Although The Price of Salt is a romance, it contains plenty of Highsmith’s A-Grade pulpy noir-ish tension, and Haynes’ film plays like a detective story with no detective, a murder mystery with no body. The love affair between two women – of different ages, “classes”, generations and responsibilities – is so forbidden that its enactment feels like a crime. Carol (Blanchett) and the much younger Therese (Mara) are lovers on the lam, criminals on the run.
Kyle Chandler and Sarah Paulson are both quite brilliant in the two major supporting roles; they too seem to get Haynes’ unique directive of acting both in the past and present at once (quite a feat!) The 16mm cinematography by Edward Lachman, and the stunning original score by Carter Burwell, are outstanding and should garner many award nominations and victories. Judy Becker’s production design is also faultless. This is one hell of a splendid, handsome movie.