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DVD Review

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Starring: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson, Kyle Chandler and Jake Lacy
Distributor: StudioCanal
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 15
Release Date: 21 March 2016

Therese Belivet is an aspiring photographer who has to work in a department store to make ends meet. Here she meets Carol Aird who is shopping for a present for her daughter. Therese is very struck by Carol, so when she leaves one of her gloves behind, Therese seeks her out to return it, in so doing the two women start a relationship...

Carol (2015. 1 hr, 53 min, 44 sec) is a romance, directed by Todd Haynes. The film was an adaptation of the original novel The Price of Salt (also known as Carol) by Patricia Highsmith (Strangers on a Train (1950); The Talented Mr. Ripley (1955)) and was adapted for the screen by Phyllis Nagy. The film was nominated for six Oscars. Overall, it won a staggering fifty-eight awards and was nominated for a further two hundred and seven.

Cate Blanchett plays Carol Aird, a woman torn between the desire to hold onto her daughter and her desire to have a meaningful love life. Unfortunately, for Carol these two things may well exclude each other as Carol's ex-husband, Harge Aird (Kyle Chandler) is not above using her same sex relationships in both their divorce and the custody of their daughter.

Unaware of all of this strife Therese (Rooney Mara) pursues Carol, in the beginning with just the agenda to get to know this fascinating woman, however as time passes the two start to develop feelings for each other.

Nineteen-fifties America was not a great place for a lesbian relationship. On the one hand 1952 saw the publication of The Price of Salt the book which the film is based on, on the other hand in 1953 law was passed banning any gay or lesbian person serving in the government in any capacity. It was however the decade when lesbian rights were starting to be championed, but as the events of the film show this was a very uphill battle.

One of the good aspects of the film is not just the great performances by Mara and Blanchett, but also the way that the film deals with how the relationship affects those around them. Carol's husband reacts with wounded pride. He states that he wants Carol back, but only seems to want her back on his own terms, regardless how unhappy this would make her. Therese has a little more luck with the men in her life, or maybe it would be fairer to say she has less connection to them and so less to loose.

Their romance is handed with delicacy, by the director, and the two main actors give convincing performances and offer up a vision of tender sensuality. The film looks exquisite, Haynes being very at home when it comes to period pieces.

The audio options come as either a 2.0 or a 5.1 Dolby track with optional English subtitles and an Audio Description track. The extras include a Behind the Scenes Feature, which consists of eight smaller pieces with the most prominent people in front of and behind the camera. There is a Q & A highlights session with cast and crew (28 min, 13 sec) which gives the impression that this is a truncated piece.


Charles Packer

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