4 ½ stars
“The lesbian Brokeback Mountain” is too glib a phrase for such a beautiful movie but I nevertheless found myself thinking frequently of the parallels to Ang Lee’s 2005 drama. Rather like Lee’s film, director Todd Haynes goes to great lengths to absorb the audience into a mid-20th century setting where same-sex love is hidden and shamed. Our protagonists represent gender stereotypes of the time (trophy wife and shopgirl) with intensely committed performances by the actors (Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara). A big difference in the story here is that our romantic couple does take the leap of faith and take a run at a real relationship (in fact literally!) and you do root for their success all the while fearing the inevitable reprisals.
It will be an instant classic that, like Brokeback Mountain, will transcend the “gay movie” ghetto to take its place among the great movie romances.