Therese is a salesperson working in the toy department of a store when she encounters Carol. Carol is a mother of a young girl who is going through a divorce from her persistent husband. Both women were at crossroads in their lives when they intertwine and end up falling in love.
There are two sides to this film. Because it was based on a book by Patricia Highsmith, the liberties taken with the setting of the film are on a fictional sense. Society notions are not paid attention to, allowing the film to focus more on the attraction between the two women and letting it feel less like a period piece. The narrative was fluid, focusing equally on the plight of the characters. In a way both of them were in transition to something new; both Therese and Carol find fulfillment in each other.
Because the narrative did not lean heavily on one character, both actresses were given chances to really flesh out their characters. Rooney Mara was a perfect fit for Therese; she looked the part. She had a naïve expression working for her, the uncertainty and the determination and enjoyment that her character has throughout the film. Cate Blanchett also deserves the praise. Blanchett hasn’t always been playing a typecast role and I like that she’s branching out. Her performance was classy and yet evokes emotion.
Awards buzz had people clamoring that Rooney Mara falls under category fraud (she is campaigning for supporting), which now, after watching the film, I agree with the fraud. Carol is as much Therese’s story as it was Carol’s. Both women were finding their truest self, and the film showed all of that without compromising the story of the other. The supporting cast was also enjoyable, though Jake Lacy and Kyle Chandler tends to fade into background. Sarah Paulson was also great here as the supporting friend.
The film doesn’t seem to be very dramatic, but it has a factor in it that just draws me to it. The flow of the narrative was just my speed as it doesn’t seem to lack details and really focused on the development of the characters. The performances of Mara and Blanchett complimented each other. I found that their story was more than just finding love, or being in love. Their characters both symbolized a different kind of person looking for happiness, and both actresses managed to get their message across.
Cast: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson
Director: Todd Haynes