A truly inspired film that is based on the novel “The Price of Salt” by Patricia Highsmith, “Carol” is story of tragic romance born in the 1950’s; a time where relationships between women was forbidden and the consequences of that love will change the lives of two very different women when their smoldering affair is brought to light.
When she and Carol first meet, Therese (Rooney Mara) is very much the innocent in the relationship. While she is an aspiring photographer who is open to the idea of love, she possesses a sweet, childlike naiveté which gives one the impression that Therese has never truly experienced sexual love until she encounters Carol. Although she and Carol are perfect opposites, there is an undeniable attraction that draws them together. Ironically, when their relationship is transformed from friendship into a smoldering love affair, it is Therese who becomes the stronger of the two women as she begins to understand her identity as a woman and Carol who becomes more fragile as her world slowly unravels into chaos.
Carol (Cate Blanchett) is one of those rare women who feels completely comfortable in her own skin. She doesn’t allow herself to be trapped by the expectations of those around her, and she is completely at peace with her own sexual identity. While there is no love lost between Carol and her husband, her daughter is the one person who Carol loves unconditionally. When Carol’s husband, Harge, threatens to shatter the bond between Carol and her daughter, this heartbreaking threat is the very catalyst which sparks Carol’s secret relationship with Therese. In the end, Carol makes the ultimate sacrifice in the name of love. Rather than allowing Therese to be lost in the darkness of her world, Carol sacrifices the one person who truly gave her peace and withdraws into the darkness of her former life to vanquish her demons alone.
Although I rarely watch this type of movie, and I have certainly never experienced the type of relationship that Carol and Therese share, I can honestly say that this movie surprised me. The story paints a sincerely heartfelt picture of the love shared between Carol and Therese while also conveying a believable undercurrent of the truth that existed in that time period; the truth that relationships between women were not tolerated. The casting in this movie is brilliant, particularly for Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. If you enjoy a tragic, romantic drama then you will enjoy this film.