Subtle, understated, elegant...Such words are seldom used when describing contemporary film.Yet Carol is that rare film which leaves much unsaid, allowing the lush visuals and stirring score to evoke those unspoken feelings. And what is cinema if not sight and sound? Thus Carol is a pure work of art, masquerading as mid-century melodrama.

Director Todd Haynes is no stranger to fifties film and Eisenhower-era repression, as he proved with his brilliant Far From Heaven (2002). But whereas that project sought to replicate the "women's films" of the day while simultaneously functioning on multiple levels, Carol is very much a modern work that just happens to take place in that bygone era. The era is very much a part of the story, yet the filmmaking on display is of a 21st century sensibility. Cate Blanchett, in the title role, brings an effortless authority and glamour to the screen, her obvious intelligence and stunning beauty showing once again that she is not just a great actor, she is a movie star of the highest caliber.  The waif-like Rooney Mara, on the other hand, turns in a quietly burning, internalized performance that is both ethereal and grounding. Supporting roles and even bit parts are perfectly cast, and attention to period detail flawless without being distracting. I look forward to experiencing this lovely, poignant film again; it promises to reward repeated viewing. And without giving anything away, I feel certain that the closing shot will become one of those iconic moments in cinema. See it and you'll know why.