Some would say that you don’t choose who you fall in love with. While I would agree with that, if only we can get past the physical things we like. In 1952 Patricia Highsmith (Strangers on a Train) wrote “The Price of Salt” under the pseudonym Clair Morgan because of the content in the story. The content that made Highsmith write the book under a different name was a lesbian story line, that in the fifties was not good to have in your book. Some sixty three years later we get a movie version, under the title “Carol” and it’s fantastic.
Therese (Rooney Mara) is sleep walking through life. She works at a department store and has a boyfriend that she is really not in love with. Carol (Cate Blanchett) is in a loveless marriage and the only thing she lives for is her daughter. It is that daughter that brings Carol and Therese together, as Carol is looking for a gift for Christmas. Therese is taken by Carol, and after their transaction, Carol leaves her gloves and it is what Therese does next that starts their relationship. Slowly Therese and Carol start to feel something for each other. When Carol’s marriage starts to fall apart, she invites Therese to go on a road trip with her. Its on that trip that the two fall in love with each other, and just when Theresa thinks she has found someone who gets her, Carol’s commitments may change everything.
“Carol” is a love story that knows love sometime takes time to develop. Screenwriter Phyllis Nagy lets the story unfold in front of your eyes, not forgetting the little nuances along the way. While the film is moving, the performance by Blanchett and Mara are breathtaking to watch. Blanchett has forged herself as one of the best actress out there for the last twenty years, while Mara is blazing her own path. Add to that the direction by Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven), and “Carol” is a beautiful film to watch. Sixty years ago the author of this story had to use a pseudonym for the content. Today while the content might seem tame, it gives us a chance to look at what really is important, and that is the story itself.