D Vass’s review published on Letterboxd:
Hey, kids, you like Lord of the Rings? You like Peter Pan? You wanna see Lady Galadriel fall in love with Tiger Lily? Of course you do.
Carol is a film that I have been meaning to watch for some time now and I finally got around to doing that after being super busy for months. And man, was the wait so worth it! This is one of the most beautiful, heartfelt and genuine love stories ever put to screen. It's actually based on a novel whose author had a similar experience to Rooney Mara's character in her lifetime.
Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara) is just your average ordinary, kinda shy girl who works at a toy store and has dreams of becoming a photographer. She often hangs out with her three male friends, Richard, Dannie and Tommy and, all things considered, life is going pretty well. That all changes, however, when one day a woman named Carol Aird (Cate Blanchett) walks into her store looking for a Christmas present for her daughter. Carol forgets her gloves on Therese's counter on the way out and Therese mails them back to her. From there on, a friendship is formed between the two, but it quickly becomes obvious that there's even more between the two, which could cause serious trouble for both of them. It turns out Carol is actually on the verge of divorce and she and her husband are trying to come to terms over who should have custody of their child. The reason why they're divorcing is because Carol likes women (she even had a relationship with her child's godmother once), which Carol's husband, Harge, obviously is not a fan of. In spite of everything, neither Carol nor Therese can ignore the feelings they have for each other, as they grow increasingly closer, and Carol, wanting to clear her head and get away from her troubles at least for a while, invites Therese on a road trip for the holidays. And since I feel I've already said too much about the plot, I'm gonna stop here because there's a lot more details to it and I don't want to spoil anything.
This movie is a breath of fresh air in terms of cinematic romances. You never doubt the love that these two women have for each other, which was also very dangerous, considering that this movie takes place in the 50s - a time period where homosexuality was not tolerated or accepted by society. You really relate to Therese and Carol, you feel for them and you want them to get together in the end because over the course of the film we get to know them well, we see them bond, and we experience their romance through the fantastic cinematography and visuals, the great music and, of course, the pitch-perfect acting from Blanchett and Mara. How they didn't get Oscars is beyond me. The chemistry between them is amazing, culminating in one of the most beautiful love scenes ever filmed. Rumor has it that this scene was filmed on Rooney Mara's birthday, and if that's the case, I'm majorly jealous of her.
Lastly, I want to talk about Carol's husband, Harge. The movie could have so easily made him a cliched bad guy, but it doesn't go that route - it's obvious that he wants his wife to love him and, while he goes about winning her back completely the wrong way (by blackmailing her and threatening to take solo custody of their daughter), I kinda feel bad for him because it must suck to find out that the woman you love doesn't even like men. However, their conflict brings about one of the absolute greatest bits of acting from Cate Blanchett during a hearing scene, which shows that he is not unreasonable and he is willing to make a compromise.
In conclusion, if you're sick and tired of god-awful, contrived and cringe-worthy romances in garbage like Attack of the Clones, Twilight, Fifty Shades of Grey and other YA crap, and you want to see and experience something special, definitely give this film a watch. Trust me, it's worth every second.
Highly, highly recommended!