Todd Haynes’ remarkable filmmaking career has ranged from the experimental – KAREN CARPENTER: SUPERSTAR – to risky and risque homages – I’M NOT THERE… VELVET GOLDMINE – to re-imagining 1950s melodrama – FAR FROM HEAVEN, to the dystopian SAFE. Now he revisits the socially constricted 1950s in his latest beautifully realized film, an adaptation of a novel written under a pseudonym by Patricia Highsmith (best known for Strangers on a Train, The Talented Mr. Ripley) that stars the resplendent Cate Blanchett as the titular Carol, a wealthy suburban wife and mother, and Rooney Mara as an aspiring photographer who catches her eye.
When Carol comes to the City looking for a Christmas gift for her young daughter, she’s waited on by Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara) a clerk working in a Manhattan department store. There is an immediate connection; Carol leaves her gloves behind hoping to see her again, and soon they are defying the closet of the early 1950s to be together. With his long-time director of photography Ed Lachmann, CAROL was shot on actual film with lighting styles that echo the movie history of 20th-century America, Haynes charts subtle shifts of power and desire in images that are alternately luminous and oppressive. Blanchett and Mara are splendid; the erotic connection between their characters is palpable from beginning to end, as much in its repression as in eagerly claimed moments of expressive freedom. A Weinstein Company release.
*6 Oscar Nominations: Best Actress (Blanchett), Best Supporting Actress (Mara), Cinematography, Costume Design, Original Score, Adapted Screenplay
*Golden Globe nominee for Best Motion Picture, Best Actress (Blanchett), Best Actress (Mara), Best Director, Best Original Score
(USA / 2015 / Directed by Todd Haynes)
R / 118 mins.