Set in 1950s London, the film follows two main characters. Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) is a respected Dressmaker and Artist. After he gets rid of his current guest and dress model, he soon discovers a young waitress Alma (Vicky Krieps). Shortly after meeting her, Reynolds discovers that Alma is strong-willed and will become his new muse. Perhaps the two may even become something more…
It should be no secret to Daniel Day-Lewis fans that when this actor takes on a role, he well and truly commits over 100% and will live the life of the character before the film begins shooting. Daniel Day-Lewis has transformed himself into Reynolds Woodcock, even to the specifics of mannerisms while dressmaking, his body language or sketching ideas. His work in this film is simply incredible and enjoyable to watch.
The character of Reynolds is demanding with how his work is conducted, but also has routines that must be completed his way or else his entire daily process is ruined and cannot be undone. With this in mind, it was enjoyable to watch a new person entering Reynold’s life and see the challenges she daily faces just by working and living with him. As the audiences, we are also experiencing this with her. But regardless of personalities and possible flaws, the two begin a very interesting journey as love also brews between them.
Phantom Thread is creative with its film soundtrack and sound stage design. This is something that stood out for the entire duration of the film. The soundtrack uses a piano and other string instruments to create the film’s tension and suspenseful moments. The sound effects within each scene are also highlighted cleverly during key scenes. You will never see a more of a frustrating (and yet funny) scene than how Reynolds hears Alma’s eating as she joins Reynolds for breakfast. This scene is made funny and impacting with deliberate sound effects.
The performances by our two leads and the sound work are the biggest highlights and praises of Phantom Thread. The film does suffer from minor issues, including the film’s total duration, which I feel could have been trimmed down by a little as some scenes feel out of place and are not needed. One scene, for example, shows Reynold driving his car and then simply filling it up with fuel. Moments like these don’t actually assist the film’s plot or provide further character development. The film’s ending is also questionable. I feel the ending will leave audiences sitting on the fence and questioning for themselves if the outcome is, in fact, acceptable or even believable.
Overall there is plenty of cinema amazement to enjoy. The simple pleasure of our actors, costumes and sound design are worth recommending alone.
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Review Written by Peter Walkden