RATED - (R) -130-MIN-2017
Phantom Thread is a marvelously crafted piece
Not unlike the meticulously crafted dresses the main character Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) designs for the upper crust of London, (Paul Thomas Anderson's) new film: (Phantom Thread) is also impeccably made. With a name like Woodcock, you would expect the character to be a bit of a tool. He is. I must admit, that I wouldn't normally be excited to see a movie about this subject, but with Anderson and Day-Lewis involved, who previously worked together on Anderson's brilliant American Masterpiece: (There Will Be Blood), I was intrigued. I also knew little about it.
(Phantom Thread) is not for everybody, but if you surrender to the beautiful composition and story Anderson has crafted, the perfect acting by the three primary actors, along with another stunning score by (Jonny Greenwood), you will be rewarded with another unique and astute movie by one the most talented writer/directors in American film.
Set during the 50's in London, the movie tells the story of Woodcock, who spends his day's scribbling dress designs and ideas into a notebook, while an endless staff caters to his every need. Every morning, models and seamstresses line up to help fit and be fitted with his famous dresses, and he obsesses over every crease and detail, over and over again. He does it because he can, and the product sells to the wealthy woman who worship him. His sister, the equally distant and terse Cyril (a magnificent Lesley Manville) dotes over her brother, his appointments, and the details of his life, occasionally throwing a nasty comment to him over their silent and long daily breakfasts.
He frequently seduces one of the girls who stand and get fitted, until he has no use for them and Cyril is dispatched to shoo them away. It is a pretty good gig they have. Woodcock is not a bad guy. He is just spoiled by all around him, and he has grown rather accustomed to doing things his way, and not having to answer for anything because of who he is. Any interuption is not taken well by him. He knows each day by rote.
One evening, he decides to go to his country home. He stops by the local restaurant he has gone to countless times the next morning for breakfast, where he recites a rather a detailed and large order to a young waitress named Alma (Vicky Krieps) who seems both amused and intrigued by this dashing man. Each of his food requests are his advances. He asks her out for dinner and then asks her if she would stand for him as he creates a new dress. She is hooked and she says "yes." This is a fabulous introduction, with sly awkwardness by her, and foolish confidence by him. It is a masterful beginning to this strange tale. They begin a relationship, against the watchful eye of Cyril it seems.
But Alma is not your average girl who can be taken advantage of and then thrown to the curb. She has plans of her own, and Anderson's film is a slow, bubbling burn about three people who in many ways, need each other, but also have their own interests and intent for survival. It is subtle in many ways and properly brutal in others.
The cinematography, by Anderson himself, is moody, intimate, and stunning. Like so many of his films, it is hard to describe, but his movies stay with you. They are rich and dark, funny and insightful, and they always will surprise you. He is so original. While watching Phantom Thread, I was constantly wondering where this was going, and a pleasantly surprised that it never went where I thought.
There are scenes that are written so perfectly, acted so flawlessly, and framed so beautifully, that for many moments, I could appreciate the details of a dress, and how it is made. You get lost in this lovely movie, which has many hints of Hitchcock on it. Before I get to the actor, I just have to point out how great the two woman are in this movie.They are going up against one of the finest actors in film of all time, and they both are splendid.
You should see this movie.
watch the trailer: