Carol (Cate Blanchett) is the loving mother of her young daughter “Rindy” in New York during the 1950’s.
Carol is locked in a loveless marriage with her husband “Harge” (Kyle Chandler), the couple are together yet apart, the relationship foundering on Carol’s dalliance with a female friend.
When Carol by chance meets a young demure shop assistance “Therese” (Rooney Mara) whilst out purchasing goods at a department store, this sets off a chain of events.
Looking at the film from a different angle one might conclude that Carol is almost predatory in her approach, a much older woman preying on young pretty and vulnerable girl. Alternatively here is a older woman trapped in a relationship that offers her nothing apart from loving her daughter.
Arguably the saddest part is that her husband does care for her but given the conformity of the time, just wants his wife to be “normal, whatever that means. The same applies to Therese’s long suffering boyfriend, assuming his life is mapped out, not knowing the pitfalls ahead.
Both Blanchett and Mara are excellent as you might expect, arguably the film is more graphic than is ultimately required but both actors show real chemistry and the characters act in recognisable ways, not constrained to screenplay twists and turns.
The film dallies with your expectations towards the end, it may or may not be the conclusion you expect, depending on your level of optimism.
Based on the original novel “Salt” by Patricia Highsmith and directed by Todd Haynes a director that likes to make films that explore complex scenarios and emotions.
Whilst not mainstream entertainment, for anyone who enjoys high quality acting, great direction with an intelligent and considered screenplay, this is well worth seeking out