Part of The 100 Greatest Movies I’ve Ever Seen list.
dir. Todd Haynes (2015) scr. Phyllis Nagy cin. Edward Lachmann with Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Kyle Chandler, and Sarah Paulson
In 100 words: Everything about Carol gleams with perfection: the costumes, the set design, Lachmann’s immaculate photography, Haynes’ colors and framing, and the dreamy score ache with passion fit for a movie all about two characters, divided by age, class, and circumstance, falling unexpectedly in love. But what captivates me is the film’s focus on each character’s body language and the way they communicate love and desire without the use of words, certainly the definition of “show, not tell.” Not to mention it offers a striking discourse on sexuality, sexism, and 50s American culture that few films have ever as successfully explored. Swoon.
Other Movies for Context: Haynes is such an amazing director, who is influenced by the likes of Douglas Sirk and Rainer Fassbinder. Certainly, his film Far From Heaven (2002) is most similar to this movie, in tone, subject matter, and look (courtesy of the same cinematographer). Brief Encounter (1946), David Lean’s romance (which shows up later on this list) has a similar structure that provides the same emotional dividends that this movie gives.