Strongly recommended. Carol, the 38th drama from Patricia Highsmith’s astonishing pen (Strangers on a Train, The Talented Mr. Ripley), is probably the most beautiful rendition of her work. The story, describing a brief lesbian affair, was beyond the pale of the 1950’s when Highsmith pseudonymously published it. According to her, it was written under the agitation of chicken pox and feverish would apply also to Todd Haynes’s (Far from Heaven) direction. I’ve rarely seen a movie tremble so with sexual tension. The skillfully constructed anxiety is built upon the ample shoulders of Cate Blanchett (The Aviator) . . . who sometimes gives me critical pause. Not here. And ditto for her prey, Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), who’s always good. Both are nominated for Oscars, along with Ed Lachman’s camera (Far from Heaven), Carter Burwell’s (O Brother, Where Art Thou?) music and Sandy Powell’s (Gangs of New York) lovely clothes.