|Creator:||Directed by Todd Haynes, |
Screenplays by Phyllis Nagy
Based on The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith
|Country of Origin:||British-American|
|External Links:||official website|
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Carol is a film based on the 1952 romance novel "The Price of Salt" by Patricia Highsmith. Set in New York City during the early 1950s, Carol tells the story of an affair between an aspiring female photographer, Therese Belive, and an older woman, Carol Aird, going through a difficult divorce.
- When Carol walks into a New York City department store and meets Therese an unlikely friendship sparks. Carol is an elegant socialite going through a bitter divorce while Therese is just starting out in life; unsure of who she wants to be. Mesmerized by each other, they face a choice: deny their hearts desires or defy society’s conventions but in doing so, risk life as they know it.
In 2017, Angela Watercutter wrote an article  for Wired, giving her perspective on the fandom.
I found a fandom I never would have imagined. Not because it is particularly insular or difficult to find, but because of its character: Like the film it adores, the Carol community is open and painfully earnest. You might even say it feels flung out of space. And by coalescing around Todd Haynes’ critically acclaimed film about two women and their secret affair in the 1950s, it rebuts many of the expectations people hold about the nature of fandom itself.
My pilgrimage started in mid-April, when a colleague mentioned that Carol enjoys an online profile far larger than other films of similar size (Carol, released in 2015, grossed less than $50 million). Yes, Carol inspires the same sorts of fan art Tumblrs, GIFs, Twitter accounts, Facebook groups common throughout fandom. And it generates random news-reaction posts from folks who may or may not be fans of the the film, but still have references at the ready—like this reaction to the Fyre Festival debacle.
But I saw something else at play: Carol boosters (Carolinians? #catepeople?) exhibit the kind of devotion typically reserved for subreddits devoted to Dredd. These are the kinds of fans who start an in-joke about something a fan overheard an older woman telling her male companion during a screening (“Harold, they’re lesbians”). This is fandom of the sort you see with any under-appreciated futuristic sci-fi movie, but with a meditative queer drama set in the 1950s. It is, essentially, internet obsession for grownups.
"Harold, they’re lesbians"
In December 2015, tumblr user thcully posted about their experience seeing the film:
"Harold, they’re lesbians," became a meme. The line is used anytime one wants to point out how obviously femslashy a pair or situation is. Even simply the name "Harold" connotes the full meaning of the meme.
April 17 is known as Carol Day within the fandom. 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 Haynes’ filmed the movie’s love scene. Carol Day tends to have many fans re-watching the film and posting fanworks relating to it.
Shipping in this fandom is almost exclusively femslash, with Carol Aird/Therese Belivet being the most popular pairing. There are also some gen works and a small amount of Carol Aird/Abby Gerhard. As of June 9, 2020, the same actor pairing of Carol Aird/ Florence Zimmerman, who were both portrayed by Cate Blanchett, was the most popular ship in the The House with a Clock in Its Walls (film) fandom.
Archives & Fannish Links
- Inside the Cult of Carol, the Internet’s Most Unlikely Fandom, Archived version
- Tumblr, Archived version posted December 12, 2015 by thcully, as of May 24, 2019, 116,815 notes