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Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara excel in Todd Hayne's 'Carol'

Rating: ★★★★★

What would you do for love? And what would you do if that love was forbidden? What if that love seem deprived by others in your life? Would you conform, or would you do your best to keep that love in your life? These are the themes explored in Todd Haynes' ("Far From Heaven") new film "Carol."

Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara star as lesbian lovers during the 1950's. "Carol's" screenplay was penned by Phyllis Nagy, which was adapted from the novel by Patricia Highsmith and "Carol," has all the markings of a Todd Haynes film.

Carol (Cate Blanchett) is a wealthy and mature woman, getting a divorce and totally in love with her four year-old-daughter Rindy. But Carol has another problem. She is a lesbian, during a time when homosexuality is misunderstood and even villainous. Carol meets Therese (Rooney Mara) while on a shopping trip to buy her daughter a Christmas gift. There is a small spark between the two, and the they see each other after Therese returns a pair of gloves that Carol left at the store (which is obvious to be a test and not a mistake).

When Carol's estranged husband Harge (Kyle Chandler) catches on that Carol may have another lover, he goes on the offensive. And Carol worries that she may never see her daughter again.

"Carol" is a subtle gem of a film. And the subtle touches really aid the filmgoers to see what it was like for homosexuals in this provincial era. Blanchett and Mara excel at creating characters that are looking for love in a world that makes this almost impossible. Blanchett completely embodies the more mature and experience Carol and Mara is equally skilled at playing the more naive Therese.

Making the film completely convincing is Oscar-winning costume designer Sandy Powell ("The Aviator") and art direction by Jesse Rosenthal and set decorator Heather Loeffler. Giving "Carol" that perfect Todd Haynes feel is cinematographer Edward Lachman, who also worked with Hayne in "Far From Heaven."

"Carol" is a profound film. It completely brings you into Carol's world and this is the one factor that separates excellent films from good films. "Carol" may not be for everyone, but for those who like a film that doesn't hit you over the head and lets you discover the story as it moves along it couldn't be more perfect.

"Carol" is rated R for a scene of sexuality/nudity and brief language and has a run-time of 118 minutes.

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