This is a slender movie that Haynes gives plenty of antique atmosphere.
Haynes taps into universal anxieties about love and relationships without ever letting go of the sense of imprisonment that came with being gay in the 1950s.
Haynes maintains the film's temperature at a low simmer and expertly brings it to the boil, but while "Carol" builds to a scene of intense eroticism, it's mostly about all the things you can't reach out and touch.
This is about two people who didn't know what their lives were until they met each other, then scrambling, in their muted, buttoned-up way, to figure out what happens next. Haynes loves them so much that he believes they can. You will too.
J. R. Jones
As a love story this left me unsatisfied, though I enjoyed the lush period trappings and the flattering sense of how enlightened I am compared to people in the 1950s.
The lesbian affair at its heart is rendered with intelligence and care, and if there are speeches to be made, they are happily few, and far more personal than political.
Will love conquer all? Probably not. The bigger question is whether it will endure. The lush, beautifully acted and shot "Carol" answers this with a sweet smile.
"Carol" demonstrates that a period piece can engagingly comment on modern times.
"Carol" possesses the same quiet, catlike powers of its magnetic title character: It swirls around to ambush you ... and make you swoon.