Carol ★★★½

A wealthy New York socialite meets a young and introverted department store clerk. They are both intrigued with each other and form a friendship. But soon both women understand that their feelings for each other are more than friendly.

Have you ever heard about a movie that most cinephiles respect and enjoy but few really love? Well, "Carol" is a prime example of that kind of movie. Todd Haynes meticulously recreates the ultra-conservative America of the 1950's and sets up a believable romance without ever rushing his story or using any cheap gimmicks to pull our heartstrings.
Every character is three-dimensional, even Carol's husband, the "villain" of the story. The cinematography and music are splendid and contribute to the creation of a dream-like atmosphere.
There is something that holds us back from fully embracing it. Maybe it's the fact that the film's middle section drags. Maybe it's because despite the lesbian twist this is ultimately a generic love story, a rom-com without the humor and with a more subdued happy ending.
Or maybe because it's a bit cold and passionless.

Besides the technical aspects, the other strong suit of "Carol" is acting. Cate Blanchett is simply amazing as the titular heroine. Her combination of talent, beauty and class is unique in modern cinema. Rooney Mara is equally good in the less showy role of Therese even tough her character is a bit of an enigma till the end.
Kyle Chandler handles well a role that could easily descend into caricaturization and Sarah Paulson's pragmatism nicely balances Blanchett's sentimentalism and impulsiveness.

There is no denying that "Carol" is a work of art. Despite the fact that I wasn't so emotionally devastated as other people I can fully understand their reaction. This is sublime film-making, warts and all, and deserves to be given a fair chance by anyone who loves the medium of film.

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