Carol is a 2015 romantic drama period film directed by Todd Haynes. The screenplay by Phyllis Nagy is based on the 1952 romance novel The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith (republished as Carol in 1990). The film stars Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson, Jake Lacy, and Kyle Chandler. Set in New York City during the early 1950s, Carol tells the story of a forbidden affair between an aspiring female photographer and an older woman going through a difficult divorce.
Carol had been in development since 1997, when Nagy wrote the first draft of the screenplay. British company Film4 Productions and its then-chief executive Tessa Ross financed development. The film had a troubled development period, facing problems with financing, rights, scheduling conflicts, and accessibility. Number 9 Films came on board as a producer in 2011, when Elizabeth Karlsen secured the rights to the novel. The film is co-produced by New York-based Killer Films, which joined the project in 2013 after Haynes's collaborator Christine Vachon approached him to direct. Principal photography on the British-American production began in March 2014, in Cincinnati, Ohio, and lasted 34 days. Cinematographer Edward Lachman shot Carol on Super 16 mm film.Carol premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on May 17, 2015, and was released in the United States on November 20 and in the United Kingdom on November 27. Grossing over $42 million on an $11 million budget, the film was praised for Haynes's direction and the performances of Blanchett and Mara, and was the best-reviewed film of 2015. Carol competed for the Palme d'Or at Cannes, where Mara tied with Emmanuelle Bercot for the Best Actress award. The film received many accolades, including five Golden Globe Award nominations, six Oscar nominations, and nine BAFTA Award nominations; as well as five Dorian Awards and awards from the New York Film Critics Circle, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and National Society of Film Critics. It featured prominently in several "best of" film lists, and was ranked by the British Film Institute as the best LGBT film of all time. It was named one of the greatest films of the 21st Century by the BBC.