One of the most well received films of last year, it was certainly a treat to finally watch “Carol” today. When it played in the cinema, I decided to leave it because the idea of going to see it didn’t really appeal to me that much, preferring to rent it when it came out on DVD.

OK, I HAVE to start with the performances. Because they’re all excellent. Let’s talk about Rooney Mara first though because she was truly amazing; portraying the character of Therese with genuine sweetness, warmth and integrity, she confidently carries the film and is an absolute joy to watch. And of course, Cate Blanchett is also wonderful, playing the eponymous Carol with style and strength, being both aloof and sympathetic. The chemistry between the two actresses is the best part of the film and the scenes where they are together are wonderful and engaging. Finally on the subject of performances, the whole ensemble is excellent; I know that I’ve said this in relation to other films, but here it’s genuinely true. Kyle Chandler, Sarah Paulson et al provide very strong support and contribute greatly to the film.

This is also a good time to say that it was a bit of a travesty that Rooney Mara got nominated in the “supporting” category of the Oscars, when she was clearly one of the leads.

In addition to the performances, there is also great music in the film, courtesy of the amazing Carter Burwell, and also a great soundtrack, featuring songs from Billie Holliday and others. “Carol” is also confidently directed, the production design is outstanding and the story is great. On a related note, it is refreshing to see that even though the film centres on the relationship between two women, it is never smutty or exploitative and presents the relationship with genuine warmth and feeling.

In short, “Carol” boasts two sensational central performances as well as a superb ensemble; it is skilfully directed and visually laudable.

5 Stars

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