Carol ★★★★

Carol is a regal display of lesbian relationship in its most restrained yet soul-baring form -- you don't see explicit love scenes or epic screaming contests favored by LGBT cinema, instead you get a slowburner of secret romance rooting and blossoming right in front of your eyes, aided merely by small talks and eye contacts between the two protagonists, yet perfectly adequate to offer the full scale of the forbidden desires bubbling under.

Set in the 50s where homosexual relationships were still generally frowned upon, Carol provides an ideal platform where such forbidden love affair is examined under director Todd Haynes' own microscope of human conditions. Haynes' affinity for a total simmering approach, both in terms of story and style, greatly paid off. There are admittedly not much of dramatic affairs going on during the 2-hour runtime, so Haynes amped up the emotional impact by focusing on the body languages, dialogues and most notably eye contacts between the two wonderful leads. I'm all for gay actors playing gay roles, but Haynes made the right choice bringing Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara on board, whose chemistries were off the chart, and both are veteran masterclasses in conveying subtle emotions in non-vocal ways. On top of that, Haynes ensured that every shot was shot elegantly with a lushly retro aesthetics and an autumnal color palette.

Carol is a beautiful romance and a cautionary tale on the danger of conventions in a society where people cannot be themselves, and no other directors can tell the story better than a queer one like Haynes himself. Highly recommended.

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