Carol ★★★★★

It's this film's sumptuous beauty I think that exerts even a more powerful influence than the acting by Kate Blanchett as Carol and Mara Rooney as Therese. This film is the definitive period piece of early 1950s America, especially in and around New York. Somehow Todd Haynes found the way to present the social status quo of the time and meld it into this visually mesmerizing production design without resorting to even a single stereotype. You could watch this film and read Friedan's "The Feminine Mystique" and achieve a pretty comprehensive understanding of conditions many women faced during this period in America. This is a near perfect dramatization of the expectations that awaited women who inhabited America's upper middle class. As the film opens it's the expressions on Blanchett's and Rooney's faces that convey significantly more than their spoken lines, but the lines themselves seem to gather importance as their relationship evolves. But Blanchett's face is a study in and of itself in expressiveness. Rooney's is pretty expressive also, though Blanchett's contains more mystery. In any event, "Carol" has to be one of 2015's best films.

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