Carol is gorgeous, gently groundbreaking, and might be the saddest thing you’ll ever see. More than hugely accomplished cinema, it’s an exquisite work of American art, rippling with a very specific mid-century melancholy, understanding love as the riskiest but most necessary gamble in anyone’s experience.
It’s hard to imagine a director handling this project more surely than Todd Haynes, a supreme chronicler of feminine emotional pain - from Safe through Far From Heaven and Mildred Pierce - who reasserts his status here as one of the greats.
Everything in this long-gestating adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novel feels weighted to perfection. The film’s a smorgasbord of edible Fifties design which finds meaning in the smallest details.