Harry Brafman’s review published on Letterboxd:
So I saw Carol a couple weeks ago and only now am I getting the time to write this quick little review of it.
Overall I really liked Carol. First and foremost the thing that stood out most to me was how the two main characters of this film have a life outside of each other. They have their own dramas,friends,family, problems and insecurities. This decision was funky fresh as fuck since it made the two of them feel realistic and believable as characters and thus made us relate to/care about them more and that also meant we cared about their relationship much more. A lot of shitty romance based films normally only have the two leads exist for one another which is just plain unrealistic, cliched, boring and trite. Luckily this film avoids that.
Another thing I really dug about this film is how the relationship between the two develops. At first I had buying into it since the two felt like they had a mutual understanding of one another but not much chemistry but then as the film went on the chemistry between the two started to develop in a natural way to the point where I couldn't stop shipping them together. And that's how all normal relationships develop if you think about it. You start off as an awkward blank slate but as you see/get to know the person more you guys become more relaxed/act like yourselves around one another. This film captured that whole process very unwell unlike most other shitty films where the characters are unrealistically finishing each other's sentences right off the bat.
I've talked a lot about the characterisation through the writing but now lets look at it through the acting. It's maaaaaaaaaad trill. Rooney Mara and Kate Blanchet kill it in their roles with just their body language and mannerisms conveying so much about their character(s). Their inflictions, speech patterns and tone of voice in certain situations further helped me see them as actual people and not just characters being played by actors.
I've flapped by gums about the two main characters but now lets hit up them side characters. They were really well written and played with each one having their own understandable motivations for their actions even though we may not always agree with said actions.
The cinematography in this film is also beautiful with this film rocking a nice subdued green colour pallet and compositions/camera movements/camera placements that are both eye pleasing and thematically appropriate.
The only real issue I had with this film was it's soundtrack. The soundtrack felt far too overbearing and emotionally manipulative. There are a lot of scenes in this film that had the potentinal to feel subtle and poignant but then that soundtrack would kick in and make it feel like soap opera bullshit.
Overall I was surprised with how much I liked Carol. I dare even call it one of the best American romance-centric films out there (along with Blue Valentine, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Greenberg, and 500 Days Of Summer). Check it out. 8.5/10