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.
hantom Thread is a 2017 American drama film written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, set in London’s couture world in the 1950s. It stars Daniel Day-Lewis as a dressmaker living with his sister, played by Lesley Manville, who falls in love with a young waitress, played by Vicky Krieps; the couple’s relationship vacillates between affection and distance until they finally learn to live with one another’s differences. The film was Day-Lewis’s final film role before entering retirement. The film is Anderson’s first shot outside the United States, with principal photography beginning in January 2017 in Lythe, England. It is his second collaboration with Day-Lewis, following There Will Be Blood (2007), and his fourth with composer Jonny Greenwood.
The film premiered in New York City on December 11, 2017, and was released in the United States on December 25, 2017. Phantom Thread received critical acclaim, with praise for Day-Lewis’s performance, Anderson’s screenplay and direction, the musical score, and production value; it was chosen by the National Board of Review as one of 2017’s top ten films.
At the 90th Academy Awards, the film earned six nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor for Day-Lewis, and Supporting Actress for Manville. It also received two Golden Globe nominations: Best Actor – Drama (Day-Lewis) and Best Original Score, as well as four at the 71st British Academy Film Awards, including Best Actor in a Leading Role for Day-Lewis, Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Manville, and Best Film Music for Greenwood.
About the Story
In 1950s London, renowned fashion designer Reynolds Woodcock creates dresses and garments for members of high society. His charisma and genius is matched by his obsessive, controlling personality. Cyril, his sister, manages the day-to-day operations of his luxury fashion house and has significant influence over his life. Reynolds is haunted by the death of their mother, and stitches hidden messages into the linings of the dresses he makes.
After debuting a new piece for one of his clients, Reynolds visits a restaurant in the countryside and becomes interested in a waitress named Alma. He asks her out on a date, and she accepts. Their relationship develops, and she soon moves in with him and acts as his muse, assistant, and love interest. Cyril is initially distrustful of Alma but eventually gains respect for her willfulness and determination.
At first, Alma enjoys being a part of his creativity and seeing him work, but Reynolds proves hard to please. They bicker constantly; when Alma attempts to make him a romantic dinner, Reynolds lashes out over how the meal is prepared and repeats to her that he will not tolerate any deviations from the daily routines that he has worked hard at perfecting.
Wanting to regain her power in their relationship, Alma decides to poison his tea with some wild mushroom shavings she has gathered outside the house. As he readies a wedding gown for a Belgian princess, Reynolds becomes gravely ill and later hallucinates the ghost of his mother, but Alma takes care of him. He soon recovers, finds himself deeply moved by Alma’s devotion and asks her to marry him. She initially hesitates but agrees to marry.
The relationship goes well at first but soon devolves back to a pattern of bickering and fighting, the result of Reynolds feeling it may be time to send Alma away. Alma responds by poisoning his omelette, but this time Reynolds deduces what she has done. She informs him that she wants him to be weak and vulnerable so she can take care of him and help lower his defensive nature. Reynolds accepts the idea and bites into the food, submitting to his dark love for Alma. She imagines their future with a child and her running the dressmaking business as a partner, and acknowledges that while there may be challenges ahead, their love for each other and their new arrangement can overcome them.
Phantom Thread (2017)
Directed by: Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring: Vicky Krieps, Daniel Day-Lewis, Lesley Manville, Sue Clark, Joan Brown, Harriet Leitch, Dinah Nicholson, Maryanne Frost, Amy Cunningham, Amber Brabant, Geneva Corlett, Camilla Rutherford
Screenplay by: Paul Thomas Anderson
Production Design by: Mark Tildesley
Cinematography by: Paul Thomas Anderson
Film Editing by: Dylan Tichenor
Costume Design by: Mark Bridges
Set Decoration by: Véronique Melery
Art Direction by: Chris Peters, Denis Schnegg, Adam Squires
Music by: Jonny Greenwood
MPAA Rating: R for language.
Distributed by: Focus Features (United States), Universal Pictures (International)
Release Date: December 25, 2017