Carol is a love story between a woman named Thèrese (Rooney Mara) and a woman named Carol (Cate Blanchett), at a time when homosexual desire was kept buried or only privately revealed. To some people on some airplanes, however, it must read as a story between two very special, platonic friends during a time when… there was no reason to keep very special, platonic friendships buried. Yes, there’s a version of Carol that now somewhat curtails a fundamental part of a beautifully straightforward film — that it is a love story, about people who want to, you know, physically kiss each other, and ultimately do physically kiss each other, and dare I also mention, have physical sex with each other.
This version of the film has been playing on Delta Airlines, who’ve now made it clear — in a letter to After Ellen, who first reported on the edited version following tweets by comedian Cameron Esposito — that they played no part in the editing itself, and that they were merely given a choice by the studio between the censored and uncensored versions. (Presumably the studio in question is the Weinstein Company, though they haven’t issued a response.)
Of course, it’d be less egregious if — as is often the case with heterosexual romances — they were just eradicating any explicit sex scenes. (Though it must also be said: Carol’s sex scenes, while tenderly filmed, are quite mild.) And they’ve done that; but they’ve also removed all instances of kissing — among the women, at least. Instances of heterosexual intimacy, After Ellen reports, have been left in the film.
Esposito — whose new comedy premieres on Seeso on August 11 — originally called attention to the edits in these Tweets:
Mary Lambert responded that she’d, indeed, seen that same version, and had initially thought that the director (Todd Haynes) had deliberately chosen to make it a story where the longing goes completely unfulfilled.
Delta allegedly sent a statement to an anonymous AfterEllen reader who’d written the airline a complaint a while back. They’d saying that “it is never [their] policy to discriminate on the basis of race, gender, age, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation or similar classification,” and Delta’s Airlines’ Corporate Communications representative Liz Savadelis stressed that “unfortunately, Delta doesn’t have the rights to edit the movie, or to make the decision to keep some of that content (e.g. kissing).” Carol screenwriter Phyllis Nagy, however, had a good rebuttal: