Queer melodrama so beautiful and perfect that it surpasses any of those labels. The toy store full of Madame Alexander dolls, all the fabulous outfits, decor, cars, and Cate Blanchett's knockout performance make this one really a great treat for an evening at the cinema. Very satisfying in every way.
A beautifully composed if somewhat arid melodrama and we've been here a few times before in its slightly revisionist 'queer' glance into a rear-view mirror of the recent past. Nevertheless it's crafted with a genuine care and delicacy, and is perhaps Haynes's most steady work to date.
It's nice to look at (the location scout deserves a medal) but it's a stilted, empty -and yes, kind of boring- experience. Drains the depth out of Highsmith's writing in the same way Minghella's Ripley did. If I were directing: Less attention on simulacrum and more on...I don't know...connecting images with emotions (it's a love story, right)? But I'm a rube so what do I know. I'll go quietly to Cinephile Jail now...
I was really looking forward to 'Carol'...but it turned out to be the glamorous period melodrama rendering of 'La Vie d'Adele' (not a good reference to me!) and the weak pair to 'Far from Heaven' in Haynes 50s homo-duology. Beautiful cinematography (less of an homage to Sirk this time). Exquisite decor and costumes. Very stale plot. Couldn't engage with Rooney Mara's dry, one-dimensional performance for one second.
A film as intimate and intelligent as a J.D. Salinger novella. Todd Haynes knows things about creating motion picture narratives which few will ever learn, he's done it before but perhaps this is his most deeply respectful characterization of human beings, exposing our ability to live in a most difficult world while refusing to forfeit our hard won tendernesses even in the face of
3,5 Carol or the women in the frame. The film explores the correlation between what an image of a character says and how the character himself really feels. The frame can be a prison: in Carol, the freedom can only be found between the images, in the space between a shot-reverse shot.
Todd Haynes is one of the few master craftsman directors still alive today. In this film Haynes not only exudes Sirk but Fassbinder as well in the master crafting of not only the set pieces and colors but of the emotions too. Mara and Blanchett are extraordinary in this film. This would also make a great double bill with Haynes other 50s period piece Far from Heaven.
3.5 is more like it. Or 3.35. Carol and its central performances richly deserve the praise they've received. But I rarely felt completely engaged with the material. The fault may well be my own, at least in part, but I continue to wish Haynes would muss up his immaculate mise-en-scène a little. Watching Carol after a pair of films by Cassavetes was like exchanging the world for a Fabergé facsimile. But beautiful.