‘Phantom Thread’ Review

Phantom_Thread_PosterPhantom Thread is a drama film written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson that stars Daniel Day-Lewis, Lesley Manville, and Vicky Krieps. The role is to be Day-Lewis’ final performance before entering retirement. Set in London’s high-end fashion world during the 1950s, the story follows Reynolds Woodcock, renowned fashion designer, sharing a home and dressmaking business with his sister Cyril. After visiting the countryside, he falls in love with a young waitress named Alma, who becomes one of his models. The couple’s relationship goes well at first but soon devolves into a pattern of bickering and fighting. Daniel Day-Lewis turns in a fine performance as Reynolds Woodcock. The character has charisma and is a genius dressmaker, but also has an obsessive, controlling personality. He doesn’t like to deviate from his daily routines and hates any stressful or annoying tendencies. Reynolds shares a close relationship with his sister since they were children. Since Day-Lewis is a well-known method actor it must have been an interesting task for him to prepare for this role. Lesley Manville turns in a strong yet calm performance as Cyril Woodcock. Cyril manages the day-to-day operations of her brothers’ luxury fashion house and has significant influence over his life. She knows his routines and what he prefers. She is also quick to put him in his place when he gets out of line and is the only person in the film who is shown to speak to him in such a manner. Vicky Krieps is the weakest actor of the film turning in an awfully wooden performance as Alma Elson. Her character is pretty much overshadowed throughout the film and is pretty much just there to fill space most of the time. There are a few times where she shows off a gleeful innocence in her interactions with Reynolds, but they are few and far between. Paul Thomas Anderson does a good job directing with many of the shots looking beautiful and pulling fine performances from his actors. While the story is original and creative it does come off as a bit weird, making it hard to truly relate to the characters’ actions and motivations. While the relationship between Reynolds and Cyril works and has subtle hints of comedy; the relationship between Reynolds and Alma is not believable and happens too quickly. The film begins to drag in the middle and never quite picks up. I give Phantom Thread a Normal 5.5/10. The film could have been a fine thriller and it’s unfortunate Anderson decided not to go down that route.

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