Phantom Thread is a multi dimensional film in my opinion. This 130 minutes long movie doesn’t reveal its conflict that easily. It takes time and an effort from our end to identify the crisis here and what you get at the end is a mysterious and fascinating love story. The characters in this movie aren’t really likeable as each sort of has this self centered nature somewhere. But what Paul Thomas Anderson ultimately achieves here is captivating and thus this last film of the phenomenon named Daniel Day-Lewis becomes an intense drama.
Reputed fashion designer Reynolds Woodcock is our main protagonist. Women die to wear the dresses he designs and the old man has been doing this with the help of his sister Cyril. At one point Woodcock gets to meet this girl named Alma and he immediately fell for her. Soon she became a part of his life and the diversity in their life discipline starts to create some issues. How this conflict is addressed is what this movie talking about.
Phantom Thread goes through a whole lot of emotional ups and downs. At the end of it all it is about the love between two people who are so different. The difference between them will make us wonder why they want to hold on to each other and in a dramatically unexpected way, when we are sort of giving it those dark shades, Paul Thomas Anderson throws the intense love angle of his vision at us. It is disturbing to digest in the first watch. But it took some time for me to digest the fact that this can also be a version of a romantic equation.
The fabulous Daniel Day-Lewis captures the essence of the character with ease. From the meticulousness of a designer to that compromising lover he shapes the character of Reynolds Woodcock smartly. Lesley Manville is another performer who manages to carry the role of a less expressive yet caring sister Cyril neatly. Actress Vicky Krieps whom I remember from last year’s The Young Karl Max was really impressive as this outsider Alma. That character has this adamant nature inside that innocent outlook. But she makes the romantic equation sensible with her portrayal.
This is Paul Thomas Anderson’s second film with Daniel Day-Lewis after “There Will Be Blood”. His way of composing scenes with the camera largely capturing the performance of the actor in a static frame is evident here too. He uses random camera movements only when the leading man is emotionally unsettled. Even within the slow paced narrative, he manages to create an intrigue in this content. He tricks us by adding that mystery element in the narrative and the sudden shift of that mystery towards a peculiar intense romance was surprising and that in many ways clears your queries about what Phantom Thread wants to convey. The production design and the cinematography give the movie the much needed visual signature. The background score gives more intensity to the less verbal exchange of emotions.
Phantom Thread, the last film of Daniel Day-Lewis is a mixture of skillful story telling and masterful performances. If you like watching those movies that dive in to the complex areas of human emotions, here is one movie that explores that with the help of great performances.
Phantom Thread, the last film of Daniel Day-Lewis is a mixture of skillful story telling and masterful performances.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended