Elle Driver’s review published on Letterboxd:
“Maybe you pay too much attention.”
PHANTOM THREAD. a title so mysterious, yet so attractive. It has a nice ring to it. I couldn't help but wonder what inspired Paul Thomas Anderson to name his most recent film this. You see I've followed this film for awhile. I love Daniel Day Lewis, without a doubt one of the greatest actors of all time. Paul Thomas Anderson is pretty good, very hit or miss if you ask me. He either nails it, or he overdoes it with his "muchness". So after seeing the trailer for his most recent release and Lewis' final performance my level of intrigue and anticipation to witnessing this reached immense highs. Well last night I finally had the pleasure of watching Phantom Thread. Phantom Thread shows what a true master of cinema is capable of.
Technically speaking, Phantom Thread is a spectacle on its own. Within every frame of Anderson's melodramatic historical piece lies visual splendor. Visually impeccable from the opening frame to the final frame there's never a moment where the sweeping beauty of the garments and carefully embroidered fabrics don't bewilder. Phantom Thread is a sight to behold. There's an abundance of care and effort put into the presentation of Phantom Thread and it all pays off. Phantom Thread's score is daunting and simply beautiful. Adding to the overall moody tone of Anderson's film the score was a great necessity in the manifestation of this film. This is possibly Anderson's direction at it's best. Anderson directs this film to a notch and stitches together a film that is so methodical, so lavish, and downright poisonous. Simply put Phantom Thread is an extremely well crafted film and even just the technicalities alone are enough to praise this film. This is filmmaking at it's most pristine.
The performances. The entire cast in Phantom Thread is knockout. Not one person feels out of place everyone does their role with ease. Vicky Krieps, who I have not heard of until seeing this film, is a triumph. Vicky Krieps blows it out of the water - I had no idea who this woman is to be quite honest but she will now be on my radar, she is absolutely fantastic. Vicky Krieps heightens the intensity of this film to a notch and brings a bit of "venom" (no pun intended) where necessary. Daniel Day Lewis. Daniel Day Lewis my goodness you brilliant screen veteran. Daniel Day Lewis marches right on screen and commands every single moment with power and magnetism. Both lead actors give what is a master class of acting. I'm genuinely shocked neither of these two are walking away with awards especially Day Lewis, the perfect goodbye to a cinematic legend and a force of nature.
Phantom Thread goes in a direction I simply wasn't expecting it to. Phantom Thread is about love and it's perils as much as it is about obsession, infatuation, and control vs chaos. The chemistry between the lead actors really drives these themes home and by the end of the film everything is more clear than it ever was. It also helps that unlike many of PTA's other films, phantom thread is very simple and very straightforward. For a lot of people the simplistic and insipid tone of Phantom Thread will be "dull" and "boring". This is a character/dialogue driven film and if you aren't interested in its appeals to artistry you will most likely hate this film. In fact I believe this made me love it even more. I don't think a film needs to be ridiculously entertaining or anything of the sort to be a great film. But to each their own.
Overall, what Paul Thomas Anderson has crafted is an ambitious and meticulous assortment of craft and class. Phantom Thread is just as elegant as it is delightful. My theater was filled with laughter at many of the one liners and conversations after the film were extremely positive - my date loved it. Phantom Thread is ultimately a celebration - a celebration of creation, the destruction of creation, the love of creation, and the beginning of creation. Phantom Thread is a celebration of the creators, those who find redemption in their art. It is effervescent that Paul Thomas Anderson fits into this category because his latest creation is absolutely remarkable. Phantom Thread is a must see extraordinaire.