Saturday, 3 February 2018

Phantom Thread



After watching a film the critics didn’t like much (i.e. Hostiles), and loving it, I watched a film the critics are raving about (with a number of Oscar nominations) and I didn’t much like it at all, even with the presence of one of the world’s greatest actors (Daniel Day-Lewis, who is phenomenal) and even being the work of a filmmaking genius (Paul Thomas Anderson). So much for predicting the film would surely have made my top fifteen films of 2017.

Phantom Thread is, without question, a brilliantly-made film in almost every way. The flawless acting and directing, the intelligent screenplay and the gorgeous cinematography and score make it easy to see why critics would adore the film. But Phantom Thread (like Lady Macbeth, which is also a brilliant film) just isn’t likeable: Its major characters are not sympathetic at all and the story is cold and twisted, with a subject matter that I find rather boring.

That subject matter concerns Reynolds Woodcock (Day-Lewis), a famous eccentric dressmaker in 1950s London. Woodcock, in his late sixties, lives in a large house with his unmarried sister, Cyril (Lesley Manville, who is terrific). He has never married because he knows he would not be able to remain faithful and because he’s a super control-freak who just can’t tolerate anyone for long except Cyril. But then he meets Alma (Vicky Krieps), a young waitress whose body is perfect for modelling his dresses, and she soon moves into the house. Alma is in love with Woodcock but it doesn’t take long for him to grow tired of her presence, until she figures out a way to rekindle his affections.

Like I said, the subject of high-society fashion/dressmaking is of no interest to me whatsoever, and while I loved watching Day-Lewis perform, his character (and the others) also failed to engage my interest. So there we are. Phantom Thread is a film that no doubt deserves the **** the critics are giving it, but for me there is something missing and I can only manage somewhere between *** and ***+. My mug is up, but the brew inside is not particularly tasty.

No comments:

Post a Comment