One of the most anticipated films premiering at Cannes this week is Todd Haynes’ (I’m Not There) Carol. The film follows the eponymous Carol—played by Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)—a married woman in the 1950s who enters into a lesbian relationship with a local store clerk, played by Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). Kyle Chandler (TV’s Friday Night Lights), Sarah Paulson (12 Years a Slave), and Carrie Brownstein (TV’s Portlandia) also star.
The script was adapted from the Patricia Highsmith novel The Price of Salt by Phyllis Nagy for her first feature film. Highsmith’s previously adapted work, The Talented Mr. Ripley, also dealt with taboo relationships during the 1950s—the gay relationship in that novel was more implied, but the 1999 film version starring Matt Damon and Jude Law turned the issue up a notch.
The featured clips show Blanchett and Mara in female roles typical of any time period—the sophisticated domestic wife and mother offset by the curious and innocent ingenue. These roles get turned upside down, however, within the context of the story. See the clips below, which portray a budding relationship told largely through the silences, glances, and watchfulness that fill the dialogue’s spaces.