On the verge of bursting with irreducible little moments

Therese, a young woman who works at the toy section of a department store and an aspiring photographer, encounters elegant, mysterious Carol. Intrigued by each other, the two women develop a relationship that deepens further and further as time goes by, a kind of relationship that cannot be easily accepted in 1950s’ United States.

Text: Yeonwoo Baik

There is nothing very complicated in the plot—it follows quite the classic path of a love story. However, the details that fill this film are simply irreducible. Not even a single line, not even a single eye contact has been put in thoughtlessly. The film is full of little moments that cannot be verbally summarised but can only be savoured directly with heart. Delicate emotions embedded everywhere in the film sparkle dazzlingly all the time. Untold words are secretly delivered through the windows, through the glass, through the camera. The simple storyline works rather as a helper here, letting us relish the overwhelming power that all these details conjure up together. I have never seen a film that makes use of close-up shots more beautifully than Carol – the way they are used to portray all the exquisite sentiments is simply breathtaking. Indeed, the film is all about details and subtlety.

Then we have two great actresses who beautifully embody all those detailed and subtle emotions within themselves. Rooney Mara perfectly makes Therese’s innocent yet daring attitude her own. Cate Blanchett is more graceful and charismatic than ever. Together, they create the sense of what it is like to fall in love – nervous and timid, yet excited and daring. The acting could not be better.

Last but not least, how the film deals with homosexuality is also worth mentioning. The issue of sexuality is surely an indispensible element when talking about the narrative of this film, but at the same time no big fuss is made about the two protagonists being women. The subject is woven together into the film in a delicate manner yet without losing seriousness, which makes Carol an all the more notable queer film.