Movie: The Phantom Thread
My Rating: 3 stars
Now, I don’t want to sound like a total curmudgeon, but it may be inevitable in this case. Because, I thought this movie was pretty darn snoozy. The Academy loved this film. People loved it too (or they said they did . . . maybe in an attempt to present themselves as sophisticated and cultured). But, as the years have gone by, and I’ve viewed more and more of the films the Academy has decided to grace with an award nomination, I’ve been come pretty suspicious of the whole system. Are decisions being made based on industry politics? Are people afraid of looking dumb if they say they didn’t like a critically acclaimed movie? Or maybe people are genuinely dazzled by these stuffy pieces with their fancy clothes and British accents. Of course, this is just my cynical take on the whole industry. But, let me give you the synopsis, and just see if you can conjure up any interest.
This movie is about a very persnickety fashion designer, Reynolds Woodcock. He creates immensely formal evening wear. His work is in very high demand, but it seems like that’s due more to its exclusivity than the aesthetics. Now, every designer needs a muse, and this guy burns through a lot of them. We enter his life just as he’s getting tired of his last model, and becoming intrigued by a new girl, Alma. And, we get to ride the highs and lows of Reynolds’ erratic mood swings right alongside Alma. So, if we put aside all the set-dressing of clothing and the fashion industry, we see that this is essentially a movie about an emotionally abusive relationship—codependent city, population: 3. (Because, Reynolds’ creepy older sister Cyril is always hovering in the wings, ready to swoop in to micromanage the relationship). It’s a bit of a slog. But then, I don’t typically go in for dramas.
I had a hard time with this movie. It was a total snoozefest. But, I’m fully willing to consider that it may be due to my general distaste for serious dramas, with all the emotionally loaded gazing into the mid-distance, and meaningful silences. So, please feel free to get a second opinion from someone who’s into this kind of drama. Or, from someone who is really into the fashion element. Perhaps my synopsis may have actually stirred up some interest in you. In which case, watch this movie with my blessing. But, in my opinion you can get all you need out of this film by looking up pictures of the dresses, and reading a plot synopsis online.