MiniReview: "Carol" (film)

The book upon which the film was based, with Patricia Highsmith writing under a pseudonym. I do love this lurid '50s artwork, which some publishers tended to use for pretty much any type of book back then. In this case, though, it's fair to say the book was indeed racy.

What is it?

A 2015 American-British film directed by Todd Haynes.


What’s it about?

A well-to-do suburban housewife and mother, Carol, has an affair with a much younger woman who works at a department store, in 1950s New York.


A very succinct description. Thank you. Do we have to pretend we haven’t heard about this film?

No. It’s one of the most acclaimed LGBTQ films of recent years. Of all time, really.


Okay, we’ve got that out of the way. So?

It’s an excellent film in every respect. It’s beautifully acted, intelligently written, gorgeously photographed, with a lovely score. The evocation of the 1950s is phenomenal.



It’s strange, because it is so precise in its portrayal of the 1950s that it feels sometimes as if it’s a film from the 1950s. It’s as though Todd Haynes decided to make a 1950s queer film, one we can retrospectively insert in the 1950s Hollywood film canon and pretend that it would have been okay back then. Apart from the queer subject matter, it is very Hollywood. It’s a heightened, glamorous, colourful, mannered “reality” that is presented here. This film is very much an exercise in style.



I’m giving this one star. It’s a wonderfully enjoyable, accessible, mainstream queer film. There’s nothing breathtakingly new here, I don’t think. It’s just a first-rate same-sex love story. And as such, highly recommended.

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