Phantom Thread (2017)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Phantom Thread</strong> (2017)

(On Cable TV, October 2018) Let’s face it—a Paul Thomas Anderson film taking place in the 1950s British haute couture world isn’t exactly the kind of pulse-pounding excitement I prefer from movies. But Phantom Thread does work—by getting us insidiously interested at the quirks of a demanding fashion designer (Daniel Day-Lewis, up to his usual high standards in a familiar role) and then slowly leading us into a spectacularly dysfunctional romance that, we come to understand, is the only kind of love that will be deemed acceptable by such a person. As usual for Anderson’s films, there is a lot more under the surface than the tranquil façade will suggest—when it gets down to business, Phantom Thread has a lot to say about the toxic archetype of the eccentric genius and the toll they take on everyone else in their personal orbit. It may dress it up in fancy clothing, but it remains a character study and a commentary on the kind of OCD superhero (cranky but so competent!) that pop culture obsesses over lately. Amazingly enough, Day-Lewis finds a good sparring partner in relative newcomer Vicky Krieps, with different acting styles and temperaments complementing each other. While the film moves slowly, it does have enough moments of humour and gender-switched Gothic romance to keep things interesting. I can’t say I loved Phantom Thread, but I liked it quite a bit more than I thought I would, and that’s a praise enough for me.

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