Plot – An aspiring photographer develops an intimate relationship with an older woman in the 1950s New York – Carol.
Director – Todd Haynes
Released – 2015
The reason Carol is such an engrossing movie is how well it depicts two people meeting each other, finding a connection and falling in love. That they are two women is almost irrelevant and as a result, you end up with a wonderful love story from start to finish, but as you would expect from a tale of same-sex love in the ’50s America, it’s not without high drama and inner conflict of the main characters, especially with Cate Blanchett’s character who’s engaged in a fierce legal battle with her estranged husband and her decision to follow her heart puts in danger her ability to see her children. Something you wouldn’t see in a run-of-the-mill heterosexual romantic drama.
Beyond the fascinating plot, the performances here are equally strong. Rooney Mara is excellent as a young woman, finding herself overcome with unexpected emotions and at the epicentre of two chaotic relationships. The on-screen partnership she forms with Cate Blanchett is not only absorbing but entirely believable, While Blanchett as an older, sophisticated woman steals the show in every scene. You can tell from this performance that she’s an actress at the top of her game, showing off all her amazing talent to the full.
Todd Haynes’ direction is fabulous and along with the perfect set design and beautiful costumes help to make this one of the most aesthetically pleasing period romances you’ll see in a while. Together they do an outstanding job of transporting you to 1950s New York, while some interesting choices in the cinematography department help you get a sense of the unease felt by the two women.
Finally, Carol may boast a strong plot, nuanced acting and beautiful set design. The film suffers from some issues with pacing, particularly in the opening phase which feels a little sluggish while attempting to establish both the characters and their romance, meaning it takes a little while for you to get really engrossed in this story. That being said, once the film gets going you can’t help but get drawn in.