There’s no denying that Carrie Brownstein is an artist. She writes, she acts, she sings, she plays, she fronts, and as the face of Sleater-Kinney – and to a certain degree, the riot grrl scene – has left her mark on the feminist movement. She is clearly someone with a vision, and while seeing it through is infuriatingly, effortlessly funny.
None of this shields her from the fact that her role in Carol had absolutely no business being there, and, in my opinion, came close to ruining the movie. You’ll remember (or will you?) Carrie Brownstein’s character as the potential suitor for Therese tucked into the tail end of the movie. Therese has just turned down Carol’s proposition that they move in together, and for a moment, if you hadn’t read the book, you might have worried Carrie’s character and sultry looks were on their way to steal your girl. The amount of time you worried, however, would have been for a full six seconds, as that was the amount of time this tension was allowed to linger. And so what was the point?
Imagine telling people you were going to be in this major Hollywood film that was the first mainstream-mainstream story about two gay women being in love and be playing Rooney Mara’s love interest, and after being on set for days on end having the final result be like, “Op, yeah, if you can see that speck of an outline of a human woman’s body from across the street, and then that set of eyes from across that crowded room – that’s me.” Fellow Carol stan and The L Word cosplayer Stephanie Ritter likes to remind me that SHE HAD A MORE SIGNIFICANT ROLE IN THE BOOK AND ALSO IN THE SCREENPLAY AND THEY FILMED MORE SCENES WITH HER BUT THEY WERE JUST SAVAGELY EDITED OUT. Okay? This is the final cut of the movie! Either give us a few fully-realized scenes or get out!
Carrie’s role is a concert performance where someone is just wailing on a jazz sax and the crowd is loving it and then – to, I don’t know, mix it up in case people wanted variety – a person playing the recorder appears front and center with their mic turned all the way up. Everyone’s like, “What?” but also still vibing because the overall feel of the song is still there with the jazz sax in the background, and then, as suddenly and mysteriously as they appeared, they dissolve into the shadows while the jazz sax takes us home.
Carrie’s role is when you’re first learning to write an essay and you’ve said all you need to say but you’re about 75 words short of the requirement and so you start in on what is essentially an entirely new thesis, maybe even one that contradicts your original one, and only give it three vaguely-supporting sentences before dropping it and moving on to your conclusion paragraph.
Carrie’s role is a second wind chime. The first one is doing its job, and then here comes the second one with a different swing slash chime rate throwing off the first one’s rhythm, and where before it was a pleasant experience, it is now a frantic one. Obviously, you’re in a position where your only concern is the amount of wind chimes sounding in your general area, so ultimately things are pretty great, but could it have been… better.
It’s an opinion, and it’s legal to have one. “Change my mind” in the comments.