Film review: Carol (2015)

I saw many good films that were released towards the end of 2015 and have reviewed them, such as The Big Short, Trumbo, Where to Invade Next, Spotlight, The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, and The Martian. However Macbeth was an exception to that string of films worth seeing and unfortunately Carol too belongs in the category of inferior films.

I say unfortunately because I had been expecting a lot from it. I had been looking forward to seeing this film because it got good reviews and stars Cate Blanchett, who is always worth watching. It is set in the 1950s and tells the story of a wealthy woman (Blanchett) who is going through a difficult divorce from her controlling husband and late in life has realized she is a lesbian.

While shopping at a large department store for a Christmas gift for her daughter, she meets a young shop assistant (Rooney Mara, who looks remarkably like Audrey Hepburn) and is attracted to her and they start up a friendship that blossoms into romance and a deeper sexual relationship. Her husband uses this as a weapon to try and force her to come back to him by threatening to deny her joint custody of their daughter if she goes through with the divorce.

The film is a period mood piece, full of poignant silences and meaningful looks. While it sheds light on the attitudes of that time and is interesting for that reason, frankly it did not do much more for me. I never felt a sense of connection with the characters or a deep sense of caring about what happens to them, always a bad sign. At the end of the film, I had the “So, what’s the point?” feeling.

In fact, I lost interest in the story to such an extent that I became idly curious as to where they got so many 1950s-era cars for their street scenes. It turns out that there are companies that supply such cars to film companies. These companies often work in conjunction with classic car clubs. If you have a classic car, you may be able to register it with one of these companies and rent it out for a film.

Here’s how it works. You list your car with one or more of the companies that provide classic cars to the industry. They call you when a need for your car arises. You agree to provide the car at a specific time and day, they cancel on you, and you start all over again. In most cases this will be repeated several times before your car actually “gets a job.” The reason for this is because they are calling you to find out if your car is available, and if so, can you provide it when they need it? They will do this with several car owners, and then they provide photos and descriptions to their client to make the final choice. Eventually you’ll make the cut. When you do, you’ll sign a contract outlining the particulars such as the fee you’ll get paid, the period of time they’ll need the car, who will transport the car (you or them), the use for the car (indoors or outdoors, moving or static, etc.), and liabilities.

You won’t get rich doing this. The typical fee is anywhere from about $300 – $800 per day unless you have a rare or special car in which case fees can rise dramatically. Because of these rather modest fees it’s important to make sure that the rental company has appropriate insurance, and to be clear what they will be responsible for. Remember, the rental company is just a middle-man. The production company will actually be using your car.

While surfing around, I read comments on sites by people who had rented out their cars and they said that if you really care about your car, don’t do it, because you don’t know what the film companies will do to it, unless you have a watertight contract spelling out exactly what will happen. Ideally, the contract will state that the car will be part of a static background and will not be driven by anyone other than yourself because you cannot be sure, for example, that another driver will avoid dinging it or even knows how to operate a stick shift.

But I digress. Here’s the trailer.


  1. moarscienceplz says

    There is a TV series produced in Melbourne, Australia called Miss Fisher’s Murder mysteries. It is set in 1928, and Miss Fisher drives a Hispano Suiza car. If I remember correctly from the behind-the-scenes feature, the car doesn’t have a clutch -- you have to force it into the gear you want. In spite of that, the owner of the car is happy to let the actress who plays Miss Fisher drive it. I suppose the bragging rights down at the local pub are worth more than the transmission is.

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