Carol ★★★★½

"Just when you think it can't get any worse, you run out of cigarettes."

It's Christmas season in 1952 New York City, everyone seems to be smoking cigarettes all the time, the marriages are loveless and there isn't a single drop of depression-inducing romance that gets left unexplored. This is Todd Haynes' most atmospheric and moody film yet, a vibrant and deeply evocative portrait of love and loneliness.

They say that third time's the charm, and it's a statement that definitely applies for my experience with Carol. I was bored out of my mind when I watched it for the first time, then I liked it a lot more the second time around, but lost my attention at some point of the second half (yes, I was an unappreciative nutcase), but this time I fell deeply in love with the characters and the immediately captivating portrait of New York that Haynes creates. I initially thought that the film lacked character and could have digged a little deeper into these characters' minds, but I feel like there is so much hidden in the subtext, in every fleeting moment of longing and missing, that simply eluded me when I saw Carol for the first time.

After Haynes' masterpiece Far from Heaven (2002), this further deep-dive into an American marriage of the 1950s reveals itself as another investigation of the society, the culture and the understanding of love and traditions at the time. I'm wondering what Cate Blanchett's Carol and Julianne Moore's Cathy would have to say to each other if they were to meet? Or, for that matter, how a conversation between Kyle Chandler's Harge and Dennis Quaid's Frank might look like?

On another note, Carter Burwell's amazing score (that I will definitely listen to on a loop this evening) has reminded me of something else all day long, and it always feels like it's on the tip of my tongue, but I cannot manage to finally remember what it is that it reminds me of. It has been driving me crazy for the last couple of hours.

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Todd Haynes' Films Ranked

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