There is no filmmaker out there with the similarly excellent consistency of Paul Thomas Anderson. Directing films like There Will Be Blood and Punch-Drunk Love is no small feat, especially when making them so truly marvellous and entertaining. How he keeps up this quality and consistency for excellence is beyond me, but it’s so great to have sat through Phantom Thread fully satisfied that this quality had been maintained.
For two hours of a story I didn’t really think I’d care for, Phantom Thread does some truly incredible things. It rounds off an acceptably amazing career for Daniel Day-Lewis, who sends us his farewell performance here, playing Reynolds Woodcock, a dressmaker who falls for his assistant, Alma Elson. Anderson doesn’t traditionally tackle romance, except in his own unique vision with Punch-Drunk Love, so it was no surprise that the comical hinderances the romance genre can provide are nicely subverted for intense weirdness and heavy storytelling.
Day Lewis is, as expected, superb in his leading role as Woodcock. He’s more or less the driving force of the movie, occasionally outshined by the talents of Vicky Krieps and Lesley Manville. The two supporting characters throw themselves into their performances, playing off of Day-Lewis in such tremendous fashion. There’s some form of eerie love triangle forming part way through the film, which is thrown out rather sensationally.
Instead, the movie focuses on the power struggle between Manville and Krieps, who both play off of each other in a spectacular fashion. Intertwining performances held together by their obsession and dedication to Woodcock, brilliantly put together with an incredible soundtrack and superb performances.
Everything that should go right does, in one of the rare cases where a movie could be classed as truly perfect. There’s not a flaw to be found, and if there were one to be found, Anderson has managed to subvert and hide them tremendously well. A phenomenal farewell to one of cinemas most dedicated and interesting actors, Day-Lewis provides one of his greatest performances of all, while at the same time paving the way for intense supporting performances.
Perfect performances, beautiful cinematography and a truly brilliant stroke of direction from Anderson, Phantom Thread comes together in exceptional fashion. Truly entertaining and immensely strong, it’s yet another Anderson classic. What more could you want?