Once I had a secret love...
Classic Elsternwick - Saturday 16 January 2016, 4:30pm
Running time: 118m
Country: United States
Classification: M (Sex scenes, nudity)
Release date: 14/01/16
Cost: $15 (Classic member)
Rating: 9/10 (4.5/5 ME, 4.5/5 DP)
Therese (Rooney Mara), an aspiring photographer planning a trip to Paris with her boyfriend Richard (Jake Lacy), is working in the toy section of a department store when the enigmatic Carol (Cate Blanchett) arrives looking for a Christmas gift for her daughter Rindy. When Therese returns the gloves Carol left behind, the pair develop a friendship which soon becomes so much more. Carol lights a cigarette, Therese sips a martini, Carol fixes her hair, doe-eyed Therese looks away nervously, Carol's lip curls into a wry smile, repeat. While on a road trip over Christmas 1952, Carol's estranged husband Harge (Kyle Chandler) reveals the lengths he'll go to win custody of their daughter.
Carol is a tender and intriguing drama from director Todd Haynes. The story of the relationship between Carol and Therese is revealed in the trailer and poster (as well as the media interest in 'straight' Cate playing a lesbian; um... it's called 'acting' and she's bloody good at it) so it's difficult to go into this film without a sense of the inevitable. However the plot takes some unexpected turns as their love faces the obstacles of prejudice and control. The performances by Blanchett and Mara are superbly executed with a controlled and compelling commitment to the characters. Don't be fooled by the Oscar nominations; Rooney Mara's performance is so much more than a supporting role. The intense dynamic between them provides the momentum for a film that can be short on dialogue and reliant on long lingering looks between the pair.
Production design, cinematography and costume bring to life the muted tones and distinctive style of 1950s New York. There is a deliberate sense of composition in how scenes are framed which parallels Therese's growing interest and expertise in photography. The delicate score provides the right amount of texture without dominating the tone. A polished and moving story, Carol is more than worthy of the attention it's receiving this awards season. Highly recommended. (ME)
88th Academy Awards
2016 BAFTA Awards
5th AACTA International Awards
22nd Screen Actors Guild Awards
73rd Golden Globe Awards