Carol (film)

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Carol is a 2015 film about the romantic relationship that develops between an aspiring young female photographer and a sophisticated older woman in the early 1950s.

Directed by Todd Haynes. Written by Phyllis Nagy, based on the novel The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith.
Some people change your life forever.

Carol Aird

  • Just when you think it can't get any worse, you run out of cigarettes.
  • I never looked like that. [to Therese, admiring her nude body]
  • My angel. Flung out of space. [to Therese when they pause to look at each other during sex for the first time]
  • I took what you gave willingly. It's not your fault, Therese.
  • Please believe that I would do anything to see you happy. So, I do the only thing I can — I release you. [letter to Therese VO]
  • Now what happened with Therese — I wanted. And I will not deny it.
  • I'm no martyr. I have no clue what is best for me. But I do know, and I feel it in my bones, what is best for my daughter. Now, I want visits with her, Harge. I don't care if they're supervised. I just want them to be regular. [puts on coat, preparing to leave attorney's office] There was a time when I would have done almost anything. I would have locked myself away to keep Rindy with me. What use am I to her, to us, if I'm living against my own grain?

Therese Belivet

  • I just take everything and I don't know anything. And I don't know what I want. How could I when all I ever do is say "Yes" to everything?
  • [calls Carol on the phone] Hello? Carol? [Carol remains silent, struggling with emotions, then hangs up] I miss you. I miss you.
  • I never made you — I never asked you for anything. Maybe that's the problem. [to Richard as they break up]


Carol Aird: I wonder if you might help me find this doll for my daughter. [hands Frankenberg's salesgirl (Therese) a slip of paper]
Therese Belivet: Bright Betsy. Oh, she cries. And wets herself.

Carol Aird: Do you ship? [considers purchasing model train set]
Therese Belivet: Special delivery. You could have it in two or three days. We'll even assemble it for you.
Carol Aird: Well. That's that. Sold.

Carol Aird: [to Waiter] I'll have the creamed spinach over poached eggs. And a dry martini with an olive.
Therese Belivet: Um... I'll have the same.
Waiter: The meal or the drink?
Therese Belivet: Um... All of it. Thank you.

Carol Aird: So what kind of name is Belivet?
Therese Belivet: It's Czech. It's changed. Originally....
Carol Aird: It's very original.
Therese Belivet: Well.
Carol Aird: And your first name?
Therese Belivet: Therese.
Carol Aird: Terez. Not Ter-eeza.
Therese Belivet: No.
Carol Aird: [pronounces name slowly and deliberately] Therese Belivet. That's lovely.

Therese Belivet: So I'm sure you thought it was a man who sent you back your gloves.
Carol Aird: I did. Thought it might be the man in the ski department.
Therese Belivet: I'm sorry.
Carol Aird: No, I'm delighted. I doubt very much if I'd have gone to lunch with him.

Carol Aird: And do you live alone, Therese Belivet?
Therese Belivet: I do. Well, there's Richard, he'd like to live with me. Oh no, it's nothing like that, I mean he'd like to marry me.
Carol Aird: I see... [staring at Therese] And would you like to marry him?
Therese Belivet: Well, I barely even know what to order for lunch.

Carol Aird: What you do on Sundays?
Therese Belivet: Nothing in particular. What do you do?
Carol Aird: Nothing lately. Maybe you'd like to come visit me some time. You're welcome to. At least there's some pretty country around where I live. Would you like to come visit me this Sunday?
Therese Belivet: [responds without hesitation] Yes.
Carol Aird: What a strange girl you are.
Therese Belivet: Why?
Carol Aird: Flung out of space.

Carol Aird: Were those pictures of me you were taking at the tree lot?
Therese Belivet: I'm sorry. I should have asked.
Carol Aird: Don't apologize.
Therese Belivet: I've just been trying to... well, I have a friend who told me I should be more interested in humans.
Carol Aird: And how's that going?
Therese Belivet: [smiling as she replies] It's going well, actually.

Harge Aird: What are you gonna do? Are you going to stay here with Abby over Christmas? You're going to stay with the shopgirl in there? Huh? What are you gonna do Carol? Huh? What is the plan?
Carol Aird: Stop it.
Harge Aird: Dammit. I put nothing past women like you, Carol.
Carol Aird: You married a woman like me.

Therese Belivet: I wanna know. I think. I mean, I wanna ask you things. But I'm not sure that you want that. [on telephone]
Carol Aird: [crying] Ask me. Things. Please.

Therese Belivet: Have you ever been in love with a boy?
Richard Semco: No.
Therese Belivet: But you've heard of it.
Richard Semco: Of course. I mean, have I heard of people like that? Sure.
Therese Belivet: I don't mean people like that. I just mean two people who fall in love with each other. Say, a boy and a boy. Out of the blue.
Richard Semco: I don't know anyone like that. But I'll tell you this: there's always some reason for it, in the background.
Therese Belivet: So you don't think it could just... happen to somebody. To anybody.
Richard Semco: No. I don't. What are you saying? Are you in love with a girl?
Therese Belivet: No.

Abby Gerhard: I got my eye on this redhead who owns a steak house outside of Paramus. I'm talking serious 'Rita Hayworth' redhead.
Carol Aird: Really? You think you got what it takes to handle a redhead?

Abby Gerhard: Tell me you know what you're doing.
Carol Aird: I don't. [she looks at Abby and smiles slyly] I never did.

Carol Aird: I'm going away for a while.
Therese Belivet: When? Where?
Carol Aird: Wherever my car will take me. West. Soon. And I thought... perhaps you might like to come with me. [looks directly at Therese] Would you?
Therese Belivet: [looks directly at Carol] Yes. Yes, I would.

Carol Aird: You miss Richard?
Therese Belivet: No. I haven't thought about him all day. Or of home, really.

McKinley Motel Manager: Our standard rooms come equipped with stereophonic console radios, or we do have the Presidential Suite available for a very attractive rate.
Carol Aird: Two standard rooms should be fine.
Therese Belivet: Why not take the Presidential Suite? [Carol turns to look at Therese] I mean, if the rate's attractive.

Carol Aird: Happy New Year.
Therese Belivet: Happy New Year.
Carol Aird: Harge and I never spend New Year's Eve together. Always a business function. Always clients to entertain.
Therese Belivet: I always spend New Year's alone. In crowds. [pause] I'm not alone this year.

Carol Aird: [leans down and kisses Therese] You're trembling.
[Carol reaches to turn off bedside light]
Therese Belivet: No, don't. I want to see you.

Therese Belivet: What town is this again? [the morning after they first made love]
Carol Aird: This? Waterloo. [laughs] Isn't that awful?

Carol Aird: I wish I… Have you h… heard something?
Abby Gerhard: From Therese? No. She must have started her job at the Times, though.
Carol Aird: [takes a deep drag on cigarette] I should have said, "Therese — wait."

Carol Aird: Do you hate me, Therese?
Therese Belivet: No. How could I hate you?
Carol Aird: Abby tells me you're thriving. You've no idea how pleased I am for you. And you look very fine. You know? As if you've suddenly blossomed. Is that what comes of getting away from me?
Therese Belivet: No.

Carol Aird: The apartment's a nice big one. Big enough for two. I was hoping you might like to come live with me, but I guess you won't. [pause] Would you?
Therese Belivet: No. I don't think so.
Carol Aird: I'm meeting some people at the Oak Room at nine. If you want to have dinner — if you change your mind — I think you'd like them. [Therese looks down, then again at Carol without responding] Well. That's that.


  • In bringing this book [The Price of Salt ] to the screen in his gorgeous new movie "Carol," Todd Haynes has, as filmmakers will, changed a few details, characters and plot points. (Therese is now an aspiring photographer, though still temporarily employed at the doll counter of a department store.) But Mr. Haynes and the screenwriter, Phyllis Nagy, have also done something more radical. In [Patricia] Highsmith's prose, desire is a one-way street. For Mr. Haynes, it's a two-way mirror. At once ardent and analytical, cerebral and swooning, "Carol" is a study in human magnetism, in the physics and optics of eros. With sparse dialogue and restrained drama, the film is a symphony of angles and glances, of colors and shadows. It gives emotional and philosophical weight to what might be a perfectly banal question: What do these women see each in each other?
  • Haynes sets the tone with a brilliant early sequence set in a Manhattan department store just before Christmas. We are in Eisenhower-era America, a time of new affluence and opportunity. This, though, is the Cold War era, too. The irony, very deliberately accentuated by the film-makers, is that US society is as rigidly conformist in its own way as the communist world. "Compliments of the season from the management," the shop workers are told as they are all given identical Santa hats just as the Christmas rush is about to begin. Little details – the near-identical clothes of the women shopping, the Big Brother-style tannoy voice telling customers what to buy – hint at how rigidly behaviour is controlled.
  • [Carol] seamlessly evokes the period by paying homage to the great photography of the time. It also creates its own unique cinematic language and pulls the viewer deeper and deeper into a world where something as simple as love comes at a staggering cost. Its delicate and precise exploration of emotion through color and light led us to discuss what it meant to achieve mastery of our craft. [Lachman] is, for us, a master and [Carol] is a masterpiece
  • To date, a queer-themed movie has still never won Best Picture, and those that do receive any kind of recognition prominently feature queer suffering ... The reason that Carol is unique and extraordinary is likewise the exact reason that the Academy didn’t deem it Best Picture-worthy ... The Price Of Salt was a landmark work of LGBT fiction, not just because it was published in 1952 (a time many Americans were unaware lesbians even existed) but because it didn’t punish its star-crossed lovers for their desires ... [the novel] leaves the door open for a happy ending ... What makes stories like the romance portrayed in Carol isn’t the ecstasy of queer agony but that there were real women like Carol Aird and Therese Belivet.


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