Director Paul Thomas Anderson paints an illuminating portrait both of an artist on a creative journey, and the women who keep his world running.
This drama is meticulously crafted, both covering and revealing vulnerable truths underneath. But it’s unsettling, too.
The world of Reynolds Woodcock – its silky elegance, focused discipline and fetishistic attention to sartorial and ritualistic detail – is captured behind a scrim of nostalgia and romance.
Set in the glamour of 1950’s post-war London, renowned dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock and his sister Cyril are at the centre of British fashion, dressing royalty, movie stars, heiresses, socialites, debutantes 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, 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.
I didn’t really know what to expect with Phantom Thread. With Daniel Day-Lewis at the core of the film along with Vicky Krieps and Lesley Manville it’s the complex changing of the dynamic between them that is one of the fascinating features of the film. Funnier and darker than I thought, it’s utterly compelling and fascinating going in unexpected directions all within gorgeous locations and photography. Stunningly beautiful and strange and wonderful. And the acting is very good. In fact, it was so good that I personally developed a severe sense of hatred for the character of Alma. And Daniel Day-Lewis did a great job impersonating the flake and snowflake of the designer. Somehow they found each other and lived off each other.
USA 2017, 130 min, rated M (offensive language)
Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Lesley Manville, Vicky Krieps, Pip Phillips, Richard Graham & Gina McKee