Carol

Out Now On-Demand

Romantic drama from Todd Haynes (Far from Heaven) starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, based on the 1952 novel by Patricia Highsmith. Carol was the talk of Cannes 2015, it won Best Actress (Mara) and the Queer Palm award.

"In New York in the early 1950s, Therese Belivet (Mara), is working in a Manhattan department store and dreaming of a more fulfilling life when she meets Carol Aird (Blanchett), an alluring woman trapped in a failing marriage. As an immediate connection sparks between them, the innocence of their first encounter dims and their connection deepens. When Carol’s involvement with Therese comes to light, Carol's husband retaliates by challenging her competence as a mother. And as Carol and Therese take refuge on the road, leaving their respective lives behind, a confrontation emerges that will test each woman's assumptions about herself and commitments to one another." (Cannes Film Festival)

Trailers

Awards

Winner Best Actress (Mara) and Queer Palm winner at Cannes Film Festival 2015

Directed by

Written by

  • Phyllis Nagy
  • (based on the novel 'The Price of Salt' by Patricia Highsmith)

Drama

118mins

Rating: M Sex scenes, offensive language & nudity

UK, USA

If something is described as “classy”, so the dictum goes, neither the object, nor the person describing it, actually is. Still, you’d be hard-pushed to talk about Todd (Far From Heaven) Haynes’ latest awards hopeful, based on a 1952 Patricia Highsmith novel (published pseudonymously because of its then-shocking content), without recourse to such a word. Perhaps sophisticated will have to do.

As New York socialite Carol, Cate Blanchett is beautifully bored, oozing perfume-advert poise from every perfect pore. As Therese, the shop girl she falls for, Rooney Mara is – comparatively – gawky, but she, too, exhibits an ethereal otherness. She's told she “should be more interested in humans” but can't quite bring herself to engage with the 1950s attitudes around her that seek to keep women in their place.

Carol's in the midst of divorcing dutiful Harge (Kyle Chandler); Therese is all but promised to decent Richard (Jake Lacey). Together they decide to stand apart from society and the men who profess love, but seek to possess them. To say there are dark consequences won't come as too much of a surprise – this is the woman who wrote Strangers On A Train, after all – but mostly the drama is, like Carol, measured and mature. Haynes even steals from the best, borrowing from Brief Encounter, the homage a symbol (in a work that's full of them) of aiming higher than high.

For those seeking an afternoon weepy, the film's poise might be its Achilles heel – we never feel the howl of real heartbreak. But for everyone else, two words will suffice: pure class.

Total Film (UK)

press

Every glance means something, no strain shows: it’s filmmaking as natural as breathing.

Time Out London

press

Gestures, looks and touches carry enormous weight, and Blanchett and Mara, both excellent, invite micropscopic readings of their every glance and movement.

Telegraph (UK)

press

Carol is gorgeous, gently groundbreaking, and might be the saddest thing you’ll ever see.

Guardian (UK)

press

It is a creamily sensuous, richly observed piece of work, handsomely detailed and furnished...

Variety (USA)

press

Even high expectations don’t quite prepare you for the startling impact of Carol, an exquisitely drawn, deeply felt love story...

Empire (UK)

press

Mara and Blanchett make for an unforgettable couple in a beautiful film about longing, loss and the confusion and wonder of love.

FilmInk (Australia)

press

It is a classy entertainment with a delicious combination of psychological manipulation and latent liberation.

Los Angeles Times

press

As its bravura filmmaking unfolds, those specifics fade and what remains are the feelings and emotions that all the best movie love stories create. And make no mistake, "Carol" belongs in that group.

New York Times

press

At once ardent and analytical, cerebral and swooning... a study in human magnetism, in the physics and optics of eros. A symphony of angles and glances, of colors and shadows.

Give it a chance to do it's work...

For the longest time my experience of Carol was less immersion and more admiration at the craft that had gone into fashioning such a beautiful object. The evocation of another world is faultless, from the wood-panelled department stores to the smokey upstairs parties which are veritably begging for the impending arrival of rock'n roll. Cinematography, set design, the beautiful lead performances from Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara - the whole shebang is virtually edible, but although I was enjoying looking at it, I just wasn’t feeling it.

It worked away at me though. Late in the piece there’s a key scene (the one with Carol, her husband and their two lawyers) where, all of a sudden, I fell for Carol - both the character and the movie. From that point on director Todd Haynes, Blanchett, Mara et al had me in the palms of their hands. The final sequence is nigh-on-perfect as Haynes abandons the almost-geometric compositions of much of the preceding two hours - restrictive frames and constricting space - and goes all hand-held, placing us with the characters as he leads us to what is hands-down my favourite final shot of the year. To say it had managed to win me over by the end is a massive understatement.

If you watch it (and you should) don’t mistake Carol’s refreshing lack of sentimentality for chilliness or distance - this is heartfelt, passionate stuff delivered with genuine class. It scarcely needs any more praise, but for what it’s worth this is easily one of the year’s best films.


Beautiful film

This is a good story told by by one today's best filmmakers - enthralling drama, highly recommended.


A perfect film.

Exquisite. Filled to the brim with raw, aching emotion and desire. Just perfect in every way.


Carol

Beautifully crafted and Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara are fantastic, but I probably won't ever watch Carol again. It's quite slow, I didn't enjoy it that much. Grade: B-


Moving love story

A great romance movie - Blanchett and Rooney both giving wonderful performances and the film is well paced and engaging.


Review: Carol

Carol is not the type of film I usually I go to the theatre to see. I had heard about the Oscar buzz the two leads were gathering after it premiered at Cannes Film Festival back in May 2015.

Carol is a stand out film. It is a love story which succeeds or fails on the tow leads. Mara & Blanchett's performance and chemistry the audience will become infatuated in the relationship as the characters become infatuated with one another. Rooney Mara is the stand out in this one for me. Up against one of the greatest actresses of this generation, she more than holds her own. Her ability to captivate an audience with little dialogue and shy glances is a wonder to see. And as expected, Blanchett shows her masterclass yet again in another great performance.

The relationship formed between these two is acted and written so beautifully, it is hard not to fall in love along with them.