Phantom Thread Review


Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lesley Manville, Vicky Krieps, Richard Graham

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

Synopsis from Rotten Tomatoes: Set in the glamour of 1950’s post-war London, renowned dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) and his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville) are at the center of British fashion, dressing royalty, movie stars, heiresses, socialites, debutants and dames with the distinct style of The House of Woodcock. Women come and go through Woodcock’s life, providing the confirmed bachelor with inspiration and companionship, until he comes across a young, strong-willed woman, Alma (Vicky Krieps), who soon becomes a fixture in his life as his muse and lover. Once controlled and planned, he finds his carefully tailored life disrupted by love. With his latest film, Paul Thomas Anderson paints an illuminating portrait both of an artist on a creative journey, and the women who keep his world running. Phantom Thread is Paul Thomas Anderson’s eighth movie, and his second collaboration with Daniel Day-Lewis.


If Phantom Thread could be described in one word, that word would be unbelievable, as in I literally do not believe some that people like this exist in the world.  I am sure there are people as crazy as Reynolds and Alma (Day-Lewis and Krieps), out there in life, but some of the actions done in this movie are absolutely insane.  This film is carried by fantastic performances by Day-Lewis and Krieps and a story that makes you question reality.

Day-Lewis plays Reynolds Woodcock, an eccentric, orderly fashion designer who meets and starts a relationship with Alma Elson.  To say that this relationship is dysfunctional is the understatement of the century.  Not only do these two rely on chaos in their relationship, but these two thrive in it.  While I originally thought that Reynolds was the main problem in the relationship, it becomes apparent that Alma is just as devious as he is.  One of her actions in particular is something that any reasonable human being would not tolerate, but Reynolds finds it to be one of her most romantic actions ever.  Even their first date is something that anyone should have ran away from.  If I went on a date and a girl and she said she was close to her dead mother and carries a piece of her hair sewn to her coat jacket, that is a flag redder than the Soviet Union’s, so I would cut all communication with her as she clearly has problems that I do not want to deal with.  Alma continues this relationship, which shows that she has as many problems as Reynolds.  The one concern I had with this film is that the problems are never formally addressed.  It never diagnoses our characters with Reynolds has this disease or Alma has this wrong with her, and just associates with it character development.  Regardless of what events have occurred throughout their lives, there are clearly some underlying issues that both of them have.  Disregarding the story, credit has to be given to Day-Lewis and Krieps.  Any actors that can give off the idea that they are literally insane in a movie is a display of elite acting.  This is nothing new for Day-Lewis, but I have never seen Krieps in a movie before, and I hope to see in more in the future.

Overall, Paul Thomas Anderson films are not everyone’s cup of tea, and this one is no different.  Maybe there is more to the story than I can understand, but I personally like films that have some sort of connection to reality.  The film is an excellent send-off to Day-Lewis, and as one fantastic career ends (allegedly), hopefully another fantastic one begins.

Overall Score: 7/10

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