mmcc’s review published on Letterboxd:
Bodies together, lives together, precariously, in a world formally structured against such entwining—only realisable as such on the move, outside organised society.
There's a delicacy here that is firm yet rapturous, how Haynes' camera lingers on a look, a touch, and what such gestures communicate is profound. The wider aesthetic of a flat, cool, squared world is also worthy of remark in how they accentuate the longing for freedom in a world that does not, cannot, will not do anything but insist on the bodies of the leads and so refuse respite.
I feel I need to watch this again to consider certain aspects of it, such as the conclusion, which by one comparisons sets Carol as a kind of American In the Mood For Love—emphasis on American, as it feels afraid of embracing the societal and circumstantial foreclosure at work (which the latter is not). Yet, the ending (and life after it) is not without ambiguity, a melancholy; but even this too feels overdetermined by our moment, a lesson more than anything else in exercising forms of pragmatic decency. Could it conclude differently?
All in all, there's something that felt too studied at the heart of Carol. There's a lot to love, and I did indeed love it, but perhaps it's also the case that there's something too easy at work here; and maybe in that easiness a narrowing of possible or emotionally satisfying outcomes the film cannot but play to (similar in many respects to The Martian in that particular regard).
I'm not sure as to all of my qualms, I'm simply sure that I need to revisit this in the future.