Before seeing this movie, I didn’t know what to think. All I saw was kind of a romance story about an older man, who is a dress maker, in a relationship with a younger woman and they have a lot of problems. It honestly didn’t look very riveting.
Either way, here’s the cast. Starring, we have Daniel Day-Lewis (LINCOLN , THERE WILL BE BLOOD , and GANGS OF NEW YORK ), Vicky Krieps (COLONIA , A MOST WANTED MAN , and HANNA ), and Lesley Manville (MALEFICENT  and A CHRISTMAS CAROL ).
Now for the crew. Writing, directing, and the film’s cinematographer is Paul Thomas Anderson, known for INHERENT VICE (2014), THERE WILL BE BLOOD, and BOOGIE NIGHTS (1997). Composing the score is Jonny Greenwood, known for INHERENT VICE, WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN (2011), THERE WILL BE BLOOD, and the upcoming YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE (2018). Finally, the editor is Dylan Tichenor, known for STRONGER (2017), THERE WILL BE BLOOD, and THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS (2001).
Overall, I can’t tell if this will be good or bad. But… my uncultured swine self could use a high society movie once in awhile.
This is my honest opinion of: PHANTOM THREAD
Set in London, circa the 1950s. Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) is a dressmaker, one of the most sought after in all the world, working alongside his partner and sister, Cyril (Lesley Manville). Brilliant and elegant as he is in his designs, he is also a man of habit and prefers his personal life to go in specific patterns throughout his day when he isn’t working, chief among them, silence. But as of late, he’s had an empty space in his heart and after a stressful day of work, he takes a small trip to the countryside. While there, he eats at a restaurant where he meets the younger and lovely waitress, Alma (Vicky Krieps). As sparks fly, he eventually brings her back to London to live with him. But as he soon discovers, Alma isn’t as quiet-loving as he is and comes from a less eloquent lifestyle, which ultimately throws his routines in slight dismay.
My summary probably made this sound a whole lot more interesting than this movie really is. Yes yes, “Best movie of year,” the critics say! 8.8 out of 10 on IMDb! And you know what? I don’t really get it. This movie bored me and couldn’t keep my interest past the ten to fifteen minute mark.
Let’s start with that first ten to fifteen minutes. At first, it was very compelling, actually. I don’t know what it was, but the way it was filmed, the camera angles, the framing, Jonny Greenwood’s musical composition, the way the characters interacted with each other… it felt like it was supposed to be a movie made in the 1930s. I don’t know, if you saw the movie in black and white, try and convince me that it doesn’t make a little too much sense. I haven’t the slightest idea if this was intentional or serendipity, but I found myself strangely drawn into the movie. I wasn’t really following the story and everyone was talking so softly that I couldn’t hear them, but the simple aesthetic was enough for me to sit patiently and wait for the plot to kick off.
When it does, that’s when the… compulsion dissipates for me.
The more I think about the story’s premise, the more I think it should have been a romantic comedy. Think about it. A man who like quiet and tranquility meets a woman who disrupts that by being a little more crude and loud, sometimes unintentional, sometimes very intentional. Sounds like there’s some comedic possibilities, right? But that’s not the genre of the story. It’s a straight-arrow drama and as a result, it wasn’t very interesting.
And that’s the best way to describe this film for my tastes: boring. I didn’t find any of the characters interesting or all that likable, the writing was surprisingly basic, the story as a whole bounces from being confusing, to mildly frustrating, with some surprising unintentionally funny moments thrown in. There’s a scene where Reynolds is inspecting a dress on a mannequin and says, “Good work ladies,” followed immediately by, “No it’s not. It’s shit,” and then immediately prat falls on it, gets up, runs upstairs to his bathroom and vomits. We learn that he was poisoned (it’s not as dramatic as it sounds), but in that moment falling on the dress, there’s no indication of his deteriorating health. It looks like Day-Lewis just had enough of trying to act and just hurled himself at the dress in lazy defiance. He stands up normally, goes up the stairs just fine, there’s absolutely no indication that he’s unwell, just… a series of random mishaps happened for no reason.
The final five minutes are also unbelievably funny to me. So after Reynolds recovers from being poisoned and goes back to being an ass Alma, she poisons Reynolds again, sits at the table while he’s eating his poisonous mushroom soup, or whatever it was, and admits everything to him. She’s all like, “I poisoned you because I was able to take care of you how I wanted,” or something to that effect. Reynolds has the blankest of expressions and the camera holds on his look for such a long time, and then says, “I love you, kiss me now before I vomit.” What the fuck did I just watch?! I couldn’t stop laughing it was so bat-shit insane.
Overall, with the exception of the opening titles, and two other unintentionally funny moments, I can’t say that I enjoyed this movie. It was pretentious and boring. Oh, I’m sure some smart person out there will be like, “It’s about insecure masculinity” or whatever, but honestly, nothing about the movie’s characters will back it up. No one’s interesting or likable and were it not for the unintentional comedy, this movie would be utterly forgettable. If you had a great time with it, as I guess a lot of people did considering the current ratings and reviews, then good for you. But I didn’t like this movie and I don’t recommend it. I can’t call it the worst film I’ve ever seen, nor is it even the worst of this year, but still, not for me. But it’s probably going to get a ton of Oscar noms, so if you’re that curious, save it for a rental or a streaming service. Unintentional comedy accidentally woven into this boring romantic tapestry.
My honest rating for PHANTOM THREAD: a weak 3/5