Beautifully photographed and meticulously acted, "Carol" is a highly romantic melodrama starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. It is also exceedingly slow and rather dull as it charts the course of a forbidden love in the 1950's.
Ms. Blanchett plays Carol, a married woman drawn to Ms. Rooney's Therese, a young department store clerk with a talent for photography. They begin a courtship that leads to love and a tedious road trip to escape New York and Carol's lovelorn husband, played by Kyle Chandler. Directed by Todd Haynes and based on a short story by Patricia Highsmith, the film bookends nicely with Mr. Haynes other '50's melodrama, "Far From Heaven" (a far better film, however).
The pacing and style deliberately overshadow a weak plot that never reveals much about these unlikable women and what motivates them in the first place. Sarah Paulson fills in some of the blanks as a friend and ex-lover of Carol but it's not enough to provide sympathy or even empathy for these characters.
The film lures you in with it's lush recreation of the period and the highly stylized acting of it's leads but it ultimately leaves you as unfulfilled as it's characters.