The beautifully written, directed, and acted 'Carol' (****) evokes all of the tenderness and wrenching emotions that any great love story always has. It is a tale of forbidden love and just may be one of the great love stories of all time.
It is a tale of forbidden love and is so beautifully acted, directed and scripted that Carol (****) is quite likely to go down as one of the great film love stories of all time. It is the story of two women who have fallen in love in 1950s America. Back then, homosexuality was actually a crime, never mind taboo or frowned upon. The movie is based on the 1952 novel, The Price of Salt, by Patricia Highsmith. The book caused such an uproar and was so controversial when it was released that Highsmith had to publish under a fake name and couldn’t even publicly admit she wrote the book until 40 years later.
The movie stars the legendary two time Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett and the highly talented Rooney Mara. The two play off one another to give simply exquisite performances, Oscar worthy, even, reports The Los Angeles Times. Mara and Blanchett sweep you in and hold you in. All of the connection and the feeling and the raw emotion of a great love story is there and is beautifully brought to life by these two excellent actresses.
The screenplay was written by veteran Phyllis Nagy who knows her way around a thriller, having written Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley. There is a dreamlike quality to this melodrama of a film that inspires and wrenches emotion from the deepest parts of the soul.
The film is appropriately rated R, and is just two minutes shy of two hours long. No teenagers with money to burn here. This is for a mature audience that appreciates great filmmaking, great action, and, above all, a great love story. The two women come together from two starkly different romantic points of view and experience. Nevertheless, they find each other and the ramifications of embarking on a serious and loving relationship is far more than taboo yet remains highly exciting and soul soaring for the both of them.
The story opens during the holiday season in New York City in 1952 where Mara works as a sales girl at a department store. Mara has a current boyfriend and a serious one at that. He has bought steamship tickets for France and wants to marry her. Mara, however is not that sure about it all and harbors a dream of becoming a serious photographer.
In strolls Blanchett like she just walked off the pages of the glossiest of women’s fashion magazines. She is beauty and sophistication personified, there to buy a Christmas present for her 4-year-old daughter. The two raise their heads at the same time and their eyes meet. From there, nothing will remain the same for either of them. Blanchett forgets her gloves at the store, Mara mails them to her, and Blanchett asks her to lunch.
Blanchett decides to take a break from her soon-to-be divorced husband and take a driving trip out West. She asks Mara to come along. Blanchett has had a lesbian affair or two in the past but nothing has sent sheer lightning through her like the presence of Mara.
The chemistry between the two stars is flawless and seamless. The story has a fairy tale quality and is perfect even while happening in an imperfect world at an imperfect time.
**** A great movie. A must see.
*** Very good. Well worth your precious time and your hard earned money.
** OK but could have been better. See it if you’re in the mood for a movie.
* Don’t bother. Not worth your precious time or your hard-earned money. Go outside and play instead.