Friday, December 25, 2015


Movie Name: Carol
Year of Release: 2015
Director: Todd Haynes
Stars: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson, Kyle Chandler, Jake Lacy, John Magaro, Cory Michael Smith, Kevin Crowley, Trent Rowland
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 8

Synopsis & Review:
Director Todd Haynes is back, following his successful mini series which he directed for HBO, "Mildred Pierce". The film is an adaptation of the book by Patricia Highsmith, "The Price of Salt", and follows the story of two women from very different backgrounds, who in New York of the 1950s, embark on a love affair that may have harsh consequences for both of them. The film starts by introducing us to Therese Belivet, a young clerk working in a department store, who ambitions to become a photographer. During one of her working days, she meets the beautiful and sophisticated Carol Aird, who is out buying Christmas gifts for her daughter. What starts as an innocent meeting, evolves into a flirtation, and Therese learns that Carol is going through a divorce, and her husband is making the custody process a very difficult one. As the relationship starts getting deeper between the two women, so does Carol's fear that she may lose her custody over her daughter.
Todd Haynes has been successfully revisiting the American society of the 1950s in some of his most celebrated features, such as the beautiful "Far from Heaven" and the above mentioned "Mildred Pierce". He revisits these periods with a sense of simultaneous beauty and realism, capturing the both the wonder and style exhibited by Douglas Sirk's films of the 1950s, while simultaneously bringing into the foreground the sexual and social realities of living in those times (something that because of the Hayes code could never be fully and explicitly showcased in the classic films). "Carol" is a perfect example of a character study, one that slowly reveals the personalities of these two women, as they embark on a relationship, that is simultaneous an escape for one of them, and a coming of age for another. The evolution of Therese is particularly more visible, since she starts as an insecure and undecided young woman, and throughout the film she becomes deeply enamored of someone, and has to come to terms with finding her own path and who she truly is. The film allows for the two lead actresses to have fantastic performances, particularly Rooney Mara, who perfectly conveys the anxieties of Therese in her delicate features, and in her eyes. It's a performance that is nuanced, yet powerful. The cinematography from Ed Lachman is beautiful, as are the costumes from Sandy Powell. The score from Carter Burwell is at times reminiscent of Philip Glass, but still beautiful and elegant. A beautiful film worth watching.