Carol (2015)
November 20, 2015 10:58 AM - Subscribe

Set in 1950s New York, a department-store clerk who dreams of a better life falls for an older, married woman.

The Guardian (Peter Bradshaw):

"Todd Haynes’s Carol is an amour fou which plays out with sanity and generosity: it is a superbly realised companion piece to his 50s Sirkian drama Far From Heaven and an overt homage to Lean’s Brief Encounter. The film is based on Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novel The Price of Salt, about the love affair between a virginal shopgirl and the beautiful older married woman that she serves in the pre-Christmas rush in a Manhattan department-store: they are played here by Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett. Just occasionally, along with the classic echoes, Carol has the obsessive frisson of Nic Roeg’s Bad Timing and – with the flourishing of a revolver – Haynes conjures a fraught kind of Nabokovian despair and futile melodrama."

The Telegraph (Tim Robey):

"Carol is gorgeous, gently groundbreaking, and might be the saddest thing you’ll ever see. More than hugely accomplished cinema, it’s an exquisite work of American art, rippling with a very specific mid-century melancholy, understanding love as the riskiest but most necessary gamble in anyone’s experience.

"It’s hard to imagine a director handling this project more surely than Todd Haynes, a supreme chronicler of feminine emotional pain - from Safe through Far From Heaven and Mildred Pierce - who reasserts his status here as one of the greats."

Director Todd Haynes is also famously responsible for the short, Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story (1987), which was 'acted' entirely using Barbie dolls, and was created when he was an MFA student at Bard College.

See also Vox (Todd VanDerWerff): Carol is the most beautiful movie of the year

Cate Blanchett & Rooney Mara on Their Sex Scene in 'Carol' - Live From Cannes 2015
Film trailer (U.S.)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (13 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Hey, part of this was shot in my hometown! There's a couple of stretches downtown where the storefronts look more or less the way they did in the 1950s, so they just had to do a little bit of set dressing to complete the period look.

Journal-News: Hollywood comes to downtown Hamilton
posted by Strange Interlude at 12:07 PM on November 20, 2015

From the Autostraddle review:
When I left NewFest‘s screening of Carol — Todd Haynes’ adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s lesbian pulp novel, The Price of Salt, starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara — I walked ten blocks past my train, and then three avenues past another stop in a different direction. I was drunk on it, on every aching look Mara and Blanchett shared, every pining line of dialogue that hung in the air between them like the threat of winter or the promise of spring, the swelling score, the immaculate costumes and set design, the way they touched when they finally touched, and how everyone in the theater had been holding their breath during the last five minutes of the film, collectively ready to jump through the screen to murder a man, and how everyone exhaled in unison when the credits rolled, and then chuckled because they didn’t realize everyone around them had been clawing at their own palms too.
I missed it when it was at the Mill Valley festival last month and it's not coming back to the Bay Area until maybe December? Gah.
posted by rtha at 1:34 PM on November 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

So what'd you think of it, jcifa? Does it live up to the hype?
posted by mediareport at 4:34 PM on November 20, 2015

just saw this in nyc at the paris - heartbreakingly beautiful film
posted by kokaku at 6:42 PM on November 27, 2015

Yeah, it's only at 4 theaters in NYC and LA right now, and will be opening in a dozen more on December 11th and in the top 50 markets on Christmas Day. It's a shame this post was so premature; the discussion here will probably get lost.

More on Carol's deliberately slow release strategy:

“Carol” is still in the same four theaters in New York and Los Angeles where it opened two weeks ago and will not go into additional cities until Dec. 11...

On Dec. 11, the studio will add a few more markets and will have the film in 15 to 20 theaters. It will expand to the top 50 film markets on Christmas day and plans to have “Carol” playing in 150 theaters. At some point between January 8 and 15, the picture will be on anywhere from 500 to 700 locations.

posted by mediareport at 5:43 AM on November 30, 2015

I saw a (Chicago) preview screening last night, and it was just as gorgeous as I wanted it to be.

If you've read The Price of Salt, there will be moments, perhaps many, when you think, "oh my god, this is exactly what the room in this scene is supposed to look like", in particular Carol's house and everything in the department store. But, while true to the source material, it doesn't really ape it, just captures the melancholy and sadness and dreaminess of moments. And because of the compressed time frame of the opening scenes, it's basically now the perfect movie for the holiday season.

I was sure that Cate Blanchett would be a suitable Carol, but she was better than expected. I knew Rooney Mara's name but didn't remember seeing her in anything, and found her to be a revelation, so much like the Therese from the book, playing her insecurities and confusion that we read just with her face.

Good god, did I love this movie.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:39 AM on December 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

That Autostraddle review gets the feeling perfectly.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:55 PM on December 28, 2015

I got oversold on the hype, and while it was a perfectly nice, fabulously set film, I am disappointed. Having heard so much bout it having a "happy ending" my expectations were too high, I forgot that alive and not incarcerated is mould-breakingly happy. There was no chemistry between the leads, and the film in general felt very straight in a way that, for example, A Single Man didn't. So, lovely, and glad I "backed it at the box office", I will probably buy the dvd to boost the sales a bit too, but I probably wouldn't bother watch it again.
posted by Iteki at 3:24 AM on January 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

Something about Blanchett's performance reminded me of Buddy Cole. I think it was the voice.
posted by pxe2000 at 11:31 AM on January 8, 2016

Great story, beautiful acting and gorgeously directed. Loved the not so neatly wrapped ending.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:33 PM on January 23, 2016

Just saw it this week and loved it.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:06 AM on January 28, 2016

My favorite scene was the part in the law office when Blanchett spoke out about her relationship with Therese and stood up for what she felt "in her bones" was right for her daughter. I thought Blanchett was great. Rooney Mara, on the other hand, I found really annoying and aloof and childish.
posted by gemutlichkeit at 4:19 PM on March 2, 2017

I just finally saw it. So incredibly smokey and textured, with pathology under the skin (Carol's losing her daughter as she's seducing, as she surely seduced, a younger woman), and so sexy and melancholic. It's called Carol but it's about Therese, Carol viewed by Therese, and Therese growing up. Through a realist lens I know going back to Carol was a very wrong choice, but in this choice a 'happy' ending felt so real.
posted by latkes at 2:28 PM on June 21, 2018

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