© 2015 The Weinstein Company.
Todd Haynes’ latest tale of forbidden love and lost identity proves to be arguably his most powerful work yet featuring two of the finest performances of 2015.
The eponymous Carol is played by Cate Blanchett, an upper class lady in the midst of a tragic divorce who meets, and instantly falls in love with Rooney Mara’s enigmatic and beautiful shop assistant Therese Belevit. The chance encounter between the two takes place at a department where Carol is looking to buy her daughter a Christmas present. The pair, both stuck, longing for a better life instantly meet eyes across the room- the camera holds their faces for a moment before they are to make their first encounter.
Blanchett’s Carol is a charismatic, seductive figure who dominates conversation with Therese, who is also an aspiring photographer. Carol orders a train set- one which has to be delivered ,naturally and accidentally on purpose leaves her leather gloves as an invitation for Therese to contact her.
Haynes, perhaps like no other understands the eroticism of cinema- every touch, every glance, ever drag on a cigarette creates a feeling of desire in this movie. Blanchett understands this to and her performance as Carol is elegant and seductive but also one full of fear and doubt. Whilst Mara’s Therese is doe eyed, innocent and naive but at the same time watchful and reflective. The two share an incredibly chemistry on scene and it is one which is hard not to become intoxicated by.
So multi layered is Haynes’ work that it would take me too long to detail everything but themes which have ran through the director’s work are all present and correct. Though sexuality does not seem the key issue here- this is a tale of love and loss first and foremost, and how the two can both define you and destroy you.
The two cast are supported superbly as well- Sarah Paulson is brilliantly cast as Carol’s former lover Abby and Kyle Chandler excels as Carol’s divorcing husband Harge. A desperate man willing to go to desperate measures to keep the woman he loves.
Credit must also be given to Edward Lachman for his beautiful cinematography and Judy Becker and Sandra Powell for their astonishing set design. Carol is not only of the best movies of the year but it is also one of the most gorgeously realised.
Carol is perhaps best summed up in it’s breath taking final scene, nothing but silence and an exchange of glances- a perfect ending to a near flawless movie. Carol is a haunting, quietly moving romance that will linger with you long after the credits roll.