Movie Review - Phantom Thread
Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln and There Will Be Blood) stars as Reynolds Woodcock, a fashion designer in London in the years after World War II. He's one of the most prominent dressmakers in the country and possibly world. His operation is done exclusively out of his home, which is a multi-level, luxury townhouse in the city with a very incredible staircase. He employs dozens of seamstresses who assemble all his designs. He doesn't appear to have a factory with machines to mass produce his sketches. All his designs are hand-stitched. He also seems to limit his clients to the super-wealthy, including European royalty.
He's initially described as the most demanding man. He's later called too fussy. There's absolute truth in both. Reynolds is a very strict person in how he lives his life. He has a certain routine from which he doesn't like to stray. He's a perfectionist, which means if things are not done the way he wants, he gets really upset. He's also obsessed with his work, which is so consuming that it doesn't allow him much time for a social life.
He's still attracted to women, but it means he's not very giving in his relationships. He'll bring women into his home to live. Most of whom end up being models that he dates. It makes it easier for him if they have that dual purpose, but even then, he still can't be as attentive to the women as they would like. As such, the women reach a breaking point and leave him or get kicked out.
Alma becomes the love interest for Reynolds. The two even marry, but other than Alma's physical measurements, we never learn anything about her. We never even see or hear from Alma's family when she marries Reynolds. Maybe, Anderson wanted her to be a mystery to keep us guessing about what she might do, but he ran the risk of us not caring about her when she did do anything, which was my problem with her characterization.
Much talk has swirled around the fact that this film was going to be the swan song for Day-Lewis as an actor. He's supposely retiring after this. If that's the case, he won't go out on a bang. Aside from being one last favor for Anderson, I don't see the great appeal about this character. There is a twisted romantic aspect to this story, but, again it's so imbalanced in that we learn practically nothing about Alma that I didn't see the point. It simply came down to me not seeing why she was attracted to him. Was it the money, the power or the sex? I wasn't sure.
Rated R for language.
Running Time: 2 hrs. and 10 mins.
In Select Theaters.
In Philly and DC on January 12.
In More Theaters on January 19.