Therese suggests a train set and the order is put in but Carol knowingly leaves her gloves behind, a moment that will lead to their whirlwind romance. They meet for a lunch date, and later a trip to Carol's house in New Jersey, before a road trip together where their romance come alive. At home, Carol deals with the breakdown of her marriage and we learn that she's had such a liaison before with an old friend called Abby. The combination of her new lover and the rejection of her husband's advances leads them into a custody battle for their only child. Stones are thrown, things get ugly and her relationship with Therese becomes increasingly hazardous. Haynes' last foray into Sirkian melodrama, 2002's Far From Heaven, managed to show a panoramic view of middle-class prejudice at the time. Carol just feels just that little bit smaller. There are bold strokes and moving speeches, but the plot feels nestled away in Haynes' period setting.
Hidden like their romance perhaps, or a cubby at the back of one of Edward Hopper's diners. Still, this is a work of defiance and craft and acting of the highest calibre. A wide-eyed Mara gazing out of foggy windows; Blanchett a monolith of grace, courage and glamour. Their moments together hold an electric quality, the camera often responding by blurring the world around them. Although arguably inferior to Far From Heaven, Haynes' film is still an exquisite example of filmmaking as a collaborative process. Multiple Oscar-winning costume designer Sandy Powell rolls out a stunning range of greens and reds to compliment the pastel walls and exterior sidewalks; Judy Becker's astonishingly detailed production design winks to the consumerism and counter culture which lay ahead; and Carter Burwell provides a devastating score. A beautiful entity, near flawless in design, any talk of accolades certainly seems justified.
The 68th Cannes Film Festival takes place from 13-24 May 2015. For more Cannes coverage, simply follow this link.
Rory O'Connor | @musingshour