Carol ★★★★½

I think it was Matt Lynch (the Carol to my Therese) who compared this favorably to In the Mood for Love. Carol certainly has that movie's knack for capturing the moments of longing and repressed desire that average love stories rush past in order to get to more traditional payoffs. There is very little lingering in Carol, however. The payoffs are fleeting moments often marked by physical separation: a glance across a department store, a glimpse through a rain streaked window, a secretly captured candid photo. There is no getting comfortable. Characters spend a lot of time in doorways, in cars, always just getting somewhere or about to leave. If they sit down it's an invitation to interruption. If they lay in bed together it's inviting disaster. People dance uncomfortably around the hot topic at the center of this movie, never giving it a name. A divide also exists, of course, in what characters say and how they feel, or so a character points out as he watching a movie through a projection booth window, another layer of separation.

Filmed in grainy 16mm with a somewhat muted color palette, one has the sensation of going through old love letters and faded photos, total immersion in the time period and the melodrama. This is a perfect wintry, melancholy movie with probably the two best performances of the year in it. Don't miss it.

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