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On digital: Phantom Thread — ‘a fetishist’s fairytale’

On digital: Phantom Thread — ‘a fetishist’s fairytale’

June 18
00:38 2018

Paul Thomas Anderson, 2017


Costume drama gets a toxic makeover in the latest from PT Anderson.

Daniel Day-Lewis is Reynolds Woodcock, a mid-20th-century London couturier with the prickly manner of a perfectionist. PTA knows how to spin an elegant yarn and takes to barbed English wit with gusto while Day-Lewis styles Woodcock as a spitting cobra in a cravat, out-venomed only by his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville). Into this serpent’s nest stumbles Alma (Vicky Krieps), a clumsy waitress from Mitteleuropa.

For the first hour it’s Pygmalion with a starchy twist (Prigmalion?), tensions rising to a steady simmer as Alma dares to push back. We wait for the sting in the tale but when it arrives the twist is so wrenching and, frankly, daft that the story comes apart, like a D&G dress with stitching by C&A.

The final act is a fetishist’s fairytale, held together only by the delicate handiwork of Day-Lewis.


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