AndersonVision Best Films of 2017: #2 – PHANTOM THREAD (Focus Features)
PHANTOM THREAD REVIEWED
“Phantom Thread” isn’t the P.T. Anderson movie that I knew I wanted. Pulling from the Archers, Douglas Sirk and a bit of Merchant/Ivory…Anderson creates something spectacular. Daniel Day-Lewis (in his “final” role) plays Reynolds Woodcock. Woodcock runs an innovative fashion house with his sister. Sister Cyril keeps the books and helps the business to function. All the while, Reynolds hides messages into his garments while remembering his dead departed mother. Things are going smoothly until Reynolds meets Alma.
Alma is a basic working class girl who offers nothing special to anyone but Reynolds. Cyril doesn’t seem to enjoy having her around, but Reynolds has a new muse. Cyril doesn’t get the attraction, but puts up with it until it starts interfering with their work. That’s when the movie makes you slow down to focus on Alma. Reynolds Woodcock is projecting heavily onto Alma, but Alma understands what he’s doing. Hell, she willingly uses the attraction to mine what she needs.
Reynolds needs a mother and Alma needs a lift to the upper class. Both people are willing to use each other, but Alma understands that she’s quite disposable. There is a freedom in being a bit player. You can move between stations and the major players don’t notice you. Whether it’s altering the integrity of food or taking over relationships…you get away with damn near murder. But, what do you do if your new target loves your malfeasance?
That’s the big takeaway from this movie. Is it possible to make a love story about two sick people that are perfect for each other? There’s no comical takeaway in this tale, but there is humor. After all, what’s funnier than trying to love the person who can kill you on a whim? “Phantom Thread” is the kind of romance that Hitchcock would’ve killed to make in his British cinema days.
- 2 hrs and 10 minutes
- Focus Features
RELEASE DATE: 12/25/17 (limited) 1/19/18 (wide)
The Plot Thus Far
Set in 1950’s London, Reynolds Woodcock is a renowned dressmaker whose fastidious life is disrupted by a young, strong-willed woman, Alma, who becomes his muse and lover.