Phantom Thread Reviewed By Jarred Tito

The Premise
Set in the glamour of 1950s post-war London, renowned dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) and his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville) are at the center of British fashion, dressing royalty, movie stars, heiresses, socialites, debutants, and dames with the distinct style of The House of Woodcock. Women come and go through Woodcock's life, providing the confirmed bachelor with inspiration and companionship, until he comes across a young, strong-willed woman, Alma (Vicky Krieps), who soon becomes a fixture in his life as his muse and lover. Once controlled and planned, he finds his carefully tailored life disrupted by love.

The Review
A superb film that achieved everything that you would hope for in this, Daniel Day Lewis’s final role in a movie. The story is loaded with situational humour which I found to be suitably dry, but soundlessly hilarious.

It is based in post-war London, in the early stages of what would now be recognized as the cutting edge of fashion.  From the ostentatious catwalks to the regal magazine shoots, we gain an insider’s look into the sleek and eccentric life of Reynolds Jeremiah Woodcock and his family’s dress making institution. 

Daniel Day Lewis is once again faultless and daring in his role as Reynolds. Although every role he has played has made a huge impression on the world of film and therefore likely to have been seen by most who enjoy well-made drama, he is always capable of reinventing himself into a perfectly formed character which is just right for the role. I will never grow tired of watching his work but sadly, this is his last film appearance.  

Vicky Krieps who plays Alma, Reynolds’ German love interest, adds the second wave of curious human behaviour. Her character is both charming and endearing as well as possessive and impassioned. While the two are completely at odds with one another, they’re perfectly complementary and seemed destined to become the most preposterous yet ideal couple amidst their peers. You seriously cannot avert your attention for a second just in case you miss something.

Paul Thomas Anderson, the director, to his credit has taken on not only a highly anticipated project but also a project that would have had such high expectations from the media and public alike. And he has ‘nailed it’ far beyond all of ‘those’ expectations, save maybe himself and Daniel Day Lewis, and hit a home run.  

Phantom Thread, as a story is both enjoyable and heartwarming. As a performance from the whole cast, it’s first class all the way. 

The Verdict
I would highly recommend a viewing of Phantom Thread, not only as a last potential viewing of Daniel Day-Lewis’ work, but also because of the film making quality and performances displayed. In terms of the quiet and unassuming British humour, you’ll not see a better version of it than this film. It was a delight from beginning to end and well deserving of any high ratings it may receive around the world.

The Trailer

The Info
Releases: 1st February 2018
Rating: M – Contains offensive language
Duration: 130  minutes 
Genre:  Drama
Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lesley Manville, Camilla Rutherford
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson (Punch Drunk Love, There Will Be Blood)

The Extras
This will be Daniel Day-Lewis's last film. He announced that he will be retiring from acting on June 20, 2017

Paul Thomas Anderson directed and shot the film as he served as both the Director and Cinematographer.

The first time Daniel Day-Lewis has used his natural English accent in a film since "Stars and Bars" (1988).

The name Reynolds Woodcock began as a joke suggested by Daniel Day-Lewis to Paul Thomas Anderson. The name made Anderson laugh so hard he cried, cementing its presence in the script.

In preparation for the film, Daniel Day-Lewis watched archival footage of 1940s and '50s fashion shows, studied famous designers, consulted with the curator of fashion and textiles at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and apprenticed under Marc Happel, head of the costume department at the New York City Ballet. He also learned how to sew, and practiced on his wife Rebecca Miller, trying to recreate a Balenciaga sheath dress that was inspired by a school uniform.

Fourth collaboration between Director Paul Thomas Anderson and Film Composer Jonny Greenwood.

Paul Thomas Anderson got the initial idea for the film while he was sick in bed one day. His wife, Maya Rudolph, was tending to him and gave Anderson a look that made him realize that she hadn't looked at him with such tenderness and love in a long time.

Paul Thomas Anderson has said that his favourite line in the film is, "The tea is going out but the distraction is staying right here with me." This line was written by Daniel Day-Lewis.

First narrative film by Paul Thomas Anderson to be primarily set outside of his native California other than Hard Eight (1996), which was set in Reno.

The Spanish fashion designer Cristóbal Balenciaga's relation with his work and the way he led his life, with Paul Thomas Anderson's words "monastic life", inspired the character of Reynolds Woodcock.

This will be Daniel Day-Lewis's first film since Lincoln (2012). In addition, it will be the second collaboration between Paul Thomas Anderson & Daniel Day-Lewis with the first being the highly acclaimed There Will Be Blood (2007), which gained Day-Lewis his second Academy Award for Best Lead Actor and Anderson nominations for Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Picture.

At $35 million, this is Paul Thomas Anderson's second highest budgeted movie after Magnolia (1999) at $37 million.

Daniel Day-Lewis and Lesley Manville became real-life friends for six months prior to filming began in order to establish the close relationship between Cyril and Reynolds. Though most of the time they had to text each other back and forth as Manville lived in London and Day-Lewis had two homes between Ireland and New York.

Vicky Krieps did not meet Daniel Day-Lewis until her first day on set. As Day-Lewis famously stays in character during production of his films, Krieps was instructed to refer to him as "Reynolds" for the duration of filming. In multiple interviews promoting the film, Krieps still referred to Day-Lewis as "Reynolds."

Many of the staff of the Woodcock couture house, as well as other bit parts, are played not by professional actors but by real seamstresses or persons connected with the fashion world. Joan Brown and Sue Clark were retired dressmakers that Paul Thomas Anderson and Mark Bridges met while doing research at the Victoria & Albert Museum's historic clothing archive. Amber Brabant and Geneva Corlett are professional film costumers. Georgia Kemball is a textile designer.


The script was written by Paul Thomas Anderson in collaboration with Daniel Day-Lewis.