Director: Todd Haynes
Talent: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Kyle Chandler, Sarah Paulson
Release Date: 27th November 2015
Isn’t it about time that we had a middle of the road, bourgeois Hollywood melodrama centred around the class-divided, power-imbalanced affair of *two women*, as opposed to the conventional, heterosexual pairings that occupy that particular generic landfill? Yes it is, and Todd Haynes’ expert direction elevates the material on offer in Carol, imbuing it with the familiar tragic sensibility of 2002’s Far From Heaven and consciously echoing David Lean’s Brief Encounter while still managing to render the romance between wealthy, soon to be divorced Carol (Blanchett) and shopgirl Therese (Mara) in a way that paradoxically draws a vitality from its suppression, in the milieu of 1950s New York. Particularly well-drawn is the quiet exhilaration of the beginning of their affair, felt from the virginal perspective of Therese. Clunky lines abound (e.g. Carol’s mid-coital ‘My angel, fallen out of heaven!’) and an emotional letter-read-in-voice-over to close the second act jars but, however flawed, this is a story intelligently and compassionately told.
Words: Oisín Murphy-Hall