A film by Paul Thomas Anderson. In english with german subtitles.
Fashion designer Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) is the total package. He has the same perfectionism when he works on his creations, goes to the bathroom, and has his breakfast. Watching Reynolds Woodcack have his breakfast means being witness to a longstanding, finely calibrated routine that is fullyoriented towards the needs of the sensitive genius. Every discordant note, every triviality, could break off his creative flow.
PHANTOM THREAD is set in 1950s England, which is more of an aesthetic idea for Paul Thomas Anderson than anything else. The director of PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE and THE MASTER shows a haute couture kingdom with opulent images which Reynolds is in charge of. Everything here is exquisite: the colors, the textures, the materials, the tapestry, the double doors, the lapsang souchong that is served at breakfast. The tailors who enter the feudal House of Woodcock through the servent entrance every morning are the loyal lieges, and Reynold‘s sister Cyril (Leslie Manville) is the high commander. The master‘s lovers play a subordinate role and are replaced when they start bothering him. This changes when Reynolds meets Alma (Vicky Krieps), a young eastern European immigrant. She becomes his model and his lover, and unlike her predecessors, she manages to carve an indispensable place in the master‘s world.
Anderson tells a complex, fetishistic love story where secret obsessions are woven in like hidden messages in the hem of a dress. Alma and Reynolds are in a love triangle from the start – Reynolds creations are the third person. Instead of a first sex scene there‘s a fitting, a ritualistic measuring where both know what it means. Being dressed and having someone dress you becomes an erotic act. Alma says“I can stand for hours“ and “I‘m beautiful in his dresses,“ and Reynolds watches her catwalk with the eyes of a lover. This idyll does show ruptures when it becomes clear that Alma is her own person and she disrupts the iron rules of the House of Woodcock. Instead of respecting the holy serenity of the breakfast ritual, she joyfully makes noise and pours the tea from too high up, which makes a disruptive sound. When Reynolds runs off insulted, she says some blasphemous words to Cyril: “I think he‘s too sensitive!“
THE PHANTOM THREAD is a multifaceted, iradescent film. A hymnal-hedonistic celebration of color, form, and style. An ironically amusing portrait of narcissistic masculinitiy. The construction and deconstruction of a genius. But most of all, THE PHANTOM THREAD is a gothic romance, an exuberant love story with morbid aspects filled with psychological chasms. These chasms are what make the dissimilar couple find a kind of balance. The fantasy of psychologically sound model partners that always communicate respectfully with “I feel“ messages is countered here with a couple in love who seem to follow their own, possibility perverse-seeming rules and manage to make it work, held together by a thread invisible to everyone else, the PHANTOM THREAD.
Hendrike Bake, Translation: Elinor Lewy
USA 2017, 130 Min., engl. OmU
Regie, Buch & Kamera: Paul Thomas Anderson
Schnitt: Dylan Tichenor
mit: Daniel Day-Lewis, Camilla Rutherford, Lesley Manville, Vicky Krieps
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