Carol is a romantic drama set in the American 1950's. Women's rights are limited as are their social standing, which makes it that much harder when Therese Belivet (played by Rooney Mara) falls in love with another woman, Carol Aird (played by Cate Blanchett).
Now the plot of the film is pretty straight forward, but there's extra tension added in with Carol being married to a somewhat aggressive husband—he's a man who just wants the perfect family, but he happened to marry a lesbian, and he has no idea how to deal with it—and Therese not being entirely comfortable with her own sexuality. What makes these themes so enjoyable is that their not spelled out for us. Therese doesn't voice her sexual confusion through some forced monologue with her best buddy over the telephone, or some other forced conversation. Instead we're shown this confusion with the constant men trying to woo here. Therese follows their requests for dinners and dates, but her interest is never really there, and the men are often blind to her indifference with the relationship.
The only issue I had with the film is that it is a slow burn, and the payoff isn't big enough to justify the pacing. It could have used some trimming. But that being said, the performances are very strong, as is the cinematography. Both of which add to the somber mood and world that the film creates.