The Couch Boys Review: “Phantom Thread”

(Focus Features)

By Brennan Atkins & Noah Barnes

Staff Writers


In cinematic history, Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Thomas Anderson have shown the world they are quite the director-actor duo. They blew audiences away in 2007 with the release of the “There Will Be Blood.” Both the actor and director have shown they are not afraid of getting into heavy themes and dark stories. In a way, they have mastered the show-not-tell method.

There are definitely distinct themes that audiences will take away from the film, but Paul Thomas Anderson doesn’t shove it in their faces. “Phantom Thread” is another great example. It was refreshing to know they stuck to their old writing habits and were able to produce such a beautiful film.

The movie starts out with the most famous dressmaker in London, Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis), wandering his way into a small restaurant where he meets his lover-to-be Alma Elson (Vicky Krieps).

Reynolds is a bachelor who does not get along with most of his past lovers. This is due to him being extremely irritable and stubborn. This contrasts with Alma’s character quite well as she is fun-loving and compassionate.

The movie turns in an odd direction as the third character is Reynolds’ sister, Cyril, (Lesley Manville) who is Reynolds’ assistant and plays a heavy part in the relationship between him and Alma. The love between the two is confusing, and it will often seem as if there is none at all, but Paul Thomas Anderson always throws out hints that there is genuine affection between the two.

That’s really all that can be said about the film’s premise without giving too much away – this is a thinker’s movie. The script is specifically written to make you think and identify what is actually going on, and saying too much will ruin some of that magic.

The movie takes place in post-WWII London and focuses on the upper echelon of society. The movie does a great job of making itself feel vintage, which can be linked to the music and the lighting especially.

The film never breaks this illusion, and it came off as very natural. The house and all the rooms that the film features are genuinely beautiful and it really captures the British aesthetic.

The cinematography is drop-dead gorgeous. Every shot is beautiful, and the editing is woven perfectly just like threading a needle.

The movie is a romance, but this does not mean it’s not exciting. The movie is always keeping audiences on their toes, and always finds a way to bring up the unexpected. It has elements of humor that will inevitably make you laugh, but also has some moments where one might feel a bit creeped out.

The suspense in the movie is often unspoken, but it is always there. There are things that happened at the very beginning of the movie that will stick in your head for the rest of the film.

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