UK | USA
Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson, Kyle Chandler, Jake Lacy, Cory Michael Smith, John Magaro, Carrie Brownstein, Kevin Crowley
An immediate connection sparks between Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara), a young woman working in a Manhattan department store and dreaming of a more fulfilling life, and Carol (Cate Blanchett), an alluring woman trapped in a loveless, convenient marriage. Their connection eventually deepens, and while Carol breaks free from the confines of marriage, her husband (Kyle Chandler) begins to question her competence as a mother.
I had been looking forward to this film for months, and despite my high expectation, I was sure it would have let me down, like Todd Haynes's "Far From Heaven" did. To my surprise, the film lived up to my great expectations.
Masterfully directed, beautifully shot and led by a powerful Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, Carol is a tender, tough and thoughtful film made of glances, feelings and atmospheres, that seduces the viewer.
One of the biggest challenges of filmmaking is to find new stories to tell. The ultimate challenge is being able to tell an already-seen story in an original and interesting way. This is certainly the first hurdle Todd Haynes faced with this film that brings back to the memory his "Far From Heaven". Needless to say, he overcame it beautifully.
The story's extremely slow pace is the main reason many did not like the film. At the same time the pace is the main reason the film works. In this manner, Haynes has all the time to focus on every single shade because the storytelling follows an evolution of feelings never expressed in words and kept hidden even in the private.
The script, written by Phyllis Nagy and adapted from Patricia Highsmith's novel "The Price of Salt", is tight, has strong development, and does not waste time. Same goes with dialogue. Each line conveys so much about the story and none of them is wasted.
Then there is a sex scene, which is very common in films. Sometime their only purpose is to have a beautiful woman naked. Some other times they are over extended for no reason probably just to make people talk about the film ("Blue Is the Warmest Colour"). Then there's some other times where the tension between the couple starts building from the beginning, and when they become intimate, the scene is more powerful than any other in the film. Carol's is one of the latter, and as if that wasn't enough, the scene is masterfully done, beautifully shot and so well acted that it conveys all the passion. Carol and Therese will make love again, but there is no other sex scene as those involved - probably both director and writer(s) - knew it wouldn't add anything to the film.
To add another layer of greatness to this film there's Carter Burwell's score. Although repetitive at times, it was divinely blended with the era of the film. It starts with a simple piano, followed by violin, and then suddenly the sound of an angelic harp. Simply the best score of the year.
And lastly the strong and powerful leading duo, Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. Cate Blanchett is - as always - brilliant as Carol, and so consistently magnetic she could make you fall in love with a stare. Rooney Mara is outstanding and her portrayal of Therese showed the character's innocence and her journey towards self-discovery. The chemistry between the two of them is simply remarkable. Sarah Paulson is also unforgettable as Abby, Carol's childhood friend and ex. The chemistry between her and Blanchett is also wonderful.
Go see it before it's too late.
My angel, flung out of space... - Carol