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Todd Haynes | 2015 | 118 MINS
A chance meeting in a department store has life-changing consequences for shopgirl Therese and glamorous divorcée Carol in Todd Haynes’s adaptation of Highsmith’s intoxicating love story.

In Detail

A masterpiece of elegant restraint, Todd Haynes’s version of Highsmith’s pseudonymously published second novel is not, unlike the rest of her work, concerned with crime, but transgression of a different kind.

This is the classic romantic trope of forbidden lesbian love, featuring outstanding performances from Cate Blanchett as the wealthy housewife of the title, playfully predatory with blond furs, deep voice and slanting eyes, and Rooney Mara’s Therese, a tender, enraptured shopgirl, gradually emboldened by love and suffering.

This swooning yet understated love story is a companion piece to Haynes' earlier Sirkian melodrama ‘Far from Heaven’, but it offers a more subdued colour palette, with cinematography by Ed Lachman, constructing a bustling 1950s New York, garnished by a swelling Carter Burwell score. As a story centred on women it is unusual in the Highsmith oeuvre and her writing has rarely been so well served on the big screen as it is here by Blanchett, Mara and Haynes.

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