Two wonderful performances in an amazing love story
The Good
  • Great acting performances by Blanchett and Rooney
  • Beautiful story which needs to be seen
  • Amazing custome and production design
The Bad
  • Ooops, there is nothing here
4.3Overall Score

As the marathon continues, it was now time for my absolute favorite genre: female love stories. Admittedly, Carol is one of those movies which I would have probably not planned to watch if it wasn’t nominated for so many (6) Academy Awards and/or had received a 90+% rating on Rottentomatoes. After my plan to watch this all by myself (luckily) fell apart, I went into this movie with my wife yesterday night with no huge expectations. And – despite this genre really not being my cup of tea – I have to say that I really enjoyed watching this film.

First and foremost, the core of a romance is the chemistry between its main characters and I think this was some of the best chemistries on screen I have seen in a long time – it even blew Brokeback Mountain away. The plot of this film is also about the “sanctioned” love story between two women in a different day and age.

An aspiring photographer develops an intimate relationship with an older woman. (

The pacing and the evolution of the love story is captured in a really beautiful way – it is very clear who is the “hunter” in this setting. But what in fact was so enjoyable was the development, the tension, the innocence and the truism of their love for each other as it build up throughout the film. The character development of both of them is pretty “black and white” – Rooney Mara is young, inexperienced and doesn’t really know what she wants from life just yet – except being a photographer. In a time (the early 1950s) when the path of a young uneducated woman was marriage or marriage, the film does a great job of showing how the character of Therese struggles with this very path but also refuses to just do what is the right thing but follows her passion. She does have the talent to potentially create a career for herself (which SPOILER ALERT she eventually does) but does she really have the courage to follow her curiosity of falling for another woman in this day and age? All this uncertainty is greatly played out by Rooney Mara who I thought did an awesome job as Therese.

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

On the other side, we have the masterful Cate Blanchett who carries the role of Carol with such elegance and dignity – she kind of played out her Blue Jasmine role just with less arrogance and less cray-cray. But all along the movie, I admittedly thought: “Wow, these 2 women just look awesome!” The burden of being more interested in women rather than men while having a child – who should not be confronted with such “inappropriate behavior” is mostly put on Carol. And Cate Blanchett brings her A-game to this film in showing how torn she is. As society disapproved of same-sex relationships, it was either pursing her love for Therese and facing the consequences which could be losing custody or even access altogether to her daughter or letting go of the relationship. And especially, the consequences of that very decision are played out in a great way by both Mara and Blanchett. As the film moves along, you start caring deeply for their love to be fulfilled

Aside from the two really awesome acting performances, I truly enjoyed how the film takes us back into the New York of the 1950s (which deserves a nomination as well) – not only the customs and production design but also how people lived their lives e.g. taking a note into their paper calendar or sharing a phone in the hallway of an apartment building in the city.

Looking back at the film, it does go without saying how important of a film this is; on the one hand, it is a “normal” love story but the fact that it portrays the love story between two women and doesn’t “make a big deal” out of it shows that cinema has come a long way. It does however – without being too much in your face about it – warn us that there were other times when loving another person of the same sex was considered an act which would require you to see a psychotherapist because clearly you must be sick and thus can’t care for your child….oh hold on, this is still the case in some parts of the “modern” western society.

All in all, I truly enjoyed this film with all its ingredients: love, drama, 1950s and New York City. Go and watch this film while it’s out because it’s a beautiful and touching love story played out by two awesome actresses.

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