Phantom Thread does not have any stories about magically cutting out an actor and replacing him a month before release. It is not relying on controversy with its casting decisions or pay decisions at all. Hell, it barely has any actors.
It only has one bit of PR buzz going for it. Daniel Day-Lewis, famed character actor has announced it will be his last film. He already mostly keeps to himself, coming out every few years to give an incredible performance before presumably hibernating for another two years. What would a man like this do with his retirement?
Get into metal music? Get into painting? Start murdering hobos on the streets of Chicago?
Who knows! I just know that DDL is capable of doing anything he puts his mind to, so we should all watch out for him in the future.
My money is on murdering hobos. Secretly of course.
Reynolds Woodcock (DDL) is a dress maker and pretty good at his job. He makes the best dresses, is super rich, and everyone in London loves him. Not his exes, because apparently he can be a dick. But everyone else.
His sister (Lesley Manville) runs the day to day operations of his business. But he still feels alone and often distant.
Well, one day he meets Alma (Vicky Krieps). A country waitress. He takes an interest in her, invites her to a date, and sure enough they hit it off. Once she moves in with him, she finds out that she is going to be treated like all the other ladies he brings home. She will be abused emotionally while he uses her as a muse, demanding of her more and more.
Well Alma is not the type of girl to just roll over and take it.
He basically invented the trope about making a women feel bad to fit her into a dress.
Wait is that a thing?
I will be honest from the forefront. Phantom Thread put me to sleep.
Paul Thomas Anderson I can readily admit is a fantastic director. He has his visions, he writes his films, and he puts it on camera. He can usually get wonderful acting performances out of it too, hopefully telling a story others will care about.
But it was really hard for me to care about Phantom Thread. His last movie, Inherent Vice, really turned me off, being hard to follow along with not capturing my interest. But hey, I was fine with The Master. I was fine with There Will Be Blood. But his last two pictures were hard for me to care at all.
The acting performances on the main two fronts were really strong of course. DDL always delivers, and it was good to see Krieps, who I have not seen before, match his level. That is the saving grace of this movie. Acting wise, sure, it should be considered great.
This might be one of those films that takes multiple views to really appreciate. But I just know I probably will not ever go out of my way to try to watch it again. I know the twists, I know the oddities, and now I reluctantly say the only thing I got out of it is a few notches on my “watch all the things nominated for Oscars!” list.