It’s April 17th. The unofficial Carol Day. In the film, that is the day Carol (Cate Blanchett) and Therese (Rooney Mara) reunite. It also happens to be Mara’s birthday—and the date on which the movie’s love scene was filmed.
Why don’t celebrate by listening to our four part miniseries about Cate Balnchett’s most loved performance in Carol? You can listen right here!
#1 The Love Story with Luke Willis
In the first of multiple episodes about Carol (2015), the topic is the love story. How Therese and Carol fell in love, how Todd Haynes visualizes falling in love and the scorching chemistry between Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara.
#2 The Queer Cutural Impact with Shayna Maci Warner
In part two, the topic is the cultural impact the film had on queer people. From memes to comedy routines, Carol was adored.
# 3 Cate is the Top with Maggie Larkin
Cate Blanchett’s the top is so many ways. The top star, the top actress. And in Carol she plays the top. In the third of our multiple episodes about Carol (2015), the topic is the perfect merge of actor and role with Blanchett as Carol Aird.
#4 The Influences and Inspirations with Izzy from Be Kind Rewind
And in the concluding part we discuss the influences and inspirations behind this masterpiece. From those acknowledged by the director Todd Haynes – David Lean’s Brief Encounter – to others we gleaned from watching the film many times – the films of George Cukor, Deborah Kerr in The End of the Affair and Haynes’ own Far From Heaven.
We have come to the end of this podcast project. In this episode Murtada puts a bow on the podcast and briefly talks about how and why it started, what was learned and recommends a few episodes as an entry to the project.
We conclude our Carol miniseries with a discussion about the influences and inspirations behind the 2015 film masterpiece. From those acknowledged by the director Todd Haynes – David Lean’s Brief Encounter – to others we gleaned from watching the film many times – the films of George Cukor, Deborah Kerr in The End of the Affair and Haynes’ own Far From Heaven. For this conversation Murtada welcomes back Izzy from Be Kind Rewind to discuss these topics and how forming a relationship with a film changes the way you view over time.
Why does Carol resonate and has such cultural capital six years into its life. True or are we just living in a Carol bubble?
Todd Haynes’ women; their internal lives brought to splendid vivid life. This time we get two. Compare Carol and Therese to Cathy Whitaker in Far From Heaven and the other Carol in Safe.
Haynes insists that Carol and Far From Heaven are not similar despite taking place in the same time period. He maintains Carol is more realistic, a love story and not a melodrama though he also says “naturalism is artificial. It’s all artificial.”
Haynes mentions David Lean and Brief Encounter as a direct inspiration for the epilogue and coda of Carol. Other Lean romances include Summertime and Doctor Zhivago.
Because of the period setting this performance was compared to those from the golden age of hollywood. We talk about Deborah Kerr in The End of the Affair and Greta Garbo’s Romance.
Cate’s look, blond hair, red lipstick against the period exquisite cinematography. She has a similar look in Nightmare Alley currently on release.
How with repeated viewing the film becomes funny without losing its emotional impact.
Cate Blanchett’s the top is so many ways. The top star, the top actress. And in Carol she plays the top. In the third of our multiple episodes about Carol (2015), the topic is the perfect merge of actor and role with Blanchett as Carol Aird. For this conversation, Murtada welcomes Maggie Larkin to discuss how Blanchett’s screen persona makes her the ideal actor to play this role.
How many times have we seen Carol – why does it resonate?
Why is Cate Blanchett so well suited to play Carol? What makes her such a compelling screen presence is what makes her perfect for Carol. The confidence, the glamour, being a consummate actor playing someone who’s always putting on a facade, forced to hide themselves from the world. She plays the text and the subtext, yet never shows all her cards.
Cate always fares better when she shares the screen with other women – think Judi Dench, Sandra Bullock etc.- She is far too intelligent and dominant when paired with men.
Deep dive into a few particular scenes that prove Blanchett is the perfect Carol.
The chemistry between Cate and Rooney Mara.
Favorite press tour moments 1) Santa barbara Award presentation 2) At Cannes.
Blanchett recieved a SAG nomination for Nightmare Alley. Will she be Oscar nominated?
In the second of multiple episodes about Carol (2015), the topic is the cultural impact the film had on queer people. From memes to comedy routines, Carol was adored. For this conversation, Murtada welcomes writer and film programmer Shayna Maci Warner of Critically Queer, to review the film and talk about its queer legacy.
In the first of multiple episodes about Carol (2015), the topic is the love story. How Therese and Carol fell in love, how Todd Haynes visualizes falling in love and the scorching chemistry between Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. For this conversation, Murtada welcomes filmmaker Luke Willis, to discuss all the above as well as rank the best line reading uttered by Blanchett.
The second season of the podcast has wrapped. My thanks to all my guests on this 2nd season of Sundays with Cate. Hope you enjoy all 14 episodes that we recorded. I will taking a short break and will return later in the summer. Notes on a Scandal, Carol we have a few movies we havent discussed as well as other surprises in store for Season 3 of the show.
In the meantime all episodes and show notes are available here – just scroll down or click on the right side bar for you favorite podcast app.
If you are enjoying the podcast, please consider a small donation to help us with maintenance costs. The cost of a cup of coffee, $3.00.
In part one we discuss Cate Blanchett as the real auteur of Blue Jasmine, and the many ways her performance makes her the author of the film.
#2 The “Streetcar” Allusions with Candice Fredrick
In part two, we talk about the similarities to Tenesse Williams’ A Streetcar named Desire, the character of Blanche Dubois clearly is the blueprint for Jasmine… the many actresses who played Blanche or were inspired by her from the women in Pedro Almodovar’s movies to Gena Rowlands in Woman under the influence to most recently Carey Mulligan in Wildlife.
# 3 Jasmine and Her Sisters with Jose Solis
And in the final part we discuss Jasmine and her sisters within the Woody Allen Oeuvre. Annie Hall, Helen St Clair in Bullets Over Broadway, Maria Elena in Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Cecilia in The Purple Rose of Cairo, among others.
In Truth, Cate Blanchett plays journalist and TV news producer Mary Mapes in the story of the fallout from the CBS investigation into George Bush’s military service, that led to the resignation of Dan Rather. The performance was warmly recieved even if the film wasn’t widely seen, we examine why in the latest episode. Hosted by Murtada Elfadl with guest Kevin Jacobsen host of And The Runner-Up Is podcast.
From IMDB: Newsroom drama detailing the 2004 CBS 60 Minutes report investigating then-President George W. Bush’s military service, and the subsequent firestorm of criticism that cost anchor Dan Rather and producer Mary Mapes their careers.
What year did it come out?
Who does Cate play?
Mary Mapes; TV news producer, and author. She is known for the story of the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse scandal, which won a Peabody Award.
How is Cate introduced?
Immediately as Mapes is hiring a lawyer who will represent her during an internal investigation that CBS is conducting, the set up for the flashback to the main story.
Blanchett’s performance as the center holding the film.
The movie is based on Mapes’ book Truth and Duty: The Press, the President, and the Privilege of Power – does that make it inherently one-sided? Did we need to hear “the other side?”
Awards wise – if this wasn’t the year of Carol could she have contended? Media seemed to think so in early fall post TIFF but the movie actually made no business. Is the performance worthy of awards?
The filmmaking- James Vanderbilt has an interesting career. Wrote David Fincher’s Zodiac (2003), The Amazing Spiderman movies (2012-14) and Adam Sandler’s Murder Mystery (2019). Also produced many movies including another collaboration with Cate; The House with a Clock in Its Walls (2018).
Robert Redford as Dan Rather and the other actors – Elisabeth Moss, Dennis Quaid and Topher Grace.
The movie was filmed in Australia to accommodate Cate, giving the opportunity to many Australian actors and crew, including a dynamite Noni Hazlehurst as Nicki Burkett. Hazelhurst previously played Blanchett’s mother in Little Fish (2005).
Journalistic procedural similar to Zodiac and other classics of the genre like All the President’s Men and Spotlight – that was the ambition. How was the reality?
“Our story was about whether Bush fulfilled his service. Nobody wants to talk about that. They wanna talk about fonts and forgeries and conspiracy theories, because that’s what people do these days if they don’t like a story. They point and scream. They question your politics, your objectivity, hell, your basic humanity. And they hope to God the truth gets lost in the scrum. And when it is finally over and they have kicked and shouted so loud, we can’t even remember what the point was.”
Scenes we liked:
Above monologue – shows Cate at her best.
The tense tv interview with Col. Bill Burkett (Stacy Keach) – shows the different allegiances, priorities and the corporate machinations.
What seemed off:
The morality tale is intriguing but perhaps the story itself is minor and does not warrant a film treatment?
The exposition between Quaid and Moss where they explain Rather is Mapes’ “father figure.” The film hammers that connection, does it feel real? Much better is the scene in the hotel when they share a drink and he tells her he’ll apologize on camera.
What reviews said of film / Cate:
“Suffering only from a measure of familiarity when set beside the actress’s other work, Blanchett’s performance is forceful yet delicately shaded, and she renders Mapes with admirable complexity: We see a hard-working wife and mother who struggles to find time with [family], but also a tough-as-nails producer whose excitement outstripped her attention to detail at one crucial moment.” – Justin Chang, Variety.
“Blanchett makes us feel the creeping horror of professional disgrace, the fear and stigma, however unfair Mapes argues her treatment may have been. We watch a polished professional come apart at the seams, caught up in self-incrimination and spiralling neurosis. She’s in the form of her life at the moment.” – Tim Robey, The Telegraph.
“The weirdness of “Truth”—and, I fear, its involuntary comic value—arises from a disparity between the sparse and finicky minutiae of the narrative and the somewhat bouffant style of the presentation. As the program airs, those who have toiled on it are seen smiling in proud slow motion, while ordinary folk, all across the nation, in bars and in living rooms, stare up at their TV screens as if witnessing the descent of the Messiah. Later, when the report unravels, along with Mapes’s sang-froid, the film offers up as tear-streaked tragedy which is, in fact, a cautionary tale about photocopying, the moral being that you should check your information at the source. Vanderbilt has marshalled his material with scrupulous care, as he did when he wrote the script for David Fincher’s “Zodiac,” so how come that movie was twenty times more riveting? Partly because of Fincher’s scary visual command, and because deaths rather than deadlines were at stake, but also, I suspect, because the new film clings to the nagging thought that if the National Guard story had held firm the Presidential election—and thus recent history—might have followed a different path.” – Anthony Lane, The New Yorker.
“I went online, as one does, and I saw this series of interviews Mary gave after the story had come out. I saw this quiet, defensive lockdown in her, and when I met Mary, I found it very difficult to reconcile this vivacious, hilarious, searingly intelligent and instinctual human being with that. I thought, somewhere between those two things, those two energies, lies the performance.”