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Carol
BLU-RAY disk
03.22.2016 By: Chris Bumbray
Carol order download
Director:
Todd Haynes

Actors:
Cate Blanchett
Rooney Mara

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
In 1950ís-era New York, a shop girl (Rooney Mara) falls in-love with a beautiful, older married woman (Cate Blanchett). Starting out as friends, the two eventually embark on a clandestine affair, but the attitudes of the era threaten to tear them apart.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Todd Haynesís CAROL, for me, led to one of the real head-scratchers of this yearís awards season. Cate Blanchett wound up being nominated for a best actress Academy Award for her part, while Rooney Mara got a supporting actress nod, although anyone whoís seen the film could tell you the nominations should have been reversed. Chalk this up to the way the campaign was done, but in the end I think it wound-up cost Mara an Oscar, with her role too prominent for a supporting award. Perhaps the company thought Blanchett would be a best actress shoe-in, but in the end her performance pales next to Maraís.

A wonderful, but often far-from-subtle actress, Blanchett plays her part broadly, like someone like Joan Crawford or Bette Davis would have if the movie had been made in the period it depicts (fat chance). By contrast, Mara is naturalistic and subtle, looking a bit like a more girl-next-door version of Audrey Hepburn. She really does give one of the best performances of the year, and CAROLís doomed love-story is made especially poignant by her warm, open-hearted portrayal.

Technically, CAROL is among one of the most sophisticated movies of the year, with Todd Haynes having opted to eschew digital and shoot this on 16MM film, giving this a grainy, evocative look thatís well represented on Blu-ray. Having seen this on a criticís group DVD screener, I never got the fuss over the movieís look until seeing it in High-Def, and it really is a strikingly shot film with some really beautiful, picturesque moments.

CAROL is also quite different from Haynesís earlier FAR FROM HEAVEN, which used a period, Douglas Sirk-style that made it feel retro. By contrast, despite taking place in the same era CAROL feels like a gritty, modern film, with a steady, slow pace that takes itís time in making the love story convincing. It really is a wonderful film.
THE EXTRAS
Behind-the-scenes gallery: A selection of brief (5 minutes or so) interviews with all the key personnel, from Blanchett and Mara, to writer Phyllis Nagy, composer Carter Burwell and Haynes himself.

Q&A: A half-hourís worth of highlights from the various Q&A sessions held for the movie during its fall film festival run, with most of the principals present for each.

As usual, the film comes bundled with a digital copy but no DVD this time.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
While CAROL got swept away during awards season, now that itís on disc this is a good opportunity to catch-up with one of the yearís better films. The gorgeous transfer (any grain is intentional) makes this disc worthy of a purchase by any serious indie film lover, and itís certainly one Iím happy to have in my collection.
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3:02PM on 03/22/2016
I thought Cate and Rooney were equally leads.
I thought Cate and Rooney were equally leads.
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