Stephen’s review published on Letterboxd:
A woman a few rows behind me said that this was moving so slowly. Maybe that was intentional...just maybe? Carol is an engrossing story about self discovery, desire, the harsh realities of society. It is a beautifully crafted film with costumes, sets, and cinematography that reproduces a period in tremendous detail. (Even the credits on this one made things interesting.) But those things aside, the performances from Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett are phenomenal.
If people did not think so before then this should prove that Blanchett is capable of just about anything. As Carol she effortlessly plays a 50s housewife dealing with two lives that completely complicate one another. The put-together facade masks an instability that is sometimes calmed by the equally great Rooney Mara. Mara plays the young object of desire for Blanchett's Carol, Therese. Her slow awakening and deep fall come across as entirely authentic. But there's always the other shoe to drop, the other side of the coin, and Sarah Paulson delivers that in spades. Alongside the love story is the equally important and dramatic dissolving marriage between Carol and her husband, a perfectly smug Kyle Chandler. All the threads here are woven together nicely. The main stories succeed. It's the side ones that tend to lose steam. And the ending...well, it seems overly optimistic to me.
Minor script issues aside, the happy ending that seems out of place given the period, Carol is one of the best films this year and certainly worth sitting through. The woman behind me made it all the way through. I guess she understood the pacing choices by the end?