Carol is a film based on the novel “The Price of Salt” written by Patricia Highsmith in 1952 about an aspiring young photographer (Rooney Mara) who falls in love with an older woman (Cate Blanchett).
Most of the praise given to Carol that I’ve seen has been for the performances of not just the two main leads, but also to the supporting cast and I couldn’t agree more. Every performance in Carol is spot on, especially Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. Blanchett is powerfully elegant as the titular woman and Mara is subtly brilliant as the main character.
I can’t imagine what this film would’ve been like if it wasn’t directed by Todd Haynes. Todd Haynes directs every aspect of Carol with such brilliance and expertise that I’m surprised his name isn’t heard more often among reviewers.
Just like the substance of Carol (the directing and acting), the design is brilliant. Every frame feels like a 1950s photograph just as every building feels modern and every costume feels current. Every single smidgen of design in Carol is so well crafted and presented that watching the film will make you feel like you are in 1950s New York.
The initial story and plot itself in Carol isn’t terribly exciting however. If I were to write down every scene of Carol on paper, it probably wouldn’t convince anyone to see it. But Carol does still reel you in thanks to its aforementioned brilliances (directing, cinematography, performances, design, etc.).
Carol‘s story isn’t the most exciting on the surface but with Todd Haynes excellent directing, an entire cast more than pulling their weight, beautiful cinematography and design and the constant fan of sophistication blowing in your face, Carol is an excellent dramatic film.
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