Carol ★★★★★

Most directors have a recognisable style that characterises their movies, giving them a distinctive visual stamp that claims it as wholly theirs. Todd Haynes is an unusual director in that his style differs from movie to movie, fully committing to replicating different genres and bygone fashions to the extent that he has no distinctive visual style that claims any movie as distinctively his.

With Carol, he has made a period drama not entirely dissimilar from his early film, 2002’s Far From Heaven. However, Far From Heaven fully committed to replicating the style of Douglas Sirk melodramas, adding thematic content the Hays code that dominated Hollywood productions in the 50’s wouldn’t allow. Carol appears to be an updating of the “woman’s film”, but without the melodramatic connotations of its leading directors. Women’s films in general were melodramas depicting domestic life and romantic entanglements, centred on female leads. In modern cinema, when films can only get financed if there is a male lead alongside the actresses, the fact a film that harks back to that tradition can get made is a miracle in itself.


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