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New York, 1952. In the Christmas season the shop girl Therese (Rooney Mara) makes the acquaintance of a glamorous housewife: Carol (Kate Blanchett). They embark on a relationship they both daren’t call love.


Therese (Rooney Mara), bright, pointy nosed, with a hint of Jean Seberg and a very big knitted hat over her bangs, works in the children’s section of a department store. She is halfheartedly engaged and very passionate about photography. Therese encounters a glamorous housewife from the suburbs a few days before Christmas. Carol (Cate Blanchett), all fur and lipstick, wants a Christmas gift for her daughter but doesn’t actually know what her child likes and settles on an entire model railroad. And she forgets her gloves. On purpose? By accident? No matter, Carol and Therese see each other again and when Carol’s marital disputes escalate, she takes off in Carol’s car to an unknown destination. Haynes focuses on the baggage that make the escape harder more than the escape itself. It begins with a shot through an iron fence which opens the film and ends with a close-up of Carol’s face which hints at a smile that doesn’t quite creep onto the surface. The colors and the awkward language are similarly subdued. Only a few fragmentary words and sentences are said that are weakened by the long stretches of too many things unspoken.
Therese actually knows exactly what she wants, but she doesn’t have the courage to admit it to herself. Carol, on the other hand, the cosmopolitan Carol, who knows how to move gracefully in a hotel lobby and looks perfectly at home behind the wheel, has the confidence but no objective. Like an amalgam of Don and Betty Draper she seems caught between aimless passions and domestic boredom. CAROL could have been called THERESE, the film is Rooney Mara’s film just as it is Cate Blanchett’s. Just like his 50’s pastiche FAR FROM HEAVEN, which placed Julianne Moore in an impossible marriage looking to escape with an impossible love, Haynes is on the side of those trapped in the past.

Hendrike Bake

Translation: Elinor Lewy


USA/Großbritannien 2015, 118 min
Genre: Drama
Director: Todd Haynes
Author: Phyllis Nagy
DOP: Edward Lachman
Montage: Alfonso Gonçalves
Music: Carter Burwell
Distributor: DCM Film Distribution
Cast: Cate Blanchett, Kyle Chandler, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson, Jake Lacy, Cory Michael Smith, Carrie Brownstein
FSK: 6
Release: 17.12.2015




  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles

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