Posted Dec 08 2015
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Carol - This Movie Rocks Right To The End

Dir: Todd Haynes

Starring Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson, Kyle Chandler

Todd Haynes has certainly previously worked in the milieu of repressed/oppressed sexuality. And even in a similar period with Far From Heaven. But he has never delivered a better film that his adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s atypical novel, Carol. Mara is the uncertain, curious shop-girl, brought into the orbit of wealthy (and therefore presumed to be powerful) Carol (an as always excellent Blanchett.) They embark, at first extremely tentatively, on a relationship, that slowly develops into an affair, both physical and emotional. It is, needless to say, something both frowned upon and misunderstood by the society of America’s 1950s – something ably embodied by the superb Chandler as Carol’s cuckolded husband, a man torn between trying to understand but compelled to lash out.

Haynes not only creates a superb sense of place here, but of time and social mores. A look says more than a dozen lines as this world is ever so quietly undone by both scandal and the denial of it. And one of the great strengths of the film is how it choses to play Mara as the central character. Undoubtedly, the awards campaign will go the other way and push Blanchett for lead and Mara for supporting. But it is to Blanchett’s eternal credit how much she is there to support her younger co-star, who outdoes everything we have seen from her so far, and dominates this film.

With a fantastic score form Carter Burwell, beautifully shot by Edward Lachman, Carol is as good to look at land isten to as it is emotionally powerful.

And having what is easily one of the best endings of the year doesn’t hurt either.

 

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