DVDizzy.com | DVD and Blu-ray Reviews | New and Upcoming DVD & Blu-ray Schedule | Upcoming Cover Art | Search This Site

Carol Blu-ray + Digital HD Review

Carol (2015) movie poster Carol

Theatrical Release: November 20, 2015 / Running Time: 118 Minutes / Rating: R

Director: Todd Haynes / Writers: Phyllis Nagy (screenplay), Patricia Highsmith (novel The Price of Salt)

Cast: Cate Blanchett (Carol Aird), Rooney Mara (Therese Belivet), Kyle Chandler (Harge Aird), Jake Lacy (Richard Semco), Sarah Paulson (Abby Gerhard), John Magaro (Dannie McElroy), Cory Michael Smith (Tommy Tucker), Kevin Crowley (Fred Haymes), Nik Pajic (Phil McElroy), Carrie Brownstein (Genevieve Cantrell), Trent Rowland (Jack Taft), Sadie Helm (Rindy Aird), Kk Heim (Rindy Aird), Amy Warner (Jennifer Aird), Michael Haney (John Aird)

Buy Carol from Amazon.com: Blu-ray + Digital HD DVD Instant Video

Loved by critics, Carol was certainly respected by the Academy. They gave the film six Oscar nominations, for Actress, Supporting Actress, Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Costume Design and Score. Missing from those acknowledgments was Best Picture,
putting The Weinstein Company out of that race for the first time in nine years. You have to imagine with a maximum Best Picture field of ten nominees, Carol would have made the cut. Instead, with only eight films competing, Carol was left on the sidelines for the industry's biggest prize along with highly regarded movies like Inside Out, Straight Outta Compton, and Creed.

Adapted from Patricia Highsmith's pseudonymously-published 1952 novel The Price of Salt, Carol tells the story of a same sex love affair between a housewife going through a divorce and a younger department store employee with photography ambitions. Carol Aird (Cate Blanchett) and Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara) first meet shortly before Christmas, as Carol is shopping for a present for her beloved young daughter Rindy. Therese recommends a train set, arranges for its delivery, and then sends Carol the gloves she left behind at the store.

In "Carol", a New York department store's toy counter clerk (Rooney Mara) helps a woman (Cate Blanchett) buy a Christmas present for her daughter.

Carol is in the midst of divorcing Harge (Kyle Chandler), her husband of several years whom she can now only tolerate in small doses. Therese has a boyfriend named Richard (Jake Lacy), who would love to marry her. On Christmas, both women leave their worlds behind to travel westward together. Richard doesn't understand it and Harge doesn't know.

In this time, Carol and Therese's romance is one marked by repression. The two don't engage in physical affection until 75 minutes into the movie, conveying their feelings until then in words, glances, and gestures. There are immediate repercussions to their intimacy, as it is surreptitiously photographed and used as evidence in the custody battle emerging from Carol's divorce. Harge, who is still bitter about Carol's past relationship with their daughter's godmother (Sarah Paulson), has a morality clause written in which more or less ensures that Carol won't be able to share custody of Rindy.

Two-time Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett fills the title role of  Carol Aird, a housewife in the midst of a divorce.

Carol is artful cinema. Directed by Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven), the film is nicely scored,
thoughtfully costumed, and very sharply designed. The film is as interested in creating a mood and atmosphere as it is telling a story, but it manages to do both in an understated fashion. You don't need to remember the early '50s or have felt same sex attraction in a less tolerant time to appreciate what these two women are going through at different stages of their lives.

Despite the near-unanimous critical acclaim, Carol only drummed up modest business in modest release, playing few theaters for a month before expanding in January in conjunction with its Oscar nominations. Its run mostly finished, the film will end up grossing less than $13 million domestically and twice as much from foreign markets. Losing all six of its Oscar bids, the film hit home video this week from Weinstein partner Anchor Bay Entertainment in a DVD and the Blu-ray + Digital HD edition reviewed here.

Carol Blu-ray Disc cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray Disc Details

1.85:1 Widescreen
5.1 DTS-HD MA (English), Dolby Digital 5.1 (Spanish)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, Spanish
Not Closed Captioned; Extras Subtitled in English
Release Date: March 15, 2016
Suggested Retail Price: $34.99
Single-sided, dual-layered disc (BD-50)
Blue Eco-Friendly Keepcase
Also available on DVD ($29.98 SRP) and Amazon Instant Video

VIDEO and AUDIO

Carol looks different from other new films because it was shot in 16mm. That produces a deliberately grainier look that you'll notice on much of the film, most glaringly during a brief scene in which Therese paints bright green walls. Keeping this intent in mind, the Blu-ray's dark 1.85:1 transfer achieves the desired look without any cause for concern. The 5.1 DTS-HD master audio soundtrack envelops with that enchanting score, while keeping dialogue, the infrequent needle drops, and ambient noises crisp and intelligible.

Todd Haynes directs Cate Blanchett on the Cincinnati shoot of "Carol", as seen in a behind-the-scenes featurette. Awards pundit Pete Hammond opens the floor to audience questions in his LA Q & A with Rooney Mara and screenwriter Phyllis Nagy.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

On Blu-ray, Carol is joined by two HD bonus features.

First a "Behind the Scenes Gallery" is actually a collection of eight making-of featurettes that are devoted to the two leading ladies,

director Todd Haynes, screenwriter Phyllis Nagy, cinematographer Edward Lachman, costume designer Sandy Powell, production designer Judy Becker, and composer Carter Burwell. Altogether, they run 35 minutes and 56 seconds. Consistent in quality, they gather the usual mix of remarks from cast and crew, behind-the-scenes footage, and film clips. Despite being divided by contributor, with the "Play All" feature, this isn't drastically different from other discs' making-of documentaries. Each segment gives insight into a topic that influences the whole.

Next, we get "Q&A Highlights with Filmmakers & Cast" (29:25), which pulls from five different panels, each of which is identified by location and date. These clips allow us to hear more from Nagy and Mara in Los Angeles; Haynes, Blanchett, and Mara in New York; Blanchett, Mara, Jake Lacy, and Haynes at SAG in LA; and Nagy, Becker, editor Affonso Goncalves, and Burwell in NY. Some points are repeated, but also some new information emerges in the responses to hosts and audience members.

The disc opens with trailers for Macbeth, Southpaw, and Burnt. None of those is accessible by menu and Carol's trailer isn't included at all.

The main menu loops an ordinary screen-filling montage to some of that striking Oscar-nominated score.

A insert with Digital HD code and directions, doubling as an ad for the movie tie-in version of Highsmith's novel, is all that joins the full-color disc inside the unslipcovered eco-friendly keepcase.

Carol (Cate Blanchett) and Therese (Rooney Mara) share a tender moment in a motel bathroom.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Carol didn't quite have the same power over the big award shows and the general public as it did over critics, but this stylish 1950s love story has much to admire both technically and dramatically.

Weinstein/Anchor Bay's Blu-ray complements a fine feature presentation with a substantial hour of bonus feature insight. There's certainly enough here to warrant a viewing and probably multiple ones too.

Buy Carol from Amazon.com: Blu-ray + Digital HD / DVD /Instant Video

Buy from Amazon.com

Related Reviews:
New to Disc: Brooklyn Bridge of Spies Room The Big Short Steve Jobs Crimson Peak I Smile Back
Cate Blanchett: Truth Blue Jasmine The Curious Case of Benjamin Button The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou The Monuments Men
Rooney Mara: Her Pan Youth in Revolt | Jake Lacy: Love the Coopers
Kyle Chandler: The Wolf of Wall Street Zero Dark Thirty Argo Early Edition: Season 1
All That Heaven Allows A Single Man The Kids Are All Right Not Fade Away Mad Men: Season 7
Adapted from Patricia Highsmith: The Cry of the Owl

DVDizzy.com | DVD and Blu-ray Reviews | New and Upcoming DVD & Blu-ray Schedule | Upcoming Cover Art | Search This Site

DVDizzy.com Top Stories:

Reviewed March 16, 2016.



Text copyright 2016 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2015 The Weinstein Company, Film4, StudioCanal, Hanway, Goldcrest, Dirty Films, Infilm Productions,
and 2016 The Weinstein Company Home Entertainment and Anchor Bay Entertainment. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.