12 January 2016 | 1:10 pm | Cyclone Wehner

"Carol is subtle and sublime — less a drama than a mood piece."

The much-praised Carol, up for multiple Golden Globes, is more than the tale of a forbidden romance between two women in '50s America. It's adapted from the furtively semi-autobiographical novel The Price Of Salt by Patricia Highsmith, the Hollywood favourite who wrote The Talented Mr Ripley and The Two Faces Of January, two psychological thrillers.

Young hopeful photographer Therese Belivet (played by Rooney Mara, who broke out with her role as Lisbeth Salander in the US The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) serves the titular Carol Aird (Cate Blanchett, on a high following her Oscar win for Blue Jasmine) when working behind the toy counter in a New York department store one Christmas. Carol, who has a daughter, is estranged from her boorish husband Harge (Kyle Chandler), and isolated. Carol loses her gloves and Therese, fascinated by her glamourous aura, arranges their return, leading to a friendship, then intimacy, as the pair embark on a symbolic road trip. Carol is subtle and sublime — less a drama than a mood piece, with exquisite direction by Todd Haynes (I'm Not There). But, while Carol ultimately satisfies, the pivotal characters appear distant, since Carol, mostly seen through Therese's lens, is never more than a chimeric cipher in a coming-of-age story.