sleepy’s review published on Letterboxd:
I feel like a bit of an idiot for passing over on this film for so long, especially after I made an effort to watch all the 2015 best picture nominees. Carol is an absolute delight in pretty much every way possible.
There's so much going on that I can praise here. Though I was particularly blown away by just how much attention to detail is achieved due to a marvellous combination of incredible acting and subtle, yet comprehensive direction.
Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara are both excellent in the lead roles, easily career highlights for them both. Todd Haynes directs with restraint when it comes to elements of plot that could easily be over-dramatised, but instead keeps things steady and engaging. Focus is kept tight on the relationship between the two lead characters and by extension their lives. It feels down to earth and vastly refreshing compared to a more typical romance film.
We're allowed to sink into the '50s time period due to great production design. Muted colours are utilised in conjunction with recurring visual motifs of frames (doors, windows etc.) to tie into the plot's thematic content and helps with understanding the characters feelings. It's pulled off effortlessly and only makes the film more interesting and enjoyable.
For me at least, this is as near to perfect as you can nail a more traditional style romantic film. Todd Haynes' direction is marvellous, the performances are all spectacular and the film overall feels resonant and exciting in how deceptively simple it appears to be. One of my very favourites of recent years for sure.