A Brief Introduction
Years in Review
Films Ranked: 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005
Current Criticism
Search Criticism
Past Criticism
Top 10 Lists
Notable Short Films
Contact Me

Phantom Thread

Director:  Paul Thomas Anderson
Year Released:  2017
Rating:  2.0

Fashion designer Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis), who is aided by his stern sister Cyril (Lesley Manville), meets waitress Alma (Vicky Krieps) and makes her his muse ... except her mere presence is an annoyance to his routine-oriented lifestyle, and they have a literal and figurative toxic relationship with one another. Anderson peddles in banalities - Mommy Issues galore in Woodcock, "Art is a jealous mistress" - but dresses them up with some mood lighting and coaxes his performers to deliver their lines as slowly and methodically as possible, as if to add 'weight' to the emptiness. He is smart enough to align himself with geniuses - he did, after all, adapt Pinecone's Inherent Vice prior to this - and Day-Lewis, unquestionably one of the great screen actors, makes his OCD-ridden perfectionist a cauldron of internal conflict (is "love" worth it?) ... but it's Alma who's so unsettling and lacking in a substantial back story (she's a textbook sociopath). If Douglas Sirk was still around and watched this, I guarantee his eyes would have rolled straight into the back of his head.

Return to the Previous Page

© Copyright 2019 Matthew Lotti.