COMBINING classy performances by Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, delicate storytelling by director Todd Haynes and gorgeous cinematography by Edward Lachman, Carol is proving to be one of the best love stories of recent times.
Going far beyond the tired and nauseating “opposites attract” tropes that Hollywood often trots out to melt our hearts and get our emotions fluttering, Carol celebrates a love and bond between two people, any two people.
It does not matter who they are or where they come from; a refreshing, all-inclusive, beautiful point of view that we see far too infrequently on the big screen.
Young department store clerk with a passion for photography Therese Belivet (Mara) serves older glamorous married mother of one Carol Aird (Blanchett) and becomes immediately infatuated.
The two become close and it is revealed that Carol has had intimate relationships with other women in the past, much to the anger and frustration of her husband Harge (Kyle Chandler).
The beauty of Carol lies in its refusal to judge or label its characters.
Words like “gay” or “lesbian” are not spoken, walls between different sexualities are broken down and the organic bond that develops between Therese and Carol is never pigeonholed; it just exists and, most importantly, is nurtured.
There is more heart and maturity in this love story, told with breathtaking subtlety, than 20 hetero-normative romance dramas.
Director Haynes has a clear affection and understanding of these two women and their situation and brings their story to life in a sensitive manner.
Hopefully, Carol opens the floodgates for more films with inclusive, open-minded views of love and relationships, where there are no rules applied to the emotion or who we share it with.
Directed by: Todd Haynes
Starring: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson
Four and a half stars
Review by Julian Wright
In cinemas January 14