The Oscars were in enough trouble last February for their lack of ethnic diversity (#OscarsSoWhite) without the blanket snub out of six nominations of Todd Haynes’s same-sex love story Carol, laying the Academy open to charges of LGBT prejudice. Now the dust has settled, we may simply enjoy this charged, exquisitely presented love story from the cusp of the Eisenhower era for its considerable merits. Adapted from Patricia Highsmith’s pseudonymous 1952 pulp novel, the film has Rooney Mara – a revelation – as the sheltered New York shop assistant taken under the wing of Cate Blanchett’s imperiously stylish, moneyed, married 30-something. Their affair, decorously depicted, is challenged when hubby Kyle Chandler hires a private eye and the incendiary situation explodes with torrid passion. With a delectably noirish score by Carter Burwell, it’s a smart, grown-up piece of old-fangled drama that, uniquely, doesn’t punish its protagonists for being different.
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