SATURDAY, 8 SEPTEMBER – 7.30pm
2017 | UK/US | Romantic Drama | Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. Starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Lesley Manville, Vicky Krieps. 130 min. Rated 15.
Nominated for six Oscars and three Baftas, this post-war gothic romance featuring an egotistical London couturier might not seem on paper like a perfect pattern for a screenplay. But Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread, a tightly wound chamber drama that centres on love, loneliness and self-absorbed creative genius – not to mention obsession, fate and desire – has been deemed another masterpiece in the director’s filmography, which largely began with Boogie Nights back in 1997.
Most of Phantom Thread‘s action takes place in the Fitzrovia townhouse where Reynolds Woodcock (a brilliant Daniel Day-Lewis) lives and works with his sister Cyril (an equally brilliant Lesley Manville) and a succession of muses whom Woodcock casts away like faded scraps of fabric.
That is, until he meets his match in East European refugee Alma (the perfectly cast Vicky Krieps, a relatively unknown Luxembourger actress), who manages to find a way into Woodcock’s ‘sour heart.’ How Alma goes about this lends a unique bizarreness to an unforgettable tale, with many allusions to Hitchcock’s Rebecca, admist gorgeous frocks (multiple award wins for costume design) and a lush film score by Jonny Greenwood.
A complex, slow-burn melodrama, but not without humour, much of it arch, Phantom Thread deserves to be seen more than once.
Sadly, with this film Day-Lewis announced his retirement from acting.
“What kind of love story is Phantom Thread? The wrenching tale of a woman’s love for a man and a man’s love for his work. A dry, comic study of the asymmetries and conflicts at the heart of a marriage. A refined gothic nightmare in the manner of Henry James. A perverse psychological fable of unchecked ego and unhinged desire. That’s a partial catalog, and one that can’t quite capture how bizarre this movie is. Or how bizarrely true to life — to art, to love, to itself — it feels.” A.O. Scott, The New York Times (A NYT Critics’ Pick)
“I’ve seen Phantom Thread three times now, and each time I have been gripped ever tighter in its sublimely eerie and immaculately constructed web.” – ★★★★★ Mark Kermode, The Observer
“There is such pure delicious pleasure in this film, in its strangeness, its vehemence, its flourishes of absurdity, carried off with superb elegance.” – ★★★★★ Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian