An aspiring photographer develops an intimate relationship with an older woman. —IMDB

Critics are raging about CAROL but, in my opinion, is over-hyped. The acting by Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara is ok but not the career best (for Blanchett) that many are describing. The story is very simple at its heart — a lesbian affair of an older woman with a younger woman. The film is based on the novel   originally published in 1952 under the title The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith (later published as Carol). The story may have been groundbreaking in the 1950s, but I’m not sure it has the same shock value now as it would have then.

The cinematography of CAROL is beautiful and the whole thing is almost obsessively perfect in the presentation of the era. The story is presented in very subtle and nuanced terms but doesn’t have the intensity or impact I was expecting — it’s all very cold and seems to push the viewer into the distance rather than drawing us into the events. Having said that, not knowing how the story is going to unfold evokes a sort of hypnotic fascination waiting for something to happen. The climactic moment, when it comes, is underwhelming. Yes, it’s beautiful; but CAROL seems more about atmosphere than substance.