How To Turn a Lesbian Cult Classic Novel Into an Acclaimed Film: Carol Screenwriter Phyllis Nagy

Rich Juzwiak · 11/20/15 11:41AM

Todd Haynes’s Carol is simple, elegant, and devastating. It tells a story of pre-Stonewall gay love between two women, who become what they are using no specific societal blueprint (none existed for lesbians in the ‘50s), but through their love for each other. Carol (Cate Blanchett) is a mother going through a divorce who happens upon Therese (Rooney Mara), a younger shopgirl in her 20s, and is immediately enchanted. What ensues is a love story that is told with tenderness, pacing, and melodrama that evokes the era depicted in the film. Sometimes it shouldn’t even work—like when during an emotional peak between Carol and Therese, it starts snowing out of nowhere—but it always does, thanks to the tremendous directing, writing, and performances of everyone involved. Carol is, simply, one of the year’s finest movies and its final shot is among the most indelible I’ve ever seen. This movie imprints itself on you, and what’s more, you want it to.