Little, subtle details make this such a powerful film
I loved this movie. Awesome job. Frankly, this was one of the finest pieces of movie making I've seen in a long time. I subsequently read the book, and while I enjoyed the book, the movie is much better.
All the big things make this a great moving -- the acting, the script, the clothing and hair and makeup, the decor and furniture, the cars, the subdued color scheme, the music (both the popular tunes of the day and the original score, appropriately in a minor key), just awesome. Really well done. But it's the little things, the attention to detail that really make this a small masterpiece. Here are a few of the things I picked up...
At the start of the film, Carol is looking at a train set. She's pondering the fruitlessness of the little train frantically making endless loops but going nowhere. She glances down at the power switch and wonders if the train hates the switch. After all, that power switch is the cause of its endless looping, the cause of unending activity but no result. OK, I picked that up from the book, but when I saw the movie I figured the director had to have a reason for showing the power switch. What a great metaphor for her life (and Therese's life).
In the opening scene, when Carol and Therese are having a drink and Jack suddenly shows up, Therese turns to her left to speak to Jack while Carol, facing Therese, turns to her left to gather her things. She leans forward just a bit, and for a split second, they look as if they are about to kiss. Such a subtle little detail that I didn't pick up at first.
Later, when they are at Carol's house and Therese is playing the piano, Carol suddenly stands, looks at Therese, and moves toward her. I think this is the first time Carol seriously thought about kissing Therese, but instead, she balks and merely places her hands on Therese's shoulders. And that surprise causes Therese to stop playing. Clearly, they had feelings for each other.
Still later, when Carol asks Therese to smell her perfume, they both lean forward towards each other. A second later, as they are pulling away, Carol moves, almost imperceptibly, towards Therese and for a split second she looks like she's about to kiss Therese. Therese simply looks down, probably thinking the same thing.
And that the ending. Brilliant. The simple, but swirling music, the tiny, little beginning of a smile on Carol. Then fade to black and total silence.
I think the movie is full of little, subtle details like that. I'm curious as to what other little details others have noticed.