Review of & # 39; Phantom Thread & # 39 ;: The furtive and twisted Romcom by Paul Thomas Anderson


The director elaborates an absorbing period piece apparently centered on the obsessions of a successful man, but in reality it is his opposite.


The filming of Paul Thomas Anderson oscillates between ambitions: overwhelming riffs of history ("Boogie Nights", "" There Will Be Blood "," The Master ") and curious and enlightening character studies ( "Hard Eight", "Punch Drunk Love"). His ambitious adaptation of Thomas Pynchon "Inherent Vice" tried to merge those modalities, but "Phantom Thread" really takes it away, with his most concise and endearing works in years, one that plumbs depths Dark and mysterious Andersonian to unearth a surprising degree of warmth lurking within.

He also surprises with his strongest female protagonist in two decades of movies.Although part of the hype surrounding "Phantom Thread" is due to Daniel Day's announcement- Lewis of his retirement after this role, the most revered Method Actor in the world meets his partner along with the impressive discovery Vicky Krieps.There is no doubt that Anderson has created a f unforgettable for his collaborator "There Will Be Blood" in the British dressmaker Reynolds Woodbad, a severe perfectionist of around 50 years who starts the immigrant Alma (Krieps) from the dark to be his model and muse. But Krieps, whose wonderful face holds the film, takes over this seemingly masculine narrative and makes it his.

Read more: Daniel Day-Lewis on & # 39; Phantom Thread & # 39 ;: Why his final film was a & # 39; Nightmare & # 39; to film

Few American directors create such absorbing worlds with Anderson's efficiency, and it does not take long for "Phantom Thread" to do the same: the film enters an operatic beginning, featuring the revered Woodbad House where Reynolds and his frozen sister (Lesley Manville, a study in frowning) executes an ingenious operation. Assuming the cinematographic duties, Anderson's camera captures the angular stairs and immaculate interiors as if they were the same doors of heaven, while the wonderful orchestral score of Jonny Greenwood faints. It is Anderson's most surprising opening sequence from "There Will Be Blood", an elegant bademblage of images on a par with the pristine technique of the dressmaker.

A world apart from the intriguing oil baron of "There Will Be Blood," Day-Lewis Reynolds is a humorless motor of pbadive-aggressive tics, muttering orders to the models at his disposal while his sister watches. In spite of his evident successes and the refined nuances of his mosaic, he is a lonely figure lost in his process.

However, her pbadion takes more subtle forms out of the workshop, which explains her ability to ignite the charm when she sees the immigrant waitress Alma as a young woman while dining alone one afternoon. It does not take an advanced psychobadysis to recognize Reynolds' greatest discomfort: he can not separate his life and his work, so an uncomfortable dinner with Alma quickly leads to an adaptation in his study. Instead of running away from the facilities, Alma is fascinated by the strange and insular world of Reynolds, and even faces the challenge of her sister's attentive gaze.

On the other hand, what option does Alma have? Reynolds is on autopilot as he becomes her muse, drawing her more into her world without opening, placing her at the center of a system that homogenizes her role. She is another body to wear her clothes, even if she happens to sit next to him at dinner and presumably shares a bed. (Anderson's camera never follows the couple to their bedroom, leaving the details of their badual chemistry floating in a fascinating and ambiguous state.) Krieps says little, but she looks … at Reynolds and the precision of his world, as well as the disconnection between the man who attracts her and the manic-depressive tendency that so often leaves him emotionally out of order.

"Phantom Thread"

Anderson's script hides within this unlikely pair with an amazing calibration of moods, from the sweet dynamic of his initial courtship to the growing discomfort when Reynolds rejects his attempts to take the control of your life. "I do not know what I'm doing here," he says, after a heartbreaking attempt to give him a birthday gift he receives a bitter reception.

While discovering it, the unique vision of "Phantom Thread" takes shape. Alma is a weapon against the very idea of ​​the artistic muse, a replica of a male presumption that cannily transforms into its own tool. Every time Reynolds tries to ignore Alma's intelligence, she quickly responds. While throwing witty phrases in frantic attempts to say the last word, Anderson dares to transform his dynamic into a dark twist in the clbadic screwball comedy. When Reynolds tells Alma she does not like it, she replies: "I like my taste ".

Their thorny confrontations become funny or shocking with ease, the melancholy uneasiness is diverted towards very naughty bitch with amazing fluidity. Reynolds is ostensibly an older and successful iteration of the dyspeptic head case that Adam Sandler played in "Punch Drunk Love," and Day-Lewis faces the challenge of embodying such emotional immaturity after so many characters on the other end of the spectrum. Marriage counselors will study the explosive ballad of Reynolds and Alma for years to come.

Anderson is so adept at deepening Reynold's fantastic relationship with his craft. "You can sew almost anything in a coat," he says to Alma, and in his case, it's a succinct manifesto: "No cursed." It is a shrewd indication of the spiritual foundations of Anderson's work. Despite the enigmatic ending of "Magnolia", the director has never made a seemingly supernatural film, but there is an ethereal quality in his narrative that always seems to be a few steps above reality. "Phantom Thread" positions Reynolds 'commitment to his work in quasi-religious terms as disturbing and strange as L. Ron Hubbard of Philip Seymour Hoffman in "The Master" and Reynolds' crisis of faith arises from Alma itself. If this is truly the last role of Day-Lewis, he has chosen an appropriate window for the frustrations of throwing himself into the play, only to realize that there is a bigger world outside of it.

As Alma's attempts to pierce Reynolds' armor reach alarming extremes, Anderson heats the frame. The film is both a Hitchbad thriller and a poignant portrait of what it means to live together with the artistic pbadion, and to be in communion with it, instead of being rejected by its extremes. Anderson, a meticulous director who controls every frame of his work, can surely relate.

"Phantom Thread"

The director's most accessible film in years, "Phantom Thread" is both an evocative period drama and a magical fable about solitary and solipsistic people who find solace in their mutual sense of alienation . Reynolds refuses to see his art reduced to purely commercial terms (a comic finds him flipping over the use of the word "chic"), but is more poetically inclined than he is willing to leave, and traps himself sometimes. when he reveals his true feelings.

The film occasionally encounters prolonged exchanges, almost too much in love with its premise focused on worrying too much about the plot, but it is never far from an enlightening encounter. One side in which Reynolds expresses the desire to "keep my bitter heart from getting irritated" illustrates how well Anderson has entered the paradoxical head space of his protagonist: it's about self-expression through art, but it never feels totally comfortable expressing The striking historical backdrop, a marvel of hand-sewn creations courtesy of costume designer Mark Bridges, exists only as an expressionist playground for the two players at the core of the film.

Read more: Breakout Phantom Thread & # 39; Vicky Krieps had no idea He auditioned for a movie by Paul Thomas Anderson

No matter where it falls on the specter of Anderson's precision filmography, "Phantom Thread" is undoubtedly in tune with all of the above. Anderson's leadership excels in facing tenderness against the harsh realities of self-absorbed pariahs. Reynolds and Alma are anything but a perfect match, but as the latest Anderson movies attest, dissonance can be beautiful.

Grade: A

"Phantom Thread" opens theatrically on December 25.

Source link