The Golden-Globe nominated film Carol has been lauded for its beautiful and realistic portrayal of a complicated love affair between two women in the early part of the 1950s.
Part of what makes the story so believable and emotional though, extends beyond the talented actors — both Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara star in the film — to the incredibly detailed sets created by production designer Judy Becker.
Becker, of I'm Not There, American Hustle and Silver Linings Playbook fame, explains in a behind-the-scenes featurette, below, that while Carol's scenes do conjure New York City in 1952 and 1953, this recreation is a far cry from the kitschy, pastel-tinted home lives that most people associate with that decade.
"This is not the 1950s that people ordinarily think of…with very bright colors and turquoise and pink and happy, sunny, nuclear families," she says. "It's the post-World War II 1950s, so it's almost like the 1940s." (Fun fact: The film was actually , not New York City.)
In order to bring the story's more gritty tone to life, as well as the reality of a "traumatized" post-war society, Becker relied heavily on color.
Colors like dirty pinks, yellows, and acidy greens, which she characterized as "unsettling" in an interview with , are mainstays throughout the film. Becker told the publication that the green color present in countless scenes, including the motel rooms, Therese's apartment, and Carol's home, was especially key because it "doesn't make you feel relaxed when you are looking at it. It helps create this tension between the characters."
The overwhelming majority of the colors used throughout Carol — whether on the walls, or the furniture, or accessories seen throughout the film — fit into that neutral, subdued color palette, which Becker said was done intentionally to draw greater attention to the few vibrant pieces in the film, including Therese's yellow and red hat, and Carol's red fingernails and lips.
The idea that a neutral backdrop immediately helps draw the eye to intentional pops of color is a favorite of interior designers as well.
And while the movie has only been out for a few months, it's already ranking up there with some of our most beloved set designs ever.