Spoiler warning for those who, unlike me, aren’t deeply entrenched in Cate Blanchett’s filmography.
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. For some, it’s a commercially well-defined opportunity to express their feelings to their loved ones; for others, it’s a bleak reminder of what could have been. Regardless of where you fall on the scale of romantic relationships, you can rest assured in the fact that beloved and award-winning actress Cate Blanchett has a role to match.
For when your relationship is internally conflicting: Carol Aird in Carol (2015)
In Carol, Cate Blanchett’s titular character shows that love is not a linear path. While going through a divorce from her husband, Carol’s heart regains its beat for Therese (Rooney Mara), a department store clerk whose gaze she catches from across the room. But the pain of social persecution leaves Carol conflicted, blurring the channel of emotional communication. It seems that neither the viewer nor Carol herself know what’s going on in her head. Ultimately, she admits her feelings in what can only be an accumulation of unspoken passion. In Carol, love is intense and distressing, but it’s meant to be.
For when you can’t get over it: Jasmine French in Blue Jasmine (2013)
If you’re struggling to get over a past relationship, Jasmine French gets it. In Blue Jasmine, Cate Blanchett’s character is left bewildered by the traumatic arrest and subsequent death of her husband, followed closely by the loss of her excessively pretentious life of wealth. Forced to move across the country to live with her sister and her disapproving boyfriend, Jasmine slowly spirals into obsession—she is unable to accept that she has lost everything. Cate Blanchett’s role in Blue Jasmine shows us that it’s neither okay nor healthy to grip onto the past.
For when your love life keeps throwing things at you: Jane Winslett-Richardson in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)
While slightly more niche, you might relate to the predicament in which Cate Blanchett’s character finds herself in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Pregnant with a married man’s child, reporter Jane Winslett-Richardson distracts herself by documenting marine cinematographer Steve Zissou’s (Bill Murray) aquatic expedition. While Zissou and his son, Ned (Owen Wilson), both develop feelings for Jane, neither relationship works out, thankfully and tragically. This causes additional problems for Jane, whose love life prior to the trip was complicated enough. Here, Cate Blanchett’s character offers a perspective on the painful complexity of relationships, perhaps helping you guide yourself through your own.
For when you feel like they’re being toxic: Lydia Tár in Tár (2022)
Lydia Tár is not a good person. Pretentious and egotistical, she cannot comprehend that the people around her exist as their own individuals. In Tár, Cate Blanchett exemplifies what a relationship should not be through the eyes of a misogynistic maestro. The film revolves around her relationship to the women who surround her, from her manipulation of and infidelity towards her wife, Sharon (Nina Hoss), to the way she physically appraises the women in her professional life to determine their value. Cate Blanchett’s role in Tár should not act as a model, unless you’re looking for a model of people to avoid.
For when you just want to be your own date: Lou Miller in Ocean’s 8 (2018)
Valentine’s Day can feel aggravating if you’re not a relationship kind of person. Cate Blanchett is here to show you that that’s okay. In Ocean’s 8, criminal mastermind Lou Miller is somewhat solitary, save for the company of Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) and five other crime-oriented women. Lou has no love interest nor ambiguous relationship, while still being a complex and multifaceted character. If you find yourself single this Valentine’s Day, Cate Blanchett’s character in Ocean’s 8 proves that a relationship with yourself is as good as any other. But if you take inspiration from here, perhaps opt out of organized crime.