A stitch in time: Rashid Irani reviews Phantom Thread

Elegant visuals and Oscar-worthy performances from the ensemble cast make this worth a watch.

movie reviews Updated: Feb 01, 2018 17:14 IST
Rashid Irani
Rashid Irani
Hindustan Times
Phantom Thread,Rashid Irani,Paul Thomas Anderson
Phantom Thread follows a self-absorbed dressmaker, played by Daniel Day-Lewis, whose regimented life is thrown into disarray by the arrival of a new muse and lover.
  • Direction: Paul Thomas Anderson
  • Actors: Daniel Day-Lewis, Vicky Krieps
  • Rating: 4 / 5

Perhaps the greatest actor of his generation, Daniel Day-Lewis brings grace and elegance to his second collaboration with writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson (their first was There Will Be Blood in 2007).

Phantom Thread follows a self-absorbed fashion maven named Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) whose regimented personal and professional life are thrown into disarray by the arrival of a new muse and lover.

A confirmed bachelor and control freak, Woodcock works out of his residence-cum-atelier where a team of seamstresses, under the supervision of his spinster sister (Lesley Manville), stitch gowns for the who’s who of 1950s London.

Following a brief encounter, a beautiful young waitress (Vicky Krieps) becomes an inseparable part of the dressmaker’s ‘family’.

Day-Lewis burrows into his role with characteristic intensity; Vicky Krieps really should have been nominated for an Oscar for her performance.

There is no denying Anderson’s visual dexterity (the luminous close-ups are especially striking) or his ability to elicit sterling performances from the ensemble cast.

Day-Lewis burrows into his role with characteristic intensity. Manville is spot-on as the stern but sympathetic sibling. The accomplished Krieps gives an Oscar-worthy performance; it seems unjust that she was overlooked in the nominations.

The contributions of Anderson’s regular music composer Jonny Greenwood and costume designer Mark Bridges are also worthy of kudos.

Sadly, the tactful restraint of the first half devolves into a Hitchcockian fever dream. The overwrought climactic sequences are more confounding than captivating.

Still, Phantom Thread is highly recommended for ardent admirers of Anderson and Day-Lewis.

First Published: Feb 01, 2018 16:24 IST