Carol review – Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara are dynamite

#AceMediaNews – Nov.29: Todd Haynes’s flawless adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel is a ravishing tour de force

This superb adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novel The Price of Salt doesn’t put a foot wrong. From Phyllis Nagy’s alluringly uncluttered script to Cate Blanchett’s sturdily tremulous performance as a society woman with everything to lose, this brilliantly captures the thrills, tears and fears of forbidden love. As the young shutterbug finding her true identity amid an atmosphere of perversely festive paranoia, Rooney Mara brings a touch of both frost and warmth to the screen, while Ed Lachman’s richly textured Super 16mm photography digs deep into the mid-century milieu.

But it is director Todd Haynes, oozing the confidence that defined 2002’s Far From Heaven, who is the real magician here, combining the subversive clout of his 1991 Jean Genet-inspired Poison with the flawlessly empathetic character study of 1995’s Safe and the swooning period detail of 1998’s Velvet Goldmine. In many respects, Carol is the culmination of Haynes’s career, one that dates back to the still-suppressed late-1980s examination of anorexia, Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story, and now comes full circle with this very different tale of a woman out of time.

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