By: Movie Snurb (A Toast) –
Phantom Thread is the latest film from the brilliant filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson. It’s set in 1950’s London during a time of glamour. Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) is a dressmaker who is a renowned designer, and with his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville) is at the center of British fashion. One day as Reynolds is on vacation he meets Alma (Vicky Krieps), who disrupts his normal life and turns it upside down. It’s a darkly funny film about relationships and how people can change our lives, and realize things about ourselves.
PTA is hands down the greatest filmmaker of my generation. His films look like oil paintings dropped out of a certain time period. His films are a slice of time in the world but don’t feel like a period piece. PTA always gets the best out of his actors, whether it’s with the words he writes, his masterful direction, or even his brilliant camerawork. He lets his actors act instead of throwing in several cuts. He said in an interview that the best thing you can do on set is make sure your actors feel safe, because when they feel safe the actors will give a better performance. Also, get the actors’ input about their characters because the actors are the ones the audience will be watching. Not the director or screenwriter. PTAs words are so brilliant, the way he crafts certain scenes is really something to behold. Not only his writing but his attention to detail is astounding. It’s the lengths he goes to to insure the factual accuracy of his films. I could keep going but to prevent this review going on for 10,000 words; PTA is a brilliant filmmaker who now is his own cinematographer and to no one’s surprise Phantom Thread is gorgeously shot.
Because PTA has such a way with words his actors will give their greatest performances. Daniel Day-Lewis gave his greatest as Daniel Plainview in There Will be Blood. In Phantom Thread, he is again at the top of his game. It truly is a shame that he is retiring from acting, but at least he is going out with a great performance. The most surprising facet of this film is Vicky Krieps as Alma; she is a revelation. It takes a great talent to go toe-to-toe with a gargantuan talent like Day-Lewis and not only keep up with him but steal scenes from him. Don’t even get me started on that final dinner scene. Almost even more surprising is the humor in this film. I didn’t expect to laugh as much as I did. It’s a testament to the actors to pull off a feat of finding humor without losing the overall tone of the film. Not only the actors but PTA’s writing as well. Vicky Krieps with be a name everyone will know very soon. She deserves an Oscar nomination for her performance but I’ll be surprised if she gets it with how stacked this year’s Best Actress race is.
Phantom Thread is gorgeous in all aspects. The set designs are beautiful. The House of Woodcock is marvelous, it’s confined yet massive. Beautiful women coming and going dressed in the most beautiful of garments. The House of Woodcock is overflowing with beauty and class. Every dress in this film took my breath away. If this film doesn’t win for costume design it will be the crime of the century. The Flemish lace dress is a work of art. The music in this film gave me goosebumps. Johnny Greenwood of Radiohead is the composer and frequent collaborator of PTA’s. This is by far his best score. The gorgeous piano pieces expertly underscore the film’s relationships, set pieces, and costumes. Johnny Greenwood has not been nominated for his work with PTA but he deserves an Oscar nomination for this work.
In a word, Phantom Thread is exquisite. The music is magnificent, the costumes are gorgeous, the set designs are immaculate, the acting is a masterclass, and the cinematography is flawless. PTA is a brilliant writer, director, and now cinematographer. If you see one film this month I implore you to go and see Phantom Thread.
Phantom Thread (2017) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: for every beautiful dress.
Do a Shot: for every moment of genuine laughter.
Do a Shot: for every awkward dining moment (dinner & breakfast)
Take a Drink: every time Reynolds becomes distracted.