Carol ★★★★★

Having only seen this film once, I feel like this is an instant classic that warrants almost every word of praise heaped upon it. It would be easy to have someone pulled into the film just because it centers on a lesbian relationship, but the qualities of empathy, lived-in, development, and nuance make these characters of Therese and Carol more than the one-dimensional stereotypes they could've been. That director Todd Haynes (a gay man) probably has had similar life experiences to these characters adds a motive for the empathy--it's a shared paen for any LGBT person who has ever felt beguiled or eluded by love.

Of course, this film lives and dies upon two central performances from Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. While Cate's role is superb and warrants all the plaudits, it's Rooney Mara's introverted and conflicted turn as Therese which resonated with me. Here, we have a startlingly well-realized portrayal of the anxieties of a first relationship--compounded with a realization that the identity you thought you were isn't what you really are. It's subtle and understated, but it conveys all that it needs to, leaving the rest to tantalize in one's imagination.

This is a film which (much like "The Favourite") I will absolutely savor revisiting.

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