Alex Holmes’s review published on Letterboxd:
"Carol" is a gorgeously crafted movie. Every aspect of the production is handled with a delicate care. The 50's style period piece aesthetic is convincing but not overdone. The warm Super 16 mm cinematography is daring. Never before have I seen so many shots from outside car windows. And each one is beautiful. Carter Burwell's score is one of the most elegant I've ever heard. I can't even begin to describe how impossible this movie would be without that score. I'm listening to it now as I write this review. It is sensual, sensuous, and all things emotional. It is soaring and devastating.
I was impressed by how much the movie also draws on films from the past. The plot is essentially "Brief Encounter" with a lesbian twist. Even the same framing device is used, where the two are sitting at a table and are interrupted, but we don't yet know the context of their conversation. Once it is learned, the scene becomes a last tantalizing glimpse of what could have been.
Lastly, this movie could not have been without Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. They are brilliant. From the moment Blanchett says her own character's name, she is something intangible. I'm struggling to find the right words to describe her performance. You have to see it to believe it. And Mara is just as good. As a character who does not know (or want to find out) who she is, Mara delivers on making us believe her every existential crisis. She is adrift in the world, doing fine, but never fully satisfied.
Suffice to say, I will be returning to "Carol". There are so many directorial choices that I noticed but did not take in their meaning just yet. Why did Todd Haynes shoot it that way? Why did he cut at that moment? I'll have to watch it again to find out.
Watch a movie where somebody has an affair today.