Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - NEWS -

Di­rec­tor : Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven) Star­ring : Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Kyle Chandler, Sarah Paulson, Jake Lacy. Ver­dict: Two women. One look. No plan.

FIRST comes the fall­ing in love. Then comes the fall­out.

So it goes in Carol, an exquisitely com­posed and deeply felt ro­man­tic drama that will speak to any­one who has ever lost their heart, or lost their way liv­ing in fear of the con­se­quences.

It is Christ­mas time in New York in the 1950s. Carol (Cate Blanchett), a wife and mother in her late 30s, is shop­ping for a present for her young daugh­ter.

While comb­ing the shelves of the toy sec­tion in a busy depart­ment store, Carol locks eyes with a young woman work­ing the sales counter.

Her name is Therese (Rooney Mara), an as­pir­ing pho­tog­ra­pher in her early 20s. Struck by the in­ten­sity of Carol’s burn­ing, yearn­ing gaze, Therese is like a deer in the headlights.

The at­trac­tion is mu­tual, im­me­di­ate and knocks both women for a loop. While hints are dropped Carol might have been down this road be­fore, this is daunting new ter­ri­tory for Therese.

Be­fore ei­ther party can give in to the magnetic feel­ings fated to draw them to­gether, each must find a way

to free them­selves from the force field of the men in their lives.

Carol’s mar­riage to an emo­tion­ally re­mote hus­band (Kyle Chandler), has been on the brink of col­lapse for some time.

Therese has a boyfriend (Jake Lacy), who has been on the brink of propos­ing mar­riage for some time.

In a not-so-in­no­cent at­tempt to run away from their prob­lems – though they kid them­selves oth­er­wise – Carol and Therese im­petu­ously em­bark on a road trip with no par­tic­u­lar desti­na­tion in mind.

The mere fact a re­la­tion­ship will take hold (and then, take over) the lives of two women may seem rather ho-hum by 2016 stan­dards.

How­ever, writer-di­rec­tor Todd Haynes (work­ing from the sem­i­nal novel The Price of Salt, penned by best­selling au­thor Pa­tri­cia High­smith un­der a pseu­do­nym more than 60 years ago) keeps his film an­chored by the heavy moral sup­pres­sion that un­der­pinned Amer­i­can life in the 1950s.

In the wrong hands, the chang­ing plights and shift­ing con­vic­tions of the two pro­tag­o­nists could have been deemed the stuff of high-end soap op­eras.

Thank­fully, there’s no chance of that hap­pen­ing here with the achingly pre­cise (and un­ex­pect­edly poignant) per­for­mances of Blanchett and Mara never once miss­ing the mark.

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