Carol movie review


  • Todd Haynes


  • Cate Blanchett
  • Rooney Mara
  • Kyle Chandler
  • Sarah Paulson
  • Rated: R

Rooney Mara plays Therese Belivet, a young department store worker in Director Todd Haynes’ “Carol.” Toward the beginning of the film, it appears that Therese is just coasting through life without having found much of a direction yet.

That is until she meets Carol Aird (Blanchett), an older woman who is in the midst of a divorce which is subsequently leading to a custody battle. After the two meet, they begin a relationship which allows them to be themselves, yet this brings problems, too, especially with Carol’s legal matters.

“Carol” is a supremely elegant picture that works on multiple levels. It’s a gorgeous period piece, a truthful social commentary and most importantly, a heartfelt love story. The movie unfolds at a slow pace, which works for what Haynes is going for, as it explores these characters’ feelings and captures what they’re going through.

As the film moves along, it continuously displays a full range of emotions, such as fear, joy, bliss and heartbreak. The heartbreak is mainly shown in the third act which is brilliantly led into.

Cate Blanchett is already receiving plenty of award buzz for her work in “Carol” and it’s for good reason. Blanchett brings the character to life, and as the film reveals more of who Carol is, Blanchett perfectly displays it making for a beautiful, memorable performance.

One scene in particular, a moment later in the film where Carol has to confront her soon-to-be ex-husband and some lawyers, is especially charged and Blanchett does an amazing job portraying her character’s fire and passion

The same can be said for Rooney Mara, who is also a character that builds over the movie’s runtime. She is timid when first introduced in the first act, but Carol pulls out the real person as the film moves along and Mara convincingly captures this growth. The two lead actresses also have a solid on-screen chemistry with each other which is incredibly valuable in this type of film.

While the two lead actresses have to get the majority of credit, one can’t review the film without mentioning the performance of Sarah Paulson. Without spoiling anything, this review will just say that Paulson delivers a fantastic performance by balancing her character’s emotions and subtleties.

“Carol” also benefits from a wonderful score and elegant cinematography. Every moment of the film captures the look of the 1950s, bringing it to life beautifully and the music compliments it along the way.

Haynes’ latest film is one of 2015’s best and any award recognition is well deserved. The movie is simply hypnotizing thanks to how it brings the period and characters to life for the audience. 5 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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