Carol ★★★★½

What made Carol stand out for me is the pure psychological atmosphere of both protagonists and how that compares to mine. Therese and Carol are melancholic women, observing the world around them with wonder as well as contempt, because they are incapable of expressing themselves fully, incapable of being their true self and not worrying about social pressures. Therese takes impressive pictures with her camera, but seems unable to explore that passion and assume creative control over her work. Carol loves her daughter and tries to be the perfect mother and wife, but fails at doing so simply because of who she is. They are both unhappy in how their lives are evolving, until they meet each other.

What makes their story special is that they connect not just because of physical attraction and personal curiosity, but because they share that mindspace, they’re both in the same stage of life, despite their social differences (Carol is considerably wealthier and older than Therese). They’re so intrigued by one another because they are both searching for something more, something that traditional life can’t give them, and they find that and more in each other. So the beauty of the film, for me, lies in that connection they are able to establish, subtly suggested by the performances and the incredible direction, without need for long conversations, similar tastes or any sort of personal coincidences. They love each other because they’re equal in mood, in search, and they’re infatuated with each other's presence.

There are a million things to appreciate in this film, the meaningful cinematography, the superb central performances, the graceful editing, the impressively accurate period details in both costume and production design, even the smooth, elegant musical score. And that makes Carol a gorgeous film. But what makes it truly exceptional is that all of that technical wonder serves to tell such a great love story, an unconventional but beautiful and expressive relationship that is so relevant in today’s world while still being a timeless tale.

| Direction: 9,0                               | Sound: 9,0
| Screenplay: 8,0                           | Editing: 8,5
| Acting: 9,5                                     | Entertainment: 9,0
| Visuals: 9,5                                   | Overall Rating: 8,9