There is a model train in the opening seconds of the trailer for Carol, and it doesn’t take long to ascertain its destination: Heartbreak City. Director Todd Haynes’ adaptation of the 1952 Patricia Highsmith novel The Price of Salt tells the story of a love affair between two women in 1950s New York, and while an earlier teaser focused on their budding love, the trailer foretells its unraveling.
Cate Blanchett stars as the titular Carol, a smartly dressed, alluring woman trapped in a loveless marriage. Rooney Mara, whose performance earned her the award for Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival, plays Therese Belivet, a young clerk who falls swiftly for Carol. Complications—the taboo nature of their affair, a doting but jealous husband and Carol’s responsibilities as a mother—hang heavy above their love.
Throughout the trailer, narrated excerpts of a letter from the older lover to the younger—“Everything comes full circle,” “You seek resolutions because you’re young,” “We gave each other the most breathtaking of gifts”—signify that we know the end before we’ve seen the beginning. Which is certainly, for a movie that looks this beautiful, no reason not to watch it unfold.
Carol opens in limited release on Nov. 20.