Film Review: ‘Phantom Thread’ is Both Beautiful and Muddled

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CHICAGO – There is a certain beauty in human creation, and the fashion industry allows that we can be individual in the sense of our clothing choices. The perfection that those creators attend to is nicely defined in “Phantom Thread,” but as an exploration of their personal life, it is frustrating.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.0/5.0
Rating: 3.0/5.0

This is the unique auteur mind of Paul Thomas Anderson (“The Master,” “Inherent Vice”) and the way he approaches his film topics is mind altering. It’s always fascinating to try and interpret his often anti-hero films, and they always fall into one category… The Films of Paul Thomas Anderson. “Phantom Thread” is an obsessive movie, about the machinations of a fictional designer of fashion (portrayed by Daniel Day-Lewis, in what he is saying is his final on-screen role) in post-war 1950s London. The centerpiece of his adventure is about a relationship with a woman who he cannot live without, despite being characterized as somewhat asexual and with a healthy disregard for other people in general. That relationship forms the basis of the story, but it is both unwieldy and unsatisfying. Surrounding this lack-of-function couple is a beautiful world of fashion form (photographed by Anderson himself). As a film, it is a particular and peculiar experience, but as an insight isn’t as successful.

The House of Woodcock is iconic fashion in 1950s London, run by the fussbudget compulsion of designer Reynolds Woodcock (Day-Lewis) and his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville). His career is ebbing, as fashions are starting to change, and in the midst of this change he meets a waitress named Alma (Vicky Krieps). His attention is momentarily distracted, and they begin a relationship.

The relationship becomes based in a cat-and-mouse game between the two, as they claw at each other’s psyche. Essentially Woodcock dismisses the otherness of Alma, and eventually Alma begins to understand how to manipulate Woodcock. This is lathered, rinsed and repeated throughout the story of the film, providing for both of them significant life lessons.

”Phantom Thread” continued its limited release in Chicago on January 12th, and will release nationwide on January 19th. See local listings for theaters and show times. Featuring Vicky Krieps, Lesley Manville, Sue Clark, Joan Brown and Harriet Leitch. Written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. Rated “R”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Phantom Thread”

Thread1
Alma (Vicky Krieps) and Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) in ‘Phantom Thread’
Photo credit: Focus Features

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Phantom Thread”

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