Ambushed by a sudden attraction, aspiring photographer Therese (Rooney Mara) and elegant housewife Carol (Cate Blanchett) gravitate inexorably towards each other, despite the threat their connection poses to both Therese’s relationship with her steady beau and Carol’s custody of her beloved young daughter.
Cinema at its most intoxicating and immaculate, Todd Haynes’ Carol is a deeply romantic, emotionally honest love story about two women who courageously defy the suffocating conformities of mid-century America. Blanchett is magnificent as Carol, whose elegant poise thinly veils her crumbling interior world, whilst Mara is mesmerising as the ingénue whose capacity for love awakens a newfound fearlessness. The adaptation by screenwriter Phyllis Nagy (Mrs. Harris) deftly retains the rich interiors and exquisite tension of Patricia Highsmith’s groundbreaking novel The Price of Salt, written and published in 1952 at a time when its subject was considered scandalous. While Todd Haynes’ filmmaking eloquence is sublimely enhanced by the cinematography of frequent collaborator Ed Lachman (who filmed with Super 16mm to produce the muted hues of glamour magazines of the era), the precision of Judy Becker’s production design and the expressive palette of Sandy Powell’s gorgeous costumes.