOL… at which point wackiness ensues!
Truth was shot in Sydney at Cate’s request to be closer to her family but, apart from a slew of familiar Aussie faces in most of the roles, the movie definitely feels like it is set in ultra-America: surrounded by the pomp of the Presidential campaign and the upper-workings of network television. The movie premiered at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival but went on to become a bit of a box office dud: making a worldwide box office total of $2.47 million off of a budget of $9.6 million. Why was that so? Perhaps because this issue is still very sore for American audiences, who are also split (at best) on the veracity of Mary’s report about the then President.
The movie as it stands poses questions of truth: what it is, how it should be used, and whether one should be punished in the search for it. Cate is brilliant as usual, as is the great ensemble cast, which includes Dennis Quaid, Topher Grace, Elizabeth Moss and Robert Redford as veteran news anchor Dan Rather.
Politics aside, the movie is solid filmmaking and a great invitation to start asking questions. 3.5 question marks out of 5!