Film Review: Carol
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★★★★★ Carol was one of 2015's best films, and should definetely have been nominated for Best Picture at this year's Academy Awards. It is a bit hard to explain the film’s appeal. The plot, after all, does not seem particularly fascinating: it is set in 1950s New York, and deals with a young saleswoman (Therese, portrayed by Rooney Mara) falling in love with an older and married woman (Carol, played by a captivating Cate Blanchett). No more and no less. However, it is also the simplicity of the story that makes everything in it so notable. With no overcomplicated storyline or explosive plot twist, the viewer is totally immersed in the other cinematic aspects of the film. Todd Haynes’s direction is definitely a standout. A particular scene comes to mind: Therese and Carol are on a road trip together, and we feel part of it thanks to the way it is directed. The way Blanchett is filmed, giving us close-ups of some of her features such as her hands, and heightening our sense of her mannerisms, like her soothing voice, makes us feel as if we have entered Therese’s point of view: we understand her infatuation with this enigmatic, slightly older woman. This scene, and really the film overall, makes evocative use of lighting. Since it takes place around Christmas, the film is full of snowy scenes and bright lights, contrasting with the warm interiors of the many hotels Carol and Therese stay in during their road trip.
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