The story goes: I went to see Carol on my own. Took BART to MacArthur and then walked to Piedmont. (Went to three different bookstores, by the way, bought a cool old pocket paperback of The Crying of Lot 49, Antonia Fraser's Marie Antoinette biography, and Kingsley Amis' Girl, 20.) When I stepped in to the theater, it was a matinee on a Saturday, I realized that of the two dozen folks there, I was the only dude. There was a dyke couple at the back who had obviously seen the film before, as they laughed at inappropriate times. It was as if they already had inside jokes about the film amongst themselves. There was scattered applause at the end of Carol.
I did not applaud. I leaned forward in my seat, shook my head, and said aloud, "Wow."
That last shot.
But it is more than that. Every element, from the score, to the art direction, to the cinematography, to the acting, to the script, etc, ... is absolutely perfect.
One of my favorite parts of the film is the way the script and direction fetishize some of Carol's clothes and belongings, making them sensual exotic magical tokens to a world that Rooney Mara's character, Therese, is desperate to explore.
And that last shot.