Alex’s review published on Letterboxd:
Disagreeing with the Academy is definitely not an uncommon occurrence for me, nor I imagine, for most users on this site. But this year I'm feeling particularly distant from their choices. On one hand you have Mad Max, The Martian and Spotlight getting plenty of attention, three movies I loved and deem worthy of it. But then you have MacBeth, Steve Jobs, Sicario and Star Wars being all but ignored. Now I can add Carol to that list. I realise it received 5 or so nominations but if this isn't one of the 8 best films of 2015 then I don't know what's going on.
But it's not only the lack of nominations that irks me. How on Earth is Rooney Mara supporting here? This is Casey Affleck-level category fraud. In every way except having her name in the title is she the lead in this film. And she is amazing in it. I understand they like to fit in great performances any way they can but again, this is quite clearly a top 5 of the year job.
Carol is what film-making is all about. Take an (already famous and well-regarded) interesting story and bring in the best people you can for every job on the film. The acting is amazing, specifically from Mara and Blanchett, but there isn't a false line delivered across the board. The music is absolutely beautiful and so in tune with every beat of the story. And Edward Lachman, a cinematographer I can't say I've seen too much from, delivers some of the years best photography.
The pacing of Carol is languid, I'm sure even the most ardent fan is going to struggle to deny that. But with compositions like this- every frame so intriguing and meaningful- it is anything but dull. Even with zero interest in the art of film-making, Carol is more than a worthy watch simply because it is a great story delivered to you by actors and a director who know exactly what they are doing with it.
Highlight- The perfectly done final moments
Lowlight- A minor gripe is Carol not being particularly likeable, but I understand that is more down to being faithful to the book.
Best in Show- Hard for me to split Rooney Mara and Edward Lachman here.