Ben Oliver

Banner image for Phantom Thread

Phantom Thread

Kiss me, my girl, before I’m sick.
19 March 2020

Reynolds Woodcock, a master dressmaker (Daniel Day-Lewis), encounters Alma, a young woman (Vicky Krieps) who becomes his lover and muse. Their relationship goes through several twists and turns as his exacting nature clashes with her strong will.

The opening establishing shots are a sight to behold, setting the pace and tone of the film in a few clever, carefully picked shots. No clunky exposition to be seen here, every cut is like stepping deeper into Woodcock’s life until you are fully immersed.

Just like a Woodcock dress, Phantom Thread is a work of staggering beauty and obsessive detail. It is clear that every word, every sound and every frame has been pored over, and the result is not an overworked mess but an elegant and attractive film.

Jonny Greenwood’s score is spellbinding and evocative. Every performance is nuanced but magnetic. The screenplay takes us on a journey but never tries to exploit the audience for tears. The dynamic between the characters keeps us guessing and re-evaluating what we think we know.

Paul Thomas Anderson seems unable to make bad films, and this is yet another inspired masterwork. It takes real confidence to make a film like this - Phantom Thread is quite a change from his usual fare - and only someone at the very top of their game could make it work. A must see, and possibly one for the ages.