Phantom Thread is a romantic drama set in London during the 1950’s.
Disclaimer: Before reading the review, please note that I am a massive fan of Daniel Day-Lewis as an actor. This may affect my opinion of the film and please take this into account.
Phantom Thread managed to captivate an entire audience for the duration of the film, allowing it to laugh and cry when the film dictates.
Phantom Thread focuses on the unconventional relationship between forever-bachelor Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) and waitress Alma (Vicky Krieps).
The script is well written, maintaining a decent pace and focusing on the important aspects of the story while giving small glimpses into smaller moments in order to flesh out the relationship. The script is also filled with aspects of traditional British sarcasm and humour, giving space for the audience, and film, to breathe as opposed to being bogged down in drama.
I must give extra credit to Paul Thomas Anderson for writing a script that does not hold the hand of the audience by filling it with exposition. At the same time, his sense of foreshadowing in the script is so subtly done that the audience can plausibly believe that they pieced together the plot threads.
Vicky Krieps as Alma (L) and Daniel Day-Lewis as Reynolds Woodcock (R).
Courtesy of Focus Features
The heart of the film is in the characterisation and the character relationships. The key factors in this are the performances by the three principal characters. As per usual, Daniel Day-Lewis gets lost in his character, fully embracing the ageing playboys struggle to adjust to his new relationship status quo. His use of subtle emotions demonstrates a character that is both reserved and relatively free-spirited. In my opinion, this is a masterstroke that allows Day-Lewis to demonstrate a range of emotions through a lack of emotion. Vicky Krieps stuns as Alma. Her ability to show power through action as opposed to through words makes her the perfect foil to Day-Lewis. Krieps also manages to not be upstaged by her cohorts, refusing to sit in the background, both as a character, and actress. I imagine that we will be hearing her name for many years to come.
“With an Oscar-worthy performance, Lesley Manville rounds out the cast with a stunning performance as Cyril, sister of Day-Lewis’ Reynolds Woodcock.”
With an Oscar-worthy performance, Lesley Manville rounds out the cast with a stunning performance as Cyril, sister of Day-Lewis’ Reynolds Woodcock. She anchors the film with her performance, steadying the rest of the action before the film truly hits melodramatic territory. The unrecognised fourth character in the film is the fashion. All of the clothing, especially the dresses help to tell the story of where each character is in their lives. It’s an interesting storytelling device that enables the story to be broken down into pieces that are digestible for the audience. These unspoken characters also focus the story, for the main cast. In terms of direction, the film is a refreshing break from the CGI-infused films that adorn the cinema screen. Paul Thomas Anderson utilises the camera as a storytelling tool, allowing the camera to tilt with a fall, or get lost in a crowd. This style of directing is a godsend as this immerses the audience in the film, adding to the emotional involvement of the audience into this story.
Phantom Thread is a beautiful, stylish movie that encapsulates an unconventional romance in a way that allows the audience to understand and get emotionally involved with the film. The films ability to captivate an audience is a testament to the cast and crew in the wonderful venture.
Number of times I looked at my watch: Zero
Recommendation: Watch this movie.