Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara) spots the beautiful, elegant Carol (Cate Blanchett) perusing the doll displays in a 1950s Manhattan department store. The two women develop a fast bond that becomes a love with complicated consequences.
In an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's seminal novel The Price of Salt, CAROL follows two women from very different backgrounds who find themselves in an unexpected love affair in 1950s New York. As conventional norms of the time challenge their undeniable attraction, an honest story emerges to reveal the resilience of the heart in the face of change. A young woman in her 20s, Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara), is a clerk working in a Manhattan department store and dreaming of a more fulfilling life when she meets Carol (Cate Blanchett), an alluring woman trapped in a loveless, convenient marriage. As an immediate connection sparks between them, the innocence of their first encounter dims and their connection deepens. While Carol breaks free from the confines of marriage, her husband (Kyle Chandler) begins to question her competence as a mother as her involvement with Therese and close relationship with her best friend Abby (Sarah Paulson) come to light.
Miscellaneous This movie is set from 1952-1953. Twice, when checking into hotels, they are offered a deluxe room with "stereophonic" music console. Record companies did not start stereo recording until 1954, consumer stereo tape did not become available until 1956, and the stereo LP record did not come out until 1958
Miscellaneous When Therese boards the NJ Transit train the announcement states one of the stops is "Secaucus Junction". The Secaucus Junction did not open until 2003.
Miscellaneous When Therese is first photographing Carol she is looking through the viewfinder, and the image goes into focus when she focuses the camera. This camera would not have that type of viewfinder.
Miscellaneous When Carol hangs up on Therese, the phone emits a modern dial tone that would not have existed in 1952 or 53.
Miscellaneous Early in the film we see a prominently displayed black Oldsmobile. It is a 1951 or 52 so it is new. The paint is very dull and it is missing some chrome pieces as if it is many years old. Later outside a restaurant in Iowa the same car is on the left and on the right is a 1950 or so Ford with narrow whitewalls and wheel covers from the later 1950's. Narrow whitewalls came out in 1962, and in 1962 they were not as narrow as on the Ford.
Miscellaneous The Canon camera gift was not readily available in the USA in 1952. Canon USA's website "Sixty Years of Canon in the Americas" states their first office opened in New York in 1955.
Miscellaneous Incorrectly regarded as goof: The camera Therese uses when she first photographs Carol is an Argus C3 with rangefinder. The C3 has a geared coupling between the rangefinder and the lens, creating one-step focusing.
Audio/Video Mismatch When Carol picks up Therese and meets Richard, the sound of the car's engine never stops, implying the car was left running. However, when they say goodbye, Carol turns the key anyway and no sound is heard.
Continuity When Abby closes the door on Harge following their confrontation on her porch, she turns out the interior light. In the next shot, as we see Harge walking away from the porch, the interior is on.
Errors in Geography Therese boards a train to "Penn Station" in New York City. It is apparent that the train is running on the Erie Railroad's Main Line. In 1952, that train would never have entered New York and instead would have terminated at Jersey City. Even today, that train terminates at Hoboken and not at Penn Station. Also, as another writer pointed out, the train announcement stated that the train would stop at Secaucus Junction, which did not exist until 2003.
Factual Mistake The film takes place at about the time of Eisenhower's inauguration in 1953. There is a reference an Interstate highway being the most direct route to a destination. But Eisenhower create the Interstate Highways so they were not in existence in the early '50s (and, in fact, the characters are never shown on that highway).
Miscellaneous In the opening scene in the restaurant, it appears as though both women leave without paying. However, Carol leaves first while Terese remains, so it's entirely likely that Carol paid the bill at the restaurant's reception desk or bar before she left.
Revealing Mistakes In one of the landscape shots as Carol and Therese go on their trip, a take is used backwards. It can be seen in the smoke pipes of the roofs, absorbing the smoke instead of expelling it.
Revealing Mistakes Reversed shot: smoke can be seen going into chimneys as Carol and Therese pass them heading west.
Miscellaneous Scene when Carol & Therese meet in the restaurant, Carol asks Therese what her name is. Shortly after, Therese asks Carol what her name is. Even though they had already met in the store, Therese would not have necessarily known Carol's first name, as the store account was likely in her husband's name or Carol might have written "Mrs. Harge Aird," as was customary in the 1950s. Even if Therese did know her name, her question here can be regarded either as nervousness, a coded way to ask if it was all right to be on a first-name basis, or both.
Director Todd Haynes creates image books as a guide to the visual feel of his films, going back to his drama Safe (1995). The compendiums are culled from photographs, film stills, paintings, periodicals and other sources to generate ideas for the film's style. They are meant initially for the cinematographer. (The books are not to be confused with storyboards, the shot-by-shot breakdowns he has made since his first feature, Poison (1991).) His image books are "a way of communicating beyond words that gets to the crux of what the mood, temperature and stylistic references would be." For Carol (2015) "it becomes great reference for clothes, hair, makeup, the way women carry themselves in the period and the specificity of how they're being created from the outside in." The image book includes, for example, references to other films such as: Brief Encounter (1945) and Vertigo (1958) for their sense of period, and The Sugarland Express (1974) for its innovative cinematography by Vilmos Zsigmond; Lovers and Lollipops (1956) for the locations and The Pumpkin Eater (1964) for the interiors; and urban photography by Ernst Haas, Helen Levitt and Vivian Maier. Haynes assembles his image books almost as a kind of visual mixtape, pulling photos and movie screen grabs of his inspirations and laying them out in pages of collages to create a kind of virtual movie. Haynes created more than 80 pages of photo collages for "Carol" that served as a road map through the production. It took him two months to compile
The novel is told entirely from Therese's perspective
Carol smokes cigarettes in 9 scenes of the film, a total of 6 minutes and 23 seconds
The very first scene that Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett filmed together is the one where Carol and Therese make love for the last time before Carol leaves
The city of Cincinnati, Ohio, and surrounding areas doubled for 1950s New York City and New Jersey. Shot in the Spring of 2014, filming locations included Downtown Cincinnati, Eden Park, Hyde Park, Over-the-Rhine; and cities of Cheviot, Hamilton, Lebanon, and Wyoming. Additional filming locations included northern Kentucky: town of Alexandria
Automobiles: Carol's car is a 1949 Packard Super Deluxe 8 with a 327-cubic-inch Straight 8 Flathead engine and a three-speed gear shift on the steering column. It features a very rare "Egyptian" hood ornament. The hood opens either from the left or right side. The vehicle was leased to the production company by the owner after responding to an appeal by the Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Film Commission for early 1950s cars, cabs, trucks and buses. Harge's car is a 1952 Cadillac Series 75 Fleetwood Limousine. Abby's car is a 1950 Packard Custom Eight convertible. The yellow-and-red taxis seen parked or moving in several scenes are a 1950 Chevrolet and a 1949 Dodge
John Crowley was attached to direct when the movie was announced in 2012
Rooney Mara had been offered the role of Therese after completing The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) but she passed on the role due to weariness. Mia Wasikowska was then attached, but later left the project in order to do Crimson Peak (2015). Mara came on board again in 2013 when Todd Haynes signed on direct
Film4 executive Tessa Ross said they had battled for over 11 years to get the film made
Carol (2015) was shot on Super 16 millimeter film to resemble the look and feel of film from the late 1940s/early 1950s. The cinematography was influenced by the photojournalism of Vivian Maier, Ruth Orkin, Helen Levitt, and Esther Bubley. Photography by Saul Leiter (known for shooting through windows and using reflection) was a key influence
According to Patricia Highsmith, the novel was inspired by a chance encounter she had with a blond woman in a fur coat that she saw shopping inside a department store in New York City, while she was working as a temporary sales clerk selling dolls, shortly before Christmas 1948. She recalled completing the outline in two hours that night, likely under the influence of chicken pox which she discovered she had the next day, saying "fever is stimulating the imagination". She completed the novel by 1951
Rooney Mara's award season campaign caused controversy due to the studio's decision to place her in contention as supporting actress. Cate Blanchett, nominated in the leading category, had 6 minutes less screen time than Mara, clocking in at 65 minutes
The film is based on the romance novel "The Price of Salt" by Patricia Highsmith. Originally published in 1952 under the alias "Claire Morgan", the novel sold more than a million copies. Highsmith denied rumors that she was the author for 38 years, until she agreed to the publication of a new, retitled edition and wrote the afterword. "Carol" was published in the United Kingdom under Highsmith's name in 1990
Carol's classic fur coat was created from the fur of vintage coats, with the pieces of old fur sewn together. Costume designer Sandy Powell revealed that it "fell apart every single day, every single scene." [The Hollywood Reporter, January 26, 2016, "This Is How Cate Blanchett's 'Carol' Coat Came Together
Rooney Mara has been a big fan of Cate Blanchett since she was 13 years old and described the experience working with Blanchett as "beyond a dream come true
The film received a 10-minute standing ovation at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival (Festival de Cannes) international premiere
Although Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara weren't required to be on the other end of the line whenever they talk on the phone, they offered to do so to help each other out. Thus whenever Carol and Therese talk to each other on the phone, Blanchett and Mara are really on the other end of the line
Phyllis Nagy has written two films in her whole career. Both titles consist of female names
John Crowley was attached to direct when the movie was announced in 2012
Todd Haynes got his cinematic references of the 1950s from the work of Ruth Orkin and Morris Engel, especially their film "Lovers and Lollipops"
This is Todd Haynes and Cate Blanchett's second film collaboration, and Haynes and costume designer Sandy Powell's third film collaboration
With 5 nominations, it was the most nominated film at the Golden Globes in 2015
Both Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara said that they had great chemistry on set and filming their love scene was relatively easy. Blanchett credited director Todd Haynes for making her and Mara feel comfortable. "There was a lot of trust on the set between Rooney and Todd and Todd and I and he was very clear about how he wanted to shoot it and what parts he was going to use so we all felt very safe
The second adaptation of a Patricia Highsmith novel that Cate Blanchett' has starred in. The first was The Talented Mr. Ripley
The film received a standing ovation at its Cannes Film Festival international press screening and premiere
Phyllis Nagy was friends with Patricia Highsmith
According to Patricia Highsmith, the novel was inspired by a chance encounter she had with a blonde woman in a fur coat that she saw shopping inside a department store in New York City, while she was working as a temporary sales clerk selling dolls, shortly before Christmas 1948. She recalled completing the outline in two hours that night, likely under the influence of chicken pox which she discovered she had the next day, saying "fever is stimulating the imagination", She completed the novel by 1951
Rooney Mara had been offered the role of Therese after completing The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but she passed on the role due to weariness. Mia Wasikowska was then attached, but later left the project in order to do Crimson Peak, then Mara came on board again when Todd Haynes signed on direct in 2013
The cinematographic look was inspired by the photography of Vivian Maier and Saul Leiter
Phyllis Nagy wrote the first draft of the script in 1996
The plot is loosely based on the romance between author Patricia Highsmith and Virginia Kent Catherwood (1915-1966), an older woman and Philadelphia socialite who had lost custody of her child in divorce proceedings involving taped hotel room conversations and lesbianism
The film is based on "The Price of Salt," a book published in 1952 by Patricia Highsmith, under the pseudonym "Claire Morgan". Highsmith retitled the novel "Carol" when she republished the book in the UK, under her own name, in 1990
Film4 outgoing boss Tessa Ross said they had battled for 11 years to get the film made
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