Upcoming movie Carol isn’t just one of the most highly anticipated lesbian-featuring films of the year (along with Freeheld and Grandma), it’s one of the most highly anticipated films of 2015, standard.
The film, which is based on the Patricia Highsmith novel The Price of Salt, is set in 1952 and stars Cate Blanchett as a married, 46-year old socialite who falls for Rooney Mara’s character, who is a 30-year old shop clerk.
The film breaks ground for a few reasons, as not only is it part of a rare group of films to portray May/December romances (romances between a younger person and an older person) but Carol also covers the class gap between the two women as well.
Blanchett and Mara have been praised for their performances in the film and those who have been lucky enough to see it at film festivals have said that both women are strong Oscar contenders.
So, with a few weeks to go until the film is released at the box office, we’ve put together a Carol review round-up, featuring the excerpts from several different critics.
Alicia Adejobi – International Business Times:
Todd Haynes has crafted a visually stunning picture with Carol, a lesbian love story brought to life with remarkable performances by Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. Although for all its beauty, Carol concludes with a sense that it could have been rounded-off with a better developed story.
…Carol surprisingly has very little dialogue. Instead, Haynes develops the love story by playing on Mara and Blanchett’s natural chemistry which results in many scenes where not much happens but a stripped conversation about trivial matters. Still, where Carol does fall flat in fleshing out an otherwise one-dimensional premise, it makes up in the talents of the core cast, which includes terrific support from Sarah Paulson as Carol‘s long-time friend and confidante and Kyle Chandler as Harge.”
Score: 3 out of 5
Justin Chang – Variety:
…high expectations don’t quite prepare you for the startling impact of Carol, an exquisitely drawn, deeply felt love story that teases out every shadow and nuance of its characters’ inner lives with supreme intelligence, breathtaking poise and filmmaking craft of the most sophisticated yet accessible order.”
Jason Bailey – Flavorwire:
The performances are predictably astonishing; Mara has a way of conveying the fullness of her character in an offhand line reading, and the variations in Blanchett’s tight smile tell, in their own way, the film’s entire story.
The picture is gorgeous, which is no surprise from Mr. Haynes — lushly photographed by Lachman (yet in grain-pushing Super16, to keep the image from seeming too immaculate, its New York streets a noticeable contrast to Heaven’s squeaky-clean Sirkian suburbs), magnificently costumed by Sandy Powell, every car gleaming, every tchotchke in place. These rooms and stores seem to close in on our heroines; ultimately, they cannot contain them.”
Heather Hogan – Autostraddle:
I was so intoxicated by Carol I wanted to sit down in the middle of the sidewalk on the New York City street and close my eyes and relive every detail, over and over, until I could play it backwards and forwards on a loop in my own imagination for forever.
…To value the rarity of seeing a lesbian film stitched together with such accomplished precision it makes me wish the word “epic” hadn’t been completely diluted so I could bring the full weight of its meaning to bear on this love story. Extraordinary? Singular? Remarkable? Yes, all of those things too.
Perhaps the best praise I can give Carol is that ten minutes into it, I forgot it was my job to be a critic. Twenty minutes in, I forgot I was watching a movie at all.”
While these are just a handful of reviews, the majority of the opinions we read for this piece were incredibly positive. From being called ‘flawless’ and ‘phenomenal’ and ‘the best lesbian movie ever’, to Cate Blanchett being called ‘the world’s last true movie star’, everybody everywhere has something good to say about Carol.
The fact that the film has less dialogue than most won’t be for everyone, though, but for many people Carol’s gorgeous shots and the sometimes wordless acting, the expressions and the framing of the scene should be enough.
Carol will be available at the box office on November 20 (United States) and November 27 (United Kingdom).