Sandy Kenyon movie review: 'Carol'

One of the joys of this job is the chance to throw a spotlight on a movie you might miss and explain why it's worth seeing.

"Carol" has already earned an award for one of its stars, Rooney Mara, at the Cannes Film Festival and there is plenty of Oscar buzz.

The trip back in time may be leisurely, but it's worth taking.

New York in the 1950s is seen through the eyes of a young woman. She is a "shop girl," who allows herself to be seduced by a wealthy, older woman.

The slow way Mara's character, Therese, gets involved with the socialite played by Cate Blanchett is told in a series of tender scenes.

The drama is provided by Carol's estranged husband who - to put it mildly - does not approve of her being a lesbian.

He even goes so far as to harass one of his wife's former lovers. Shunned by Carol, Kyle Chandler's character decides to use her to try and get full custody of the couple's daughter.

"If he can't have me, I can't see my daughter!" says Carol.

To get away from the drama, the two women hit the road and grow closer before reality inevitably intrudes.

A plot description is never going to do justice to this movie. Its many rewards are to be found in the power of the acting and so much is told in silence, in a few glances that only the best film stars can pull-off.

This film is a beautiful elegy, a look back with a touch of sadness, filled with what the French call "tristesse."

The mood is what I found captivating, but "Carol" is also a gentle reminder of the time before gay rights, when to be gay meant one must break the law.
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