Director: Todd Haynes
I am relishing the recent renaissance of film stock use in modern cinema. While digital certainly has its positives (easier, cheaper), there is something truly beautiful about the texture of film. Its use of chemicals and light to compose an image are like art, like the Roman frescoes, both long lasting and yet fragile.
The beauty of the image is what most struck me about Haynes' Carol, filmed on 16mm stock by Edward Lachman. The colours of the clothes, the furnishings, the make-up and even the skin tones of the characters are wonderfully rendered, highlighting the world we are in: 1950s America. There is also a chilliness to the texture, aiding the wintry setting of the story.
As many have noted, the performances of Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett are very good, their facial expressions and gestures doing most of the talking. Mara intense eyes are put to good use, as she spends much of the film observing Carol, her friends and also herself, as she tries to work exactly what she is feeling. Blanchett's Carol has more at stake, and though her character is more experienced than Therese, there is a underlying level of vulnerability throughout her performance.
While I was not as blown away by Carol as much as many critics were, it is a wonderful piece of cinema about a seemingly familiar story that doesn't hit the cliches you would expect. And few films are as aesthetically beautiful as this.