Phantom Thread (2017) – The Sacrifice

★★★★½

Fashion, obsession, art, and superstition. In the 50s, some so many young women were afraid of the beauty myth. They often don’t believe that they would never get married in the future. But what about the dress designer for young women? No one knows. It may be that they cannot stand the behavior of their husbands who always take the rights of their people. However, some make their dress designs with very high art prices. They assume if they have succeeded in creating art.

Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) is very eccentric with the world of dresses as art. Wife and marriage aren’t something that has haunted his world. However, there was so much he hid. He just doesn’t want to get married so that his world fashion design doesn’t want to be destroyed by others. He thought if the wife was trying to destroy the world. When he made a dress for his late mother’s second marriage, each piece of work inserted many personal parts from the client. In essence, he only loves her mother figure thanks to the fashion world that has been led between the threads of clothing and dresses.

Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Phantom Thread” is a slow-burn romance drama unique love story yet also a little creepy. Imagine when the protagonist about his mother, trying to understand the meaning of such belief and trying to make the basis of creativity in his work. However, these works are what make him hate people and also himself. The actual romance in this film is the core of the story so that not much happens in this film. In contrast, betting after betting is always placed a lot so that turmoil, dynamics, and the connection between two characters are always bright and interconnected like stealth threads.

Woodcock, that’s his name, is a stiff person. She is very bad at romance even though it isn’t too bad either. He only trusted his employees and partners more because they had created his life. Woodcock is very thorough when talking and designing a thread and women’s clothing. But, he just didn’t explore much about his connections and personal lives. For Alma (Vicky Krieps), she is just an innocent cafe waitress and at the same time someone who attracts Woodcock’s attention. Alma is like an angel, muse, and inspiration for the protagonist too. Initially, everything went straight from Alma who began to pay attention to Woodcock’s behavior to how they continued to hold hands all the time. They don’t need an intense relationship between them. In other words, the main highlight of the film is the relationship between Alma and Reynolds Woodcock.

“Phantom Thread” is a film that is rich yet minimalist. There are a few collected epic sequences for a drama and romance film. With a very slow pace, you can also say if this is a dull and boring movie. The narration between one character is told by another character, the motivations of each central figure, and wise characters supported by many other characters. That’s probably the way I can explain what this movie is about. But, the artistic value and richness in minimalism is what makes me like this film and also Paul Thomas Anderson as one of the best directors in this era.

Reynolds isn’t a designer, at least, he considers himself an artist. It’s the same with people who always refer to themselves as film directors, book writers, painters, etc. as artists. The answer is very simple: because they create something to be valued. It’s not just a product. Many ideas filled Reynolds’ mind every morning. He just doesn’t want to be disturbed by small voices ranging from the way we eat, a lot of movement, to invite him to talk. He hates that the most. It’s not just about fashion. He calculated food, how he dressed, slept, and others. He is sarcastically very funny guy. However, he only saw people as chess pieces.

Woodcock is a rather introverted person. He always tells his partner to replace him when he has other matters. He also didn’t hesitate to order his girlfriend or wife. Woodcock did the commands because he was only bad when talking to others. Woodcock was afraid of his surroundings even when Alma left him at the New Year party, he felt compassion and envy of Alma’s life which was very open and friendly to others. He also didn’t want his art polluted and trampled by others. When he met with one of the clients who had a lot of problems, he didn’t hesitate to take forcefully on the clothing the client was wearing while drunk.

This film is very brave in taking difficult action and very much risky. However, such risk is what makes Paul Thomas Anderson tie it into the story. The character often takes wise decisions but is fraught with risks, especially the last sequence of the movie. When the movie ends, you know who the bullies and phantoms who often bother the protagonist. Maybe it’s the other way around or maybe it’s not what Paul Thomas Anderson wants. In essence, the connotation of it leaves a slightly darker, toxic, but also worthy at the end impression.

You know if Daniel Day-Lewis is on screen, you are always focusing on him. It’s also nice to see how Vicky Krieps is always pressed constantly with him. Like his last film, Daniel Day-Lewis is appearing dominant but tragic. You witnessed how the protagonist had to go through the dark times he always missed with his mother. He became everything as a personification in his life including the clothes he designed. For Alma, it’s important to her. They are the two who take unnecessary action to prioritize so many things.

It’s effective and makes the film more interesting even though you might think this isn’t a healthy relationship. Well, that’s called a toxic relationship, about how one partner just can’t give up, throw away, and hurt each other but can’t separate as well. “Phantom Thread” is a sad view, about taking control of yourself, about having difficulties, about using other people, and about everything. With such an amazing production and costume, this might be one of the best Paul Thomas Anderson films along with “There Will Be Blood”, “Magnolia“, “Boogie Nights“, and “The Master“.

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