Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Writer: Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring: Vicky Krieps, Daniel Day-Lewis, and more.
My last two reviews for my Oscars 2018 run seem to be quite strenuous to me due to my perspective on the films. Here we have “Phantom Thread” and next up we have “The Post”. While I will not directly say that they are bad films, they do not directly appeal to my taste in films. Despite my early skepticism, I was determined to find quality hidden in the seams.
“Set in 1950’s London, Reynolds Woodcock is a renowned dressmaker whose fastidious life is disrupted by a young, strong-willed woman, Alma, who becomes his muse and lover.”
Upon finishing “Phantom Thread” I was a tad conflicted in my overall reception of the film. On one end, there were a few elements to the film that made me appreciative of the craft and performance put into it. Yet on the other hand, the pacing and story of the film exhausted me and in no positive sense of the term.
For the positives, Daniel Day-Lewis as Reynolds Woodcock was a sublime performance to watch. As always, he performs with such grace and excellence from his every spoken word to the subtlest stare. His counterpart, Vicky Kreips, playing his love interest, Alma, was also a strong standout part of the film. Her character was strong, determined, and challenging. She stood her ground against Reynolds as he tried to push his way of life onto her and she had none of it. This relationship and these characters were enough to enjoy the film at the very least.
Aside from Vicky and Daniel, “Phantom Thread’ felt like a classic styled film. Now this style both was a positive and negative from my perspective. For one, it was done well. I felt as if I was being transported into a different time period. Yet, on the other end, I find these classic film styles uninteresting. If I want to watch a classic styled film, I will watch a classic film. I do not want to watch a 2017 or 2018 dated film formatted in the style of Hitchcock or anything of the same likeness.
As I said in the intro, my early assumptions lead me to think that I will not be interested in this film. It seemed like it could be boring and slow. Well, that prediction stood true. A few quick-witted comments that were comical and the performances of Daniel Day-Lewis and Vicky Kreips were only so enticing for so long. The story of the film and its pacing were just too exhausting to sit through. By the end I felt like I watched a two hour film focused on an arguing couple. Few elements invested me into the film but otherwise, it was far too slow and uninteresting to pull me in and get behind “Phantom Thread”.
I can not deny the quality that “Phantom Thread” possesses but my reception ultimately is affected by my disinterest in the style of the film and its pacing. This film is for those who welcome and love an old school styled film and/or an audience that enjoys a dialogue heavy film. Overall the story was not of my taste but the performances of the two leads, especially Vicky Kreips, was enough to warrant a positive rating. Who knows, maybe I missed something within the story but when it came down to it, by film’s end, I was not impressed.