Cruelly snubbed at this year’s Oscars, Todd Haynes’ adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novel The Price of Salt is truly superb, a coolly restrained yet deeply romantic story of forbidden love and a dazzling showcase for stars Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, both Oscar-nominated and both on incandescent form.

Blanchett plays the title character, a wealthy suburban wife and mother who is extricating herself from a hollow marriage, and Mara is Therese, the callow Manhattan shopgirl who falls under her spell. A chance encounter during a Christmas shopping trip kindles their desires, but this is the repressive, conformist 1950s and social and personal pressures – embodied by Carol’s high-handed husband (Kyle Chandler) and Therese’s persistent boyfriend (Jake Lacy) – stand in the way of the women fulfilling their love.

Carol and Therese make a fascinating couple, one self-assured on the surface yet brittle underneath, the other slowly shedding her hesitancy to realise her true self. Their situation casts a chill on the nostalgic glow evoked by the exquisitely realised period setting – cinematographer Ed Lachman, production designer Judy Becker and veteran costume designer Sandy Powell all making outstanding contributions, as does screenwriter Phyllis Nagy – yet subtly buoyed by Carter Burwell’s yearning score, the film still makes the viewer swoon, its heady mood of love and longing generated by the briefest of glances and gestures.

Certificate 15. Runtime mins. Director Todd Haynes

Carol is available on DVD, Blu-ray & Digital Download from StudioCanal on 21 March.

Special Features:

  • Limited Edition Artcards
  • Behind the Scenes
  • Q&A interview highlights with:
  • Cate Blanchett
  • Rooney Mara
  • Todd Haynes, Director
  • Phyllis Nagy, Screenplay
  • Edward Lachman, Cinematography
  • Sandy Powell, Costume Design
  • Judy Becker, Production Design
  • Carter Burwell, Composer