I had vaguely heard of Paul Thomas Anderson before. By that I mean I saw Boogie Nights at about 3am years ago, and thought it was disturbing and fascinating. I’d also heard very good things about There Will Be Blood but never saw it. It is on the list though. Especially after seeing Phantom Thread, which Anderson wrote and directed.
We saw Phantom Thread on 35mm, which wasn’t intentional, but the screening at the time we wanted to go at happened to be 35mm. It seemed to add a certain amount of authenticity to the film, set in the 1950s.
I hate to fall into the trap of ‘Daniel Day-Lewis is amazing and so the film is amazing’, but Daniel Day-Lewis really is amazing in Phantom Thread. I couldn’t decide how I felt about his character, Reynolds Woodcock, a renowned dressmaker in post-war London. He is tempestuous, cantankerous, erratic and eccentric, much as you expect a creative genius to be portrayed in film.
In that respect, his character had been seen before. However, Phantom Thread isn’t a film I’ve seen before. To me, there is no real way to describe the film as a ‘type’. I was anticipating a romance film, or perhaps a drama, or maybe a documentary. I didn’t know what to think going into the film, and I still don’t know how to describe the film.
What I do know how to describe is both the acting and the way the film was shot. The film is about a dressmaker, and therefore I anticipated scenes of cloth. Detailed scenes of cloth.
Any time there was a scene that dealt with cloth, it was shot in such a way that I felt as if I was feeling the cloth, that was the one touching the fabric, enjoying the different textures against my skin and how it felt to wear. This was something that really stood out to me, and has stuck with me since.
The dialogue cannot be faulted, and perhaps it’s due to Day-Lewis insisting on hanging out with costars to ensure they have good chemistry on screen, but it was amazing. I felt as if I was in the room with them, as they navigated their relationships.
I would recommend giving it a watch on the big screen.