Venus, the archetype signifying love and pleasure, is at the heart of most enduring relationships. Although same-sex unions are now increasingly embraced by the general population, they were at one time more than Venusian. They were non-mainstream-Venusian, and aligned with the Uranian archetype of uniqueness, rebellion and, for some, subversiveness. However, this notion of anarchy-in-love – the typically raucous hallmark of the Venus-Uranus combo, where one steps to the beat of one’s own drum – becomes a most comely and demure thing of beauty in Carol.
Directed by Todd Haynes, and adapted from Patricia Highsmith’s book The Price of Salt, the movie is the story of two women who fall for each other in the 1950s, long ago enough to warrant utter discretion between both parties. One player is Carol Aird (Cate Blanchett), a well-to-do, middle-aged, soon-to-be-divorced housewife and mother. The other is Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara), a budding photographer not yet 20, with her future, although undecided, ahead of her.
The hushed quietude of their connection parallels the Plutonic secrecy required of such relationships. However, all promising connections, no matter how perilous, need to move forward. It’s no accident that Therese, who has taken a sales job in the toy department of a department store, sells Carol a train set – it foreshadows their imminent road trip – as a Christmas gift for her daughter.
Carol has the most to lose here. Several years earlier, she had an affair with Abby (Sarah Paulson), who is now her best friend. Carol’s husband, Harge (Kyle Chandler) has been wary of his wife’s taste for women ever since. Once he realizes Carol’s ties with Therese, he threatens legally depriving his wife from seeing their child after the divorce.
Much of what these two women see are through glass – car and building windows – which are often smeared with rain, clouding total visibility. No matter the depth of scrutiny, relationships not sanctioned by society seem to encourage blurry thinking. One can, however, rise to the occasion, as does Carol. To preserve her relationship with her daughter, she embraces a higher Venus that suggests a more noble agape. The psychological maturation of one partner can be only good news for the other.
Archetype: Lover. Friend. Liberator.
Astrology Archetype: ♀ ♅ ♇ (Venus, Uranus, Pluto)