It’s an early moment from Todd Haynes’ ravishing new movie Carol, but you can see in this scene a great part of the tension and anticipation that makes the film so drunkenly romantic.
In the adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s seminal lesbian novel from 1952, The Price of Salt, Cate Blanchett plays a wealthy New Jersey housewife named Carol who invites the timid shopgirl Therese (played by Rooney Mara) to lunch. Carol is thanking Therese for returning the gloves that she accidently — or perhaps not accidentally — left behind at a department store while shopping for Christmas presents.
“I thought it might’ve been the man in the ski department,” Carol says in between drags of her cigarette, referring to who she suspected mailed the gloves back to her. “I doubt very much I’d have gone to lunch with him.”
The underlying sense of seduction in the scene is buoyed by Haynes and his longtime cinematographer Ed Lachman, who emphasize eye contact between the women — and its lingering effects — with careful framing and camera placement.
Carol opens in limited release on Nov. 20. Watch the clip below for just a taste of the visual and emotional feast the film offers.