“Phantom Thread” is a must-see with its carefully woven cinematography and unconventional love story.
The film, starring well-renowned actor Daniel Day-Lewis, was released on Jan. 19 in area theaters. Since Day-Lewis announced his retirement from acting this past summer, it is also most likely his final performance.
Much like a well-made dress, the cinematography is both soft and deliberated. It is accompanied by Jonny Greenwood’s similarly dreamy, jazzy soundtrack. Director Paul Thomas Anderson’s lush scenes are both pleasurable to the eye and easy to digest. Like the stitches in a dress or the notes in a jazz piece, there is an engaging storyline holding the beauty together.
Set in London, “Phantom Thread” explores just one of many relationships hidden behind the 1950s fashion world. Day-Lewis plays Reynolds Woodcock, a dressmaker who creates exquisite pieces for his high-class clientele. He has designed for himself a carefully organized routine, which is never to be disrupted, in order that his creative genius may flourish.
After growing tired of a former muse, he sets out for a countryside inn. Woodcock has been thriving in his meticulously ordered world when a young waitress named Alma (Vicky Krieps) begins to disrupt it.
Their relationship starts simply as artist and muse as he takes her into his home, but the threads slowly become entangled. Alma tugs at the strings of power, desiring a bigger role in Woodcock’s life than that of a muse. He holds on to his ritualistic lifestyle with clenched fists.
Beneath Woodcock’s careful exterior, there is a haunting undercurrent of Freudian angst. To him, marriage is cursed. Yet Alma’s bizarre tactics soften him, and a fascinating, somewhat perverse romance unfolds.
The film delves into how our deepest desires spur us into action, albeit strange ones. Ultimately, the romance played out is a delicate balance of wills embellished with lace detailing.