Phantom Thread is a brilliant portrayal of a passionate love story where too much involvement in one’s personal space deprives peace in the relationship.
Paul Thomas Anderson, the director, drops viewers straight into the world of Reynolds Woodcock, an extremely passionate and obsessed dressmaker. He establishes ‘The House of Woodcock’, with the assistance of his sister Cyril Woodcock, tailoring elegant dresses for the finest ladies of London. There is money, fame and success for him but love doesn’t last long in his life. His rigid ways and demeanour drive women away from him. Daniel Day Lewis’s portrayal of this trait fuelled by his charm casts a mean aura around Reynolds, for whom Cyril believes love is doomed.
The plot moves to the rustic countryside of England where Reynolds finds Alma serving him breakfast and is instantly charmed by her. Reynolds finds Alma to be perfect as his muse to try out his masterpieces. But Alma stays in Reynolds life for a period longer than any other muse and gives him everything he wants.
Alma, played by Vicky Krieps, is portrayed as a simple but strong character, deeply in love, standing for endless hours as Reynolds tried out his work on her. But when her love is threatened by the uncompromising and obsessive nature of him, she unflinchingly fights in her quest of loving him the way she wants, even if she needs to hurt him to do so.
The nimble notes of the piano and the elegant background of the house, with beautiful and intricately woven dresses, manage to overshadow the slow pace of the movie, containing long but eloquent pauses to a certain extent.
The plot seems predictable in the beginning, but the uncanny twist in the middle is a work of a genius. The way Phantom Thread depicts the dark passion of love through a fusion of art and fashion, the true nature of the human self shrouded with insecurities, the need for love when the mask is removed and all that is left is a raw and tender heart, is definitely worth an Oscar.