Carol (film)

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Carol (film) POSTER.jpg
Directed by Todd Haynes
Produced by
Written by Phyllis Nagy
Based on The Price of Salt 
by Patricia Highsmith
Music by Carter Burwell
Cinematography Edward Lachman
Edited by Affonso Gonçalves
Distributed by
The Weinstein Company (United States)

StudioCanal (United Kingdom)

Release dates
  • May 17, 2015 (2015-05-17) (Cannes)
  • October 14, 2015 (2015-10-14) (BFI London Film Festival)
  • November 20, 2015 (2015-11-20) (United States)
  • November 27, 2015 (2015-11-27) (United Kingdom)
Running time
118 minutes[1]
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
Language English
Budget 11.8 million[2]

Carol is a 2015 British-American romantic drama film directed by Todd Haynes, with a screenplay by Phyllis Nagy based on the novel The Price of Salt (also known as Carol) by Patricia Highsmith. The film stars Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson and Kyle Chandler. Set in 1952 in New York City, the film tells the story of a young aspiring photographer and her relationship with an older, married woman.

Carol was in development for over 11 years by British producers of Number 9 Films and Film4 Productions, and is co-produced by New York-based Killer Films. Principal photography began on March 12, 2014 in Cincinnati, Ohio and lasted six weeks. The film was shot on Super 16 mm.

The film was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, where Mara tied for the Best Actress award. It is scheduled for a limited release in the United States on November 20, 2015, and will be released in the United Kingdom on November 27, 2015.


In 1950s New York, an aspiring photographer in her 20s working as a department-store clerk falls for an older, married woman.




The film is based on Patricia Highsmith's 1952 semi-autobiographical novel The Price of Salt, originally published under the pseudonym Claire Morgan, and published in 1990 as Carol under Highsmith's own name.[3][4] The film was in development for over 11 years by Film4 Productions and Number 9 Films.[5] Phyllis Nagy, who was a friend of Highsmith, wrote the first draft of the script in 1996.[6][7] Highsmith had suggested to Nagy she adapt one of her novels.[8] British producer Elizabeth Karlsen of Number 9 Films came across Nagy's screenplay in 2004. Nagy had spent 14 years trying to get the film made prior to Karlsen convincing Highsmith's estate to sign over the copyright to her in 2011.[4][6]

In May 2012, it was announced that John Crowley would direct the film, starring Cate Blanchett and Mia Wasikowska as Carol and Therese, respectively. Number 9 Film's Elizabeth Karlsen and Stephen Woolley would produce, along with Film4 Productions' Tessa Ross, executive producer who co-developed the project with Karlsen and Woolley.[9][10][11] In May 2013, Todd Haynes signed on to direct, replacing Crowley who withdrew due to scheduling conflicts. Haynes' collaborator Christine Vachon of Killer Films would co-produce the film.[12] Later that month, The Weinstein Company acquired United States distribution rights to the film.[13]

Todd Haynes first heard about the film in 2012 from costume designer Sandy Powell, who informed Haynes that Blanchett was attached and Karlsen was producing. Blanchett, who is an executive producer on the film, had been attached to the project for "a really long time".[14][11] Haynes learned they were looking for a director in 2013, when Karlsen asked his collaborator Christine Vachon if he would be interested in the project. Haynes regarded the story, its historical and social context, and collaborating again with Blanchett as motivating factors for his involvement.[15][16][17] During pre-production, Haynes collaborated with Nagy on fine-tuning the screenplay, and with Blanchett on a dramaturgical level.[6][18][19]

In August 2013, it was reported that Rooney Mara had replaced Wasikowska, who had dropped out due to scheduling conflicts.[20][21] Mara said she was offered the role of Therese after completing the 2011 film The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo; although she loved the script and wanted to work with Blanchett, she did not sign on due to feeling weary from the Dragon Tattoo experience. By the time Haynes came on board she was "in a much different head space" and signing on to the project was "a no brainer at that point."[21][22] In January 2014, Carter Burwell was hired to compose the music for the film.[23] Sarah Paulson was cast as Abby, a close friend of Carol, and Kyle Chandler was cast as Harge, Carol's husband.[24][25] The following month, Cory Michael Smith was cast as Tommy, a charming traveling salesman, and Jake Lacy joined the cast as Richard, Therese's boyfriend.[26][27] In April 2014, John Magaro was cast as Dannie, a writer who works at The New York Times.[28] Carrie Brownstein then joined the cast, playing the role of Genevieve Cantrell, a woman who has an encounter with Therese.[29] Edward Lachman served as the director of photography.[30]


In December 2013, it was announced that Carol would be filmed in Cincinnati, Ohio, and production offices would open in early January 2014, with filming expected from mid-March through May.[31] The six-week shoot began on March 12, 2014, at Eden Park in Cincinnati.[30][32] Various locations in Ohio were used during filming, including Downtown Cincinnati, Hyde Park, Over-the-Rhine, Wyoming, Cheviot, and Hamilton, as well as Alexandria, Kentucky.[33][34][35][36] Filming was completed on April 25, 2014.[33] Edward Lachman shot the film on Super 16 mm.[37]


On December 15, 2014, Haynes confirmed deliverables were completed.[38] In early 2015, Brownstein told Paste Magazine that most of her scenes were cut due to the film's length.[39]


The first official image from Carol, released by Film4, appeared in the London Evening Standard on May 16, 2014.[5] Despite deliverables being completed in late 2014, the producers decided to withhold the film until 2015 in order to benefit from a film festival launch.[38] A second image from the film was released on January 5, 2015.[40]

The film was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.[1][41] It will make its North American debut at the 42nd Telluride Film Festival, and will screen at the 53rd New York Film Festival.[42][43] It will premiere in the UK as the BFI London Film Festival’s Gala event on October 14, 2015.[44] The film is scheduled for a limited release in the United States on November 20, 2015.[45] It will be released in the UK on November 27, 2015.[46]

Critical reception[edit]

Carol received a rapturous response, including a standing ovation, at its Cannes Film Festival international press screening and premiere. Critics particularly lauded Haynes' direction, Blanchett and Mara's performances, the cinematography, costumes and score, and deemed it a strong contender for a Cannes award.[47] On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 96% approval rating based on reviews from 28 critics, with an average rating of 8.8 out of 10.[48] On Metacritic, the film has received a weighted average score of 95 out of 100 based on 11 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[49]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Award / Film Festival Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref(s)
2015 Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or Carol Nominated [50][51]
Best Actress Rooney Mara (shared with Emmanuelle Bercot) Won
Queer Palm Carol Won

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "2015 Official Selection". Cannes Film Festival. April 16, 2015. Retrieved April 17, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Killer Films’ Co-Founders Christine Vachon and Pamela Koffler on Lesbian Romance ‘Carol’ and Indie Resilience". The Hollywood Reporter. September 25, 2015. Retrieved September 27, 2015. 
  3. ^ Peters, Fiona. Anxiety and Evil in the Writings of Patricia Highsmith. Ashgate Publishing. p. 93, 127. ISBN 1409478912. 
  4. ^ a b "Passion project: meet the indie super-producer behind Cannes hot ticket Carol". The Guardian. May 14, 2015. Retrieved May 15, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Jury, Louise (May 16, 2014). "Patricia Highsmith’s lesbian tale brought to the screen after 11-year battle". London Evening Standard. Retrieved March 18, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c "TALENT TALK: CAROL". We Are UK Film. May 17, 2015. Retrieved June 1, 2015. 
  7. ^ Poland, David (May 22, 2015). DP/30 in Cannes: Carol, Phyllis Nagy. Interview with Phyllis Nagy. DP/30: The Oral History Of Hollywood. Retrieved May 24, 2015. 
  8. ^ Thompson, Anne (June 1, 2015). "Cannes: Todd Haynes and Writer Phyllis Nagy Talk 'Carol,' Glamorous Stars, Highsmith and More". Indiewire. SnagFilms. Retrieved June 1, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Cate Blanchett & Mia Wasikowska To Star In John Crowley's Patricia Highsmith Adaptation 'Carol'". Indiewire. May 18, 2012. Retrieved April 17, 2015. 
  10. ^ "CANNES TOLDJA! The Weinstein Company Acquires U.S. Rights To Todd Haynes-Helmed ‘Carol’". May 28, 2013. Retrieved April 17, 2015. 
  11. ^ a b Chang, Justin (May 16, 2015). "Cannes Film Review: ‘Carol’". Variety. Retrieved May 29, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Todd Haynes to direct Carol". Screen International. May 23, 2013. Retrieved April 16, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Weinstein Co. Acquires U.S. Rights to Todd Haynes' 'Carol'". The Hollywood Reporter. May 28, 2013. Retrieved April 16, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Cate Blanchett: Praise is so problematic". TV3 (Ireland). 7 October 2015. Retrieved 11 October 2015. 
  15. ^ "The Look of Love". Screen International at Cannes (Emap International Limited). May 16, 2015. Retrieved May 16, 2015. 
  16. ^ Ford, Rebecca (May 16, 2015). "Cannes: Todd Haynes on Why 'Carol' Is About "Love Itself as Something Criminal" (Q&A)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 17, 2015. 
  17. ^ Dargis, Manohla (May 24, 2015). "Todd Haynes’s Film ‘Carol’ Draws Attention at Cannes". The New York Times. Retrieved May 25, 2015. 
  18. ^ Thompson, Anne (May 26, 2015). "'Carol' Producer Christine Vachon Talks Being Queen of the Croisette". Indiewire. Retrieved May 27, 2015. 
  19. ^ CAROL -conference- (en) Cannes 2015 on YouTube
  20. ^ "Rooney Mara to romance Cate Blanchett in new lesbian drama". Screen International. August 29, 2013. Retrieved April 16, 2015. 
  21. ^ a b "‘Carol’s Quest: Lesbian Drama’s 15-Year Journey To Cannes". May 21, 2015. Retrieved May 22, 2015. 
  22. ^ "Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara & Todd Haynes On Bringing ‘Carol’ To Life – Cannes Video". May 18, 2015. Retrieved May 22, 2015. 
  23. ^ "Carter Burwell Scoring Todd Haynes' 'Carol' & Danny Elfman Bound To 'Fifty Shades Of Grey'". Indiewire. January 21, 2014. Retrieved August 30, 2015. 
  24. ^ "Sarah Paulson Joins Todd Haynes Pic ‘Carol’". Variety. January 22, 2014. Retrieved April 17, 2014. 
  25. ^ "Kyle Chandler Joins Todd Haynes’ ‘Carol’". January 31, 2014. Retrieved April 17, 2015. 
  26. ^ "Cory Michael Smith Joins ‘Carol’". February 4, 2014. Retrieved April 10, 2014. 
  27. ^ "'The Office' Actor Joins Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara in 'Carol' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. February 11, 2014. Retrieved April 17, 2015. 
  28. ^ Sneider, Jeff (April 8, 2014). "‘Not Fade Away’ Star John Magaro Joins Rooney Mara in ‘Carol’". TheWrap. Retrieved April 9, 2014. 
  29. ^ Ford, Rebecca (April 9, 2014). "'Portlandia's' Carrie Brownstein Joins Cate Blanchett in 'Carol'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 10, 2014. 
  30. ^ a b Davis, Clayton (March 12, 2014). "Production Starts Today on Todd Haynes’ ‘Carol’ Starring Cate Blanchett". AwardsCircuit. Retrieved May 30, 2014. 
  31. ^ Kiesewetter, John (December 15, 2013). "Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara to shoot ‘Carol’ movie here". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved March 13, 2014. 
  32. ^ Kiesewetter, John (March 12, 2014). "'Carol' filming starts at Eden Park overlook". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved March 13, 2014. 
  33. ^ a b "'Carol' filming ends early Friday morning". The Cincinnati Enquirer. April 28, 2014. Retrieved April 17, 2015. 
  34. ^ Tan, Lot (March 31, 2014). "Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett filming in Lebanon today". JournalNews. Retrieved April 1, 2014. 
  35. ^ Robinette, Eric (April 14, 2014). "Hamilton goes into time warp for movie shoot". JournalNews. Retrieved April 17, 2015. 
  36. ^ Wiechert, Brian (March 13, 2014). "Hollywood arrives at Eden Park, Carol filming in the Cincinnati area". Retrieved March 13, 2014. 
  37. ^ Reumont, François (May 16, 2015). "Ed Lachman, ASC, parle de son travail sur "Carol", de Todd Haynes" (in French). French Society of Cinematographers. Retrieved May 16, 2015. 
  38. ^ a b Giroux, Jack (December 15, 2014). "Todd Haynes Discusses ‘Safe,’ Letting Go of the Past, Working With Julianne Moore, and ‘Carol’". The Film Stage. Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
  39. ^ Stiernberg, Bonnie (January 6, 2015). "Carrie Brownstein: Fill in the Blank". Paste Magazine. Retrieved January 21, 2015. 
  40. ^ Jagernauth, Kevin (January 5, 2015). "Todd Haynes' 'Carol' Likely Headed For Fall Release, Plus New Image From The Film". The Playlist (column). Indiewire. Retrieved January 28, 2015. 
  41. ^ "Screenings Guide". Festival de Cannes. May 6, 2015. Retrieved May 8, 2015. 
  42. ^ "Telluride 2015: 10 Must-See Films To Watch Out Of A Killer Line-Up". Indiewire. September 3, 2015. Retrieved September 4, 2015. 
  43. ^ "The New York Film Festival Sets 26 Films for the 2015 Main Slate". Film Society of Lincoln Center. August 12, 2015. Retrieved August 16, 2015. 
  44. ^ "59th BFI London Film Festival American Express® Gala announced as the UK premiere of Carol". British Film Institute. August 17, 2015. Retrieved August 20, 2015. 
  45. ^ "Todd Haynes' Carol changes its release date". Entertainment Weekly. July 30, 2015. Retrieved August 16, 2015. 
  46. ^ "59TH BFI London Film Festival American Express Gala Announces as the UK Premiere of Carol" (PDF). British Film Institute. Retrieved August 20, 2015. 
  47. ^ Cannes reception:
  48. ^ "Carol (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 4, 2015. 
  49. ^ "Carol Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved October 4, 2015. 
  50. ^ "Cannes: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara Drama ‘Carol’ Wins Queer Palm Award". TheWrap. May 23, 2015. Retrieved June 7, 2015. 
  51. ^ Frosch, Jon (May 24, 2015). "Critic's Notebook: With Cannes Prizes, Coen Brothers Keep It Weird". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 24, 2015. 

External links[edit]