Carol ★★★★½

We crave not just affection in our relationships, but solace, too. And it's a particularly effective film device - after all, being brought together through shared thoughts is an undeniable form of connection, no? But even the best of intentions, the purest of love, is something to be ironed out. Not at all to suggest what Carol (Cate Blanchett) and Therese (Rooney Mara) feel for each other isn't, or to begrudge their romance over the course of the film. Not at all. But this is a film of impulse, of unfinished identity and dreams, of the mad rush of desire.

"My star, flung out of space," as Carol so deftly puts it. Therese exclaims repeatedly she has no idea what she wants. Carol answers repeatedly that she knows exactly what she's doing when it's hinted that she doesn't. It only ends up hurting them both. Yet the film never condemns nor champions these impulses, allowing what we see to beautifully evolve, adapt, and build into the promise of something better. Carol and Therese are faced with insurmountable odds - it's the 1950s after all - but damnit, they won't let round one knock them out. They'll come back.

Not every good romance is Hollywood-esque, surviving past that honeymoon phase, but that's for a wonderful reason: we're human. We make mistakes. But love will win out, as the film suggests, despite everything pointing elsewhere. So long as we are patient, so long as we take the time to know ourselves, then that love will grow and grow. To see such a patient and empathetic portrait of this love, bedecked by LGBTQ representation nonetheless, is joyous.

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