Carol (2015)

carol poster 2015 movie cate blanchett rooney mara
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Interesting story with a great cast and visuals


Movie Info

Movie Name:  Carol

Studio:  Number 9 Films

Genre(s):  Drama

Release Date(s):  May 17, 2015 (Cannes Film Festival)/November 20, 2015 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R

carol hotel scene rooney mara cate blanchett

Two of a kind…

A chance encounter by Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara) with a woman named Carol Aird (Cate Blanchett) leads to an unexpected romance.  Carol is a mother going through a difficult divorce with her husband Harge (Kyle Chandler), and the aspiring photographer Therese seems like an escape.  A forbidden relationship can be dangerous…and love isn’t allowed.

Directed by Todd Haynes, Carol is a period romance-drama.  The film is based on Patricia Highsmith 1952 novel The Price of Salt.  The film was relatively well received and nominated for Best Actress (Blanchett), Best Supporting Actress (Mara), Best Cinematography, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score, and Best Costume design.  The film also received attention from LGBT groups during #OscarsSoWhite campaign due to also being omitted from Best Picture category.

I like other Patricia Highsmith books.  The author was a strange and different voice in writing in the time she wrote.  Books like Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley explored the forbidden homosexual romance that just wasn’t seen…Carol explores a lesbian relationship and Todd Haynes is probably the director to bring it to the screen.

carol cate blanchett smoking

I hate it when smokers in movies need to ash…and they aren’t doing it!

Carol’s actual plot is very simple.  Like Haynes’ Far from Heaven, it is about what is socially acceptable in the time and what is not and a love story rising in a custody battle.  The difference in Carol is that the acceptable is more gray.  While Carol shouldn’t lose her parental rights to her daughter because she’s a lesbian, her behavior is also not always the best (and neither is her husband)…and Therese is almost caught in the crossfire. The events of the story are loosely based on Highsmith’s relationship with Virginia Kent Catherwood.

Cate Blanchett might be the namesake of the film, but she is more of a secondary character Rooney Mara (who actually has more screentime despite the Supporting Actor designation).  Rooney Mara and her emotions are more up front in the film, but Blanchett is more of a mystery and years of living with her secret has her not wearing her emotions on her sleeve…both actresses give great performances as a result but the characters are very different.  Both Kyle Chandler and Sarah Paulson are strong in their relatively small supporting roles.

carol gun cate blanchett rooney mara

Don’t mess with Carol

The movie also looks fantastic.  The movie was relatively low budget, but the movie does look like a solid period piece.  It isn’t clean and polished like a lot of other pictures and filmmakers used Super 16mm film to give it a rustic look with more natural lighting.

Carol is a great drama that is loaded with interesting characters.  The plot is intentionally subtle to focus on these great characters and hear the different story that Highsmith presented.  Carol surprisingly ends up rather positive.  No one dies, no one commits suicide, and the characters end up happy or so the viewers assume…something that probably wasn’t often true for people in this type of relationship at the time.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response