Verdict: Melancholic brilliance meets dazzling performances.
Carol is invigorating. It is tender. It is painful and it is brilliant. The film is a romantic-drama set in New York of the fifties. A romantic story of two women. Yet, it isn't just that. The film is about love. Love, as it transforms from an uncomplicated attraction to a complex web of circumstances that need to weigh in multiple aspects of one's life. Carol explores that familiar feeling of confusion and transition that everyone has experienced.
A wealthy women clad in a brown fur coat enters a toy store during the Christmas season. She spots the doe-eyed cashier tenderly staring at her from across the floor. Their eyes meet for a moment and there's a spark. Attraction in its rawest forms has been explored through this scene in Carol.
The polished lady is Carol Aird (Cate Blanchett), a married woman and the girl is Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara), an aspiring photographer. Carol buys a train set for her daughter from Therese that day and there starts a friendship and a budding relationship. But, Carol is married to Harge Aird (Kyle Chandler) with an adorable daughter Rindy (Sadie Heim) who is the apple of her eye. And, Therese is almost dating Dannie McElroy (John Magaro), who is crazy about her. But Carol's marriage is a farce and despite a loving husband she cannot bring herself to be in love with him. And Therese isn't sure of what she wants. She doesn't even "know what to get for lunch" let alone know if she wants to marry. The movie beautifully captures all the feelings; Therese's confusion, Carol's frustration and the husband's one-sided love, all played to perfection.
The film is based on the novel, The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith. It take you back to an era of romantic classics. The film brings to life characters that touch you. Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara are brilliant in the film. Cate's confidence paired with Rooney's character's confused state gives the movie both a sophisticated and raw personality. The fur coats, the little hats and the cigarette clenched between red lips, that's Carol for you. There's a story behind the eyes and the smile and Cate Blanchett gives you a Carol who is the epitome of beauty, pain and conflict. Rooney on the other hand, transforms from a puzzled girl to a heartbroken, but career focused woman. Rooney's likeness to Audrey Hepburn is stunning and gives her character a child-like guise.
Carol is conflicted when asked to choose between her daughter and her love. She confides in her friend and ex-lover Abby Gerhard, played by Sarah Paulson (who does an extraordinary job). In her letter to Therese, Carol writes "everything has a way of coming a full circle", but for these two is it meant to form a complete circle? Carol subtly shows us that love doesn't change its form just because it is not between two people of opposite gender. It is an all encompassing feeling and we need to accept it, whether it is 1952 or 2016.
Why You Should Watch This Movie:
The film is brilliant, melancholic and tender, just like love. Watch Carol to see emotions flow beautifully on the big screen. Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara deliver performances of a lifetime. There's no reason to miss this one.