Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Film Review: "Carol" (2015).




"Some people change your life forever", this tagline is certainly true for Carol. This romantic drama film directed by Todd Haynes; adapted by Phyllis Nagy; based on the groundbreaking romance novel by Patricia Highsmith. The film follows two women from very different backgrounds who find themselves in an unexpected love affair in 1950s New York. A young woman in her 20s, Therese Belivet, is a clerk working in a Manhattan department store and dreaming of a more fulfilling life when she meets Carol, an alluring woman trapped in a loveless, convenient marriage. As an immediate connection sparks between them, the innocence of their first encounter dims and their connection deepens.

Originally published in 1952 under the alias "Claire Morgan"The Price of Salt sold more than a million copies. Highsmith denied rumors that she was the author for 38 years, until she agreed to the publication of a new, retitled edition and wrote the afterword in 1990. The plot is loosely based on an encounter Highsmith had with a blonde woman in a fur coat named Kathleen Senn, while working at Bloomingdale's in New York City in 1948 as a temporary sales clerk. She recalled completing the outline in two hours the night she met Senn, likely under the influence of chicken pox which she discovered she had the next day, saying "fever is stimulating the imagination". Carol was also based on the romance between Highsmith and her former lover, Virginia Kent Catherwood, a Philadelphia socialite who had lost custody of her child in a high-profile divorce involving secret tape recordings of her lesbian nature used in court. The novel was completed by 1951. The film was in development for over 11 years. With screenwriter Nagy written a draft as early as 1996. Production finally begin in May 2012, with Todd Haynes directing (ultimately replacing original director John Crowley), with Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara (replacing Mia Wasikowska) set to star as Carol and Therese, respectively. Principal photography began in March 2014, in Cincinnati, Ohio for 34 days. The film was shot on Super 16 mm, in order to resemble the look and feel of film from the late 1940s/early 1950s.

The film stars Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson and Kyle Chandler. The cast give fine performances, especially the two leading ladies - Blanchett and Mara. Both actresses both conveyed conviction when their romance ensues. Together they had great chemistry and made it look easy.

Raw, honest, powerfully acted, and dramatically intense, Carol offers some of modern cinema's most elegantly composed, emotionally absorbing drama. It's held together by phenomenal turns from Blanchett and Mara, which are clearly Oscar-worthy performances. The film is a great love story that made all of us feel privileged to be a fly on the wall, to see this story of deep love and deep heartbreak evolve from the beginning. Haynes did not put any constraints on the narrative and we were absolutely spellbound by the amazing performances of the two actresses, and especially the way he observed his characters and just let the characters breathe.

Simon says Carol receives:


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