Every so often, a film comes along that is so heart-stoppingly brilliant, everyone’s talking about it. Everyone urges you to see it, your friends rave about it and your colleagues can’t stop discussing it. Sometimes, a film is just so good that the response is unanimous; everyone agrees it’s Oscar worthy and waits with baited breath to see it pick up multiple awards.
We know it doesn’t happen very often; cinema is obviously a highly subjective medium, and can be as divisive as it is engaging. But, amongst the current haul of brilliant blockbusters- Spectre, The Hunger Games, The Martian etc – lies a film guaranteed to take your breath away.
Carol is directed by Todd Haynes (whose previous work includes the Oscar-nominated Far From Heaven) and tells the story of a young girl (Rooney Mara) who falls in love with a glamorous older woman, as played by Cate Blanchett. The script is based on the novel The Price Of Salt, written by Patricia Highsmith (she of The Talented Mr Ripley fame) and is set in New York City in 1952. Cue beautiful costumes, and with it our overwhelming desire to delve into every vintage shop we know.
It’s been in the works for a while now, and was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or prize at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. Rooney Mara even tied for the Best Actress Award during the festival. So what’s so good about it?
Well for starters, critics are hailing Cate Blanchett’s performance as the best of her career so far, while others are praising the film’s emotion, calling it ‘groundbreaking’. The original novel was published in 1952, although Highsmith chose to use a pseudonym due to the lesbian relationship between the two main characters (which was still illegal at the time of the book’s release), but it was celebrated as one of the most important works of gay fiction ever to be written up until that point, largely due to the ending (which we won’t give away, lest we spoil the film for you).
The film is a love story that’s as sad as it is beautiful, and as transfixing as it is smart. In short, you’re going to want to see this one, if only so you can join in with those inevitable office discussions. But we’re pretty sure Carol will leave you spellbound.