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In an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's seminal novel The Price of Salt, CAROL follows two women from very different backgrounds who find themselves in an unexpected love affair in 1950s New York. As conventional norms of the time challenge their undeniable attraction, an honest story emerges to reveal the resilience of the heart in the face of change. A young woman in her 20s, Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara), is a clerk working in a Manhattan department store and dreaming of a more fulfilling life when she meets Carol (Cate Blanchett), an alluring woman trapped in a loveless, convenient marriage. As an immediate connection sparks between them, the innocence of their first encounter dims and their connection deepens. While Carol breaks free from the confines of marriage, her husband (Kyle Chandler) begins to question her competence as a mother as her involvement with Therese and close relationship with her best friend Abby (Sarah Paulson) come to light. Written by
The Weinstein Company
Performed by Les Paul and Mary Ford
Written by Ned Washington and Gene Gifford
Words and Music by Gene Gifford and Ned Washington
Published by EMI Music Publishing Ltd./EMI Mills Music Inc.
Used by permission of Shapiro, Bernstein & Co., Inc. on behalf of Catherine Hinen Music
Courtesy of Capitol Records LLC
Under license from Universal Music Operations Ltd. See more »
In 1950s New York, a department-store clerk who dreams of a better life falls for an older, married woman.
Director Todd Haynes has created a film of subtle and undeniable beauty. The set design is magnificent and builds a world that is uniquely 1950s, the costume design contributes greatly to the overall sense of time and place which can be hard to underscore in a period piece but the crew of Carol has manage to pull it off effortlessly. Todd Haynes direction is fluid and his camera lingers to capture the full emotional content of each scene. The score by Carter Burwell adds another layer of sincerity to this motion picture, and the cinematography by Edward Lachman vividly illustrates the elegance of the locations used.
The performances are outstanding, the relationship between Rooney Mara's "Therese Belivet" and Cate Blanchett's "Carol Aird" anchors the film. Rooney Mara plays "Therese" with an underlying sense of innocence that she herself knows more than anyone, she exclaims "I just say yes to everything", Mara's physical embodiment of her character is undeniable and everything you need to know about her motives can be found in a glance or a stare. Blanchett is terrific as "Carol" and there is a mysterious side to her character that begins to unveil as the narrative progresses, her particular predicament is a major source of pain in her life. Her relation with "Harge Aird" portrayed by Kyle Chandler highlights this, as he becomes deeply dissatisfied with her actions.
It's the sequences were Mara and Blanchett share the screen that define the brilliance of this film. There interactions are spellbinding from there first unusual interaction at "Therese's" department store to there affectionate conversations in "Carol's" car. To see how they progress is fascinating and the way in which Haynes frames them apart is superior direction. Its how we comprehend there relationship without cliché dialog, but mostly through facial expression that we get a sense of how they feel for each other.
The structure of the narrative itself was quite unexpected and I felt a major satisfaction as the film began to conclude. Its also perfectly paced with the exact amount of lingering to allow emotions to run wild. Its simplistic narrative tells a deeper more wholesome story about human connection and how it is viewed by society in the 1950's which strangely parallels today.
Overall, I found Carol to be quite beautiful, from its spectacular production and costume design, fluid direction, mesmerizing performances and incredible pacing this is a film where I personally relished on those lingering moments that detail the emotions of the characters. I am going to give Carol a 9.2/10.
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