Todd Haynes sacrifices in order to document the process of sacrificing - of relinquishing that which we are convinced makes life worth living so as to actually make life worth living. He abandons his artifice, as seductive as it was, and creates a film that exists purely for the beauty and the wonder and the self-satisfaction of itself. To watch Carol is to participate in that satisfaction, one of emotional yearning and physical sensuality, of tension that tingles in its intensity only to yield to resolution of equal intensity. The characters sacrifice so much to surrender to this satisfaction, to do as never was done in 1950s America, to have the courage simply to embrace pleasure and to express and assert independence - this film must be an exquisite, exciting emotional experience for anyone who watches it, but it's especially so for someone who knows what these sacrifices take, and what the irresistible lure of forbidden, true, honest love feels like. The film itself is an embrace, one of immaculate design that communicates a vast wealth of sensitivity in its framing, its performances, its sound design, Haynes' breathtaking (it literally took my breath away) delicacy as he stages a gesture or a glance with full comprehension of the significance that such intimate moments can hold. The dialogue, by Phyllis Nagy from Patricia Highsmith's novel The Price of Salt, expresses itself with a concision that recalls Ingmar Bergman at his best, perhaps in another exploration of the female mind, Cries and Whispers, whose aesthetic sensuality Ed Lachman's photography itself recalls. A film of total, unequivocal beauty, as much in its technical design as in its emotional design.