US film Carol wraps homosexual love in elegant style

Cate Blanchett in Carol by Todd Haynes, in competition for the Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festivals 2015.
Cate Blanchett in Carol by Todd Haynes, in competition for the Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festivals 2015. UGC Distribution

A world premiere this weekend at the Cannes Film Festival for the new movie by Todd Haynes, Carol. It’s a love story between two women based on a Patricia Highsmith novel .


A much-awaited film here in Cannes, American Todd Haynes’ Carol is an elegant and aesthetic treat thanks in big part to the costumes by one of Hollywood’s greatest -Sandy Powell.

Click here for our coverage of Cannes Film Festival 2015

Of course, the main actors, including Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara and Kyle Chandler, are all attractive.

Carol Aird is a high-society dame and Therese is from an immigrant family and works in a shop before becoming a photojournalist.

They meet when Carol is looking for a Christmas present for her small daughter, Rindy.

The film reflects the constrained and conservative social context of the 1950s in America where the story is set.

Cate Blanchett, speaking to reporters at the festival, said that the film showed how attitudes to homosexuality have changed, although still not enough.

“I think the interesting thing about playing a character like Carol is her sexuality is her private affair," she said. "Today if you are homosexual you have to talk about it constantly and put it before other aspects of your personality.”

Phyllis Nagy, who wrote the scenario, commented that “everyone has realised this beautifully – Todd, Cate, Rooney, the producers - we politicise the material just by living our lives honestly.

"When you live your life, your identity is front and centre but it’s often something we’re not treated to seeing in films or in art. It’s a a huge political statement.”

Carol is a gentle film, about gentle folk, perhaps a cliché of femininity with a capital F. It broaches in straightforward fashion, gender equality and homosexuality.

Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novel The Price of Salt is served up in condensed form, largely through the eyes of the young shop assistant, so the issues, including the coming-of-age of Carol’s lover, are unmissable.

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