In his Oscar-contending Carol score, Carter Burwell used a trio of poignant themes to convey the complexity of Todd Haynes’ lesbian love story between the eponymous socialite (Cate Blanchett) and aspiring photographer Therese (Rooney Mara), both Oscar-nominated.
“A lot of the dialogue is spare and the most important emotions are not openly discussed, so it was a great opportunity for the score to express them,” said Burwell, the director’s long-time collaborator. “The difference here is that I threw a lot more ideas at Todd, who didn’t mind because he’s so musically astute.”
The three themes focusing on the process of love, “The Opening,” “To Carol’s” and “The Letter,” contain their own emotional arcs. “The first one is almost through the physical excitement of seeing a person and infatuation and the beating of the heart,” Burwell explained. “And that happens with the first scene, the love scene that’s the center of the film, and the very last scene.
“The second theme is about the fascination, the feeling of an altered state, the way everything else just disappears and you focus on the little things like a person’s hand or clothing. An example of that is this scene where they take this drive through a tunnel. The way the film was shot, it’s very subjective and it allows the music to go into Therese’s head.
“The third theme is the sense of loss and emptiness when your love is not around. Or in the most extreme example in this film, when Carol writes Therese a letter and explains why they cannot be together.”
Read the rest at TOH/Indiewire.