Carol ★★★★

I'm so glad I saved this film to represent the milestone of 30 films seen starring my favourite actress, Cate Blanchett. Todd Haynes, the fantastic director who brought us Velvet Goldmine (1998) and I'm Not There. (2007), delivers a film oozing with quality and charm. Gorgeously shot on grainy 16mm film, Haynes obscures his subjects with off-centre composition and narrow frames within the frame itself, emphasising hidden identities, and building characters and tone visually.

Usually, in a story of this kind, the dominant presence in the relationship (Carol) has a larger-than-life eccentricity and blatant magnetism, but here things are not so on-the-nose. Blanchett could have quite easily played this part with a heightened sense of charisma, but being the graceful professional she is, she trusts in her director to allow such qualities to be implied, rather than spoon-fed to the spectator. (Of course, credit for this also goes to screenwriter, Phyllis Nagy).

Rooney Mara's protagonist (Therese) is played with even greater subtly, whose glances and glares say it all, far more effectively than words can tell.

In all, a beautiful film, with strategic cinematography, superb subtle performances from its leads, and a story of thematic wealth and relevance, adapted and captured perfectly for the screen and our viewing pleasure.

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