- Director: Todd Haynes
- Writer: Patricia Highsmith; Phyllis Nagy
- Producer: Elizabeth Karlsen; Tessa Ross
Aaah, the lesbian drama...you can literally hear the moans and groans of expectation...melodrama, butch versus femme and a wailing folk-singer strangling an out-of-tune acoustic guitar.
Well, praise the mastery of Mr Haynes...those expectations are - thankfully - thwarted from the opening scene onwards. There is a God.
It's all in the tone, the mood, the detail...set in stone from the off.
Elegance...not a word commonly used in such a context. Carol exudes elegance...with an undercurrent of chilliness. Distances have to be respected, the rank and file observed...until...
Carol may not seem like a rollercoaster ride for the viewer...but, her world is turned upside down...it's a journey most would avoid...and, it is easily avoided by playing the dutiful wife and mother...but, happiness and desire and independence are tantalising adversaries.
There is an air of throwing caution to the wind...Therese has nothing but an unwanted suitor to lose...Carol, everything.
This is a slow, modulated process in the pursuit of independence (after dependence) and happiness (despite the compromises)...Carol gambles...will there be a happy-ever-after? Can there ever be a happy-ever-after?
Nagy's script will keep you guessing...even after the film has ended...now that is a masterstroke.
Carol is immersive...Haynes, Blanchett and Mara (and that soundtrack)...blend together perfectly in this bitter-tinged beauty of a film.
In 1952 New York CIty, Therese Belivet, a lonely young woman, is starting out her adult life in Manhattan and looking for her chance to break through into her dream job as a theater set designer. She is dating a young man, named Richard, whom she does not love and does not want to have sex with. On a long and monotonous day working in the toy department of a department store, Therese is struck by an elegant and beautiful woman in her late 30s, whom she serves. The woman, Carol Aird, gives her address to Therese in order to have her purchases delivered. On an impulse, Therese sends Carol a Christmas card to her home address. Carol, a woman approaching age 40, is is going through a difficult separation and divorce from his husband Harge, and is herself quite lonely. Therese develops a strong attachment to Carol, but she is unsure how to understand her feelings towards this other woman.
Cast & Characters
Cate Blanchett as Carol Aird;
Rooney Mara as Therese Belivet;
Kyle Chandler as Harge Aird;
Sarah Paulson as Abby Gerhard;
Cory Michael Smith as Tommy;
Jake Lacy as Richard;
Carrie Brownstein as Genevieve Cantrell;
John Magaro as Dannie;
Jayne Houdyshell as Ruby;
Kevin Crowley as Fred Haymes