Review: Phantom Thread (2017)

My ratingIMDbRotten Tomatoes
Numbers obtained from IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes on February 10, 2018.

One of the biggest surprises when the Academy Awards nominations were announced was the number of categories to which Phantom Thread was nominated. It is up for Best Picture, Director, Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis), Supporting Actress (Lesley Manville), Original Score, and Costume Design.

The Best Actor category was probably the safest bet, since this is allegedly Daniel Day-Lewis’ last film before retirement, but all the Best Picture nomination was definitely predicted by many.

Written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread focuses on Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis), a renowned dressmaker in 1950s London who sells beautiful dresses to the high society. His sister Cyrill (Lesley Manville) helps him run the business and is the only one who fully understand his needs and his peculiarities.

He is a confirmed bachelor, but he occasionally has muses. Right at the beginning, we see that one of those women has become a nuisance to him during breakfast, when he has a very strict routine that cannot be disrupted.  One day, however, he meets Alma (Vicky Krieps), who gradually becomes more than just a muse, even though he still treats her as if she was one of his regular employees.

The pacing is a little slow at first, with a lot of focus on the dresses and on his daily routine, but it picks up later. The score by Jonny Greenwood is absolutely beautiful and it definitely deserves the nomination, as the costume design. 

Daniel Day-Lewis is a delight to watch: the way he speaks, making pauses as he thinks; the way he meticulously analyzes each dress and model; his posture; etc. It will be really a loss for everyone not to have him in movies anymore.

My favorite character and performance, however, was Lesley Manville’s Cyrill: she is practical, professional, and has a great patience to put up with Reynolds and all his demands. (Just a curious note, for those who like fun facts about actors: she was previously married to Gary Oldman, who is also nominated this year for his performance in Darkest Hour).

The most controversial (and surprising) thing about this movie is its third act, when there’s a twist in the relationship between Reynolds and Alma. Without giving too much away, their dynamic reminded me of the main couple in Gone Girl, which left the audiences wondering how a couple could live like that. I have the feeling that this will happen to those who watch Phantom Thread as well. 

It was not the best movie of the year, in my opinion, but it is definitely worth to be seen, especially because of the music and of the beautiful performances. And the dresses. 


Brazilian lawyer that has more passion for movies, theater and music than for the law.

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