Carol, adapted from Patricia Highsmith’s lesbian romance The Price Of Salt, is in terms of its performances and sublime execution, one of the most beautiful films of the year. Therese (Rooney Mara), a smart shop clerk with aspirations, falls for an alluring woman (Cate Blanchett) whose marriage is in demise. Understated in the best possible way, Carol drifts along at a steady pace as the connection between the women advances from friendly appreciation to profound affection. It’s wistfully romantic, the obvious apprehensions of the era making every motion – hand touches, concealed embraces – as consequential, if not more so, than the last. Blanchett and Mara deliver impressive performances, each of their characters fully developed and the chemistry between them alive with passion. The raw emotion is conveyed not only by the performances, but through Todd Haynes’ sublime direction, his skilled eye ensuring every camera angle, edit and pause counts in holding the audiences interest. Carol, in that regard, is an utter triumph – a film that, while poised and alluring, sizzles with real, bona fide desire, and all the pain, instability and intensity that comes with it.