Director: Todd Haynes
Starring: Rooney Mara, Cate Blanchett
It isn't until Carol's final, breathtaking scene that you can appreciate just how masterfully director Todd Haynes has controlled the film's tone. For most of its 118 minute running time, it's a tightly contained piece that holds a lot back, but in that final moment the dam finally breaks and it becomes clear that the degree of restraint Haynes has demonstrated in unfolding the story up to that point has been very much a deliberate choice. In terms of the story, it's also a wholly appropriate one, given that the narrative turns on something which must remain hidden due to circumstance, but which ultimately can't be denied. While Carol might seem at first to be too cold and closed off to connect with, it tells such an inherently simple and human story, and is so profoundly moving, that in the end connection becomes easy.