Carol ★★★★★

Not a doomed love story so much as a fragile one, forever susceptible to circumstance and others' cruelty and caprice -- and it's always so, isn't it, then as now, with anything we might long for that doesn't fit into prescribed, regimented boxes. Haynes captures the rhythms of new friendship and courtship, wise to the ways they can blend into one another, the ways small gestures become charged with meaning and desire. The lush, grainy cinematography and Carter Burwell's amazing score tease out the sweeping emotional undercurrents in what's otherwise a soft, low-key tale of heartbreak and sadness and finding one's way through a long, lonely existence with as much grace as one can muster. This is the best film I've seen in several years.

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