Carol (Cert 15)
Starring: Rooney Mara, Cate Blanchett, Kyle Chandler, Sarah Paulson, Jake Lacy, Sadie Heim, Kk Heim.
Shrinking violet Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara) works in the toy section of Frankenberg’s department store. She has an adoring boyfriend, Richard (Jake Lacy), but her humdrum life lacks excitement until glamorous housewife Carol Aird (Cate Blanchett) sashays into the store looking for a Christmas present.
The two women exchange pleasantries and Carol orders an expensive train set. She leaves, forgetting her pair of black leather gloves. Therese kindly returns the items and Carol reciprocates with an offer of lunch.
Conversation is initially stilted, underscored with an unspoken erotic charge. The bond between the women deepens, kindling a passionate affair, which forces Carol’s estranged husband Harge (Kyle Chandler) to seek sole custody of their daughter Rindy (Sadie and Kk Heim).
Best friend Abby (Sarah Paulson) is dragged into the acrimonious legal battle and Carol pleads with Harge to let go of her and his bitterness.
Elegantly adapted by Phyllis Nagy from the novel The Price Of Salt by Patricia Highsmith, Carol is a masterful period romance anchored by Mara and Blanchett’s flawless embodiment of star-crossed protagonists.
The impeccable style of the era conceals a maelstrom of messy, raw emotion, which overflows in the film’s heartbreaking second act as forbidden lovers discover the terrible cost of their liaisons.
Director Todd Haynes is no stranger to the era, having considered matters of class and sexual orientation in suburban 1950s Connecticut in the Oscar nominated drama Far From Heaven.
He is equally accomplished here, rendering the emotional devastation in meticulous detail. Love tears good people apart and renders us heartbroken too.
Steve Jobs (Cert 15)
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels, Michael Stuhlbarg, Katherine Waterston.
In 1984, Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender) prepares to launch the first Mackintosh flanked by marketing executive Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet), one of the few people to tolerate his outbursts.
When the computer’s voice function glitches, Steve verbally abuses the development team while Apple CEO John Sculley (Jeff Daniels) watches from the wings, bearing witness to the birth of a monster.
Four years later, Steve continues to clash with his first girlfriend Chrisann Brennan (Katherine Waterston), who claims that he is the father of her daughter.
Professionally, he is on thin ice, poised to launch The Cube, which he already knows will be “the biggest single failure in the history of personal computing”.
Bitter defeat turns into sweet personal triumph in 1998 as Steve returns to the Apple fold, ousts Sculley and prepares to dazzle the world with the iMac.
Steve Jobs is an audacious character study in three acts. Oscar nominees Fassbender and Winslet are mesmerising as the titular maven and his right-hand woman, who take markedly different approaches to people management. Scriptwriter Aaron Sorkin explores violently clashing facets of Jobs’ personality through the prism of three key product launches with his trademark rapid-fire dialogue.
Director Danny Boyle works closely with cinematographer Alwin Kuchler to cleverly conjure the mood by shooting on three film stocks: 16mm, 35mm and digital.
Glimpsed through Boyle’s unflinching and sometimes unflattering lens, Steve Jobs paints its subject as an egomaniac, a visionary and a neglectful father with the same controlled brushstrokes.