“My angel, flung out of space”
Set in 1950s New York and based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel “The Price of Salt,” Carol is the story of a young department store clerk and an older married woman who fall for each other; a ‘love at first sight’ tale. Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, with director Todd Haynes, create an entertaining period piece drama and a sensual love story rich in style and story.
The acting is flawless. Both Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara deliver stellar performances. Blanchett plays Carol, a married woman headed toward divorce and Mara plays Therese a young and innocent department store worker and aspiring photographer. The two fall in love; developing and intimate relationship that, though it has its trials, ends happily. Mara creates a character that is both shy and confident. Blanchett’s character is sleek, elegant and somewhat of a mother figure to Therese. The chemistry is undeniable between the pair, the connection so real and genuine, guiding the audience to root for them despite the fact that in the end Carol leaves the custody of her child to her husband to ultimately be with Therese. The film takes place in a time much less excepting of homosexuality which makes Carol and Therese’s love even more sincere. Blanchett and Mara received best actress and supporting actress nominations that were both definitely merited.
The production design is gorgeous. The sets, costumes, cinematography and attention to detail is immaculate and creates an exquisite aesthetic for the film. Something that stood out was the filming of cars; in them, through the windshield, a shot of a face peering out a rain spotted window as the car rolls by, etc.; it’s very cool and the overall cinematography is great.
The screenplay and dialogue are very well done and Hayne’s way of storytelling is wonderful. The narrative is told through both Carol and Therese’s eyes so we get a glimpse into both their lives. The film ends rather abruptly, with Therese seeking out Carol in a restaurant, having decided to pursue a long term relationship with her. Their eyes meet and the screen goes black but the conclusion is perfectly clear, and emotional; Carol and Therese get their ‘happily ever after’ or so it seems for the moment, and maybe thats all that matters.