Carol ★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

"Have you ever loved a boy?"

I almost didn't see Carol on the big screen, because it took it a long time to make it to my neck of the woods, but I'm glad I did. It's a good movie, and there's a great deal of attention to detail in every frame of the film that makes it very enjoyable on the big screen. I've always been a big fan of Cate Blanchett, but despite her character getting titular billing, this is Rooney Mara's film in some ways, and while I've been slow to enjoy her as an actress, I think watching this is the point where I really get behind her.

A lot of CAROL (right down to the poster) is occupied with exteriors, and appearances, and the ability to see through them (or to cut through convention, if necessary). I'm sure there have been a lot of other people on letterboxd to make these points, as well as talk about the way Haynes frames shots, or the way some scenes feel like they were shot on Kodakchrome film stock or something, the way the colors desaturate or pop. So I'll just note that, from the opening scene (not counting the framing dinner meeting), it's pretty remarkable the way Haynes is able to capture and portray Mara's wistful look down at the train set and communicate that this is a girl who feels like an alien in her own life, and then build on that--that sense of drifting through life because everything seems arbitrary until you actually connect with someone who stirs something in you--I vaguely remember some review or other that was critical of the 'age aspect', but that feels vital to what's going on. There's a cautionary aspect in Carol's predicament to Mara--her marriage is what could happen to Teres if she's not careful, and there's a sense (along with the occasional hint of dialogue like 'I never looked like that') that Blanchett sees some of her past mistakes in Mara's world and desperately wants her to avoid them. And the happy ending feels EARNED.

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