Going in, Phantom Thread might appear like the Oscar bet of this season, with Paul Thomas Anderson behind the camera and the always impeccable Daniel Day-Lewis leading the action as Reynolds Jeremiah Woodcock, fashion designer and artist. However, and although it deserves more than one award, this could be nothing further from the truth. Phantom Thread is a really well-crafted and honest portrayal of a relationship and the time it’s developed in. Of course, one cannot expect anything less from Anderson – and this is him at his best – but the cinematography here is close to perfection, revealing the sophistication and personality of our main character in every shot, without losing emotional intensity for a second.
We get to know what happens through Alma’s eyes (Vicky Krieps), as she is Reynolds’s recent acquisition to his fashion family. In Central London, they spend the days running shows, designing and, of course, she wears the most glamorous dresses that any high society woman of the time should have in her wardrobe. Speaking about dresses, the costume design (although it might seem obvious) deserves some attention, not only because of the beauty of the products but also because they manage to transcend their meaning as a society’s tool to become an artefact that can transform any woman into a graceful and beautiful creature in anyone’s eyes.
Despite being a film about an almost cult, driven by a man – a matter already touched on by Anderson in The Master – it’s also true that the presence of women in Woodcock’s life is patent. They played a very central role in his professional and personal life; from his mother, who is always present in his mind to the stoic Cyril – played by the incredible Lesley Manville – and of course we can’t forget about the precious Alma, who was his biggest influence and the woman who would eventually turn his life upside down for the best and the worst. The complexity and dysfunctionality of this relationship is so magnetic, it’s hard to take your eyes off the screen for two hours and ten minutes.
Jonny Greenwood’s score deserves an Academy Award and he surprises us again with a perfect musical match; his score is full of delicate violins that touch the whole emotional spectrum from the dramatic to the tender tones. We can only hope he brings the Oscar home this year.
Phantom Thread is released nationwide on 2nd February 2018.
Watch the trailer for Phantom Thread here: