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“Phantom Thread” full of picturesque passion

Written By Amanda Myers, Copy Editor

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Daniel Day Lewis appears in his most English film amidst awards buzz in America with “Phantom Thread.” With this being his supposed final film after an announcement of retirement, Lewis draws from within to deliver an unruly, refined performance.  

Method acting mends its way into his character Reynolds Woodcock and his impeccable house of couture fashion. Woodcock is particular in how his days and nights go and everything in between. Windswept hair and bushy eyebrows looming over rimmed glasses invite the women of London. They fawn over him and his delicate hands that are able to transform them into the person they most want to be.

He is lost in the world of love until he meets muse Alma Elson, portrayed by rising star Vicky Krieps. Alma settles his desires for creation and tries to alleviate the personal destruction in his life. She accepts being a source of inspiration without being a play thing.

Another defiant figure in Woodcock’s life is his sister Cyril. Lesley Manville portrays Cyril’s stone-cold silence masterfully, allowing audiences to see her wheels turning ever so slowly. Their relationship deserves to be looked at more closely, however.

For his part, director Paul Thomas Anderson captures the melodramatic moments and breakdowns with ease. Prolonged expressive shots and microscopic moments highlight the film’s fashion.  

The film’s score is another crucial detail that adds an artistry. Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood removes himself from his onstage awkwardness to compose a classic that will have Hans Zimmer running for his money. The score brings a warmness to the coldest and most distant moments Woodcock finds himself in.

The fashion is another central aspect that seeks to bring joy or despair into a given scenario. The process is highlighted to be excruciating, but the result is stunning. When Alma models his newest creations, Woodcock can’t help himself but marvel at his two worlds in one.

This combination of art with raw emotion makes “Phantom Thread” inspirational and grand. Even though it is a serious, Oscar worthy picture, that doesn’t mean there aren’t moments of comedic relief. On the border of dark comedy, these lines add to the overwhelming framework of these characters.

“Phantom Thread” is not for the casual film goer, but it does offer some timeless moments of expression that anyone would be moved by. If this is Lewis’s last role, he ends his career at the height of his powers thanks to internal and external creative direction.

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