Carol (2015, Todd Haynes)
In 1950’s Manhattan, a department store clerk named Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara) meets the charming and sophisticated Carol Aird (Cate Blanchett), and from there the two embark on a whirlwind romance that must endure against Carol’s husband, Harge Aird (Kyle Chandler), and the prejudices of the era. Based on a Patricia Highsmith novel from 1952, ‘Carol’ ranks alongside Brokeback Mountain and Blue Is the Warmest Colour as one of the greatest films depicting a same-sex romance, and is also one of the best romantic films of the decade. A perpetual passion simmers under the surface of this beautiful-looking film. It has vibrant, moving characters, a superbly tender story and rich period detail that is never quite in-your-face. Visually, Ed Lachman’s cinematography has a wonderful soft hue, a vignette of constant greens and reds that adds perfectly to the old-fashioned aesthetic. Cate Blanchett, at this point, is only rivalled by Meryl Streep as the greatest actress alive. She is completely irresistible as Carol; her movements, mannerisms and goddess-like grace ooze class and elegance. Mara gives a completely different performance, but one just nearly as good. Her quiet, subtle energy makes the romantic connection an attraction of opposites, a force of nature and one of deep, unspoken emotion. Marveled director Todd Haynes has created here a smooth, loving and gorgeous film, coupled with powerful performances and a touching story of complicated love, one that moves along gently and pulls you into it like the warm shade of a 1950’s photograph.
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