Phantom Thread (2018) - Rotten Tomatoes

Phantom Thread (2018)



Critic Consensus: Phantom Thread's finely woven narrative is filled out nicely by humor, intoxicating romantic tension, and yet another impressively committed performance from Daniel Day-Lewis.

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Set in the glamour of 1950's 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. With his latest film, Paul Thomas Anderson paints an illuminating portrait both of an artist on a creative journey, and the women who keep his world running. Phantom Thread is Paul Thomas Anderson's eighth movie, and his second collaboration with Daniel Day-Lewis.


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Critic Reviews for Phantom Thread

All Critics (167) | Top Critics (39)

If Anderson's The Master was a swirling miasma, Phantom Thread is an unforgiving dress. It presents an ideal and even inspires wonder, but it does make breathing difficult, and heaven help you if all you want is to have a good time.

January 18, 2018 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Anderson's movies are never coherent enough to appeal to the mainstream, but this one is so ravishing and meticulous and exquisite that you have no difficulty ignoring its inherent lack of logic.

January 15, 2018 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

If this is indeed the end for Day Lewis, it is a fitting final bow. It's a treat to watch him drink your milkshake one last time.

January 12, 2018 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

Paul Thomas Anderson's "Phantom Thread" casts a remarkable spell; it wraps around you, like a delicately scented cashmere shawl woven from music and color and astonishing faces.

January 11, 2018 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

The attention to detail, the use of certain colors, the lush and vibrant photography of the dresses Reynolds makes and the clothes he wears - they're honestly breathtaking.

January 11, 2018 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

"Phantom Thread" is the kind of film that's rarely made anymore - uncompromising, sophisticated and smart.

January 11, 2018 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Phantom Thread

A bit too cool and clinical but still a terrific narrative and great acting from the master himself DDL and Lesley Manville who goes blow for blow with him. Vicky Krieps was very fine as well. Beautifully shot with a wonderful score, Phantom Thread look into mid 50's London's couture house of Reynolds Woodcock and his sister. The thread is as obtuse as the main character at times. The most notable scene of many is Woodcock bringing his muse Alma back to his place not to undress but to dress her in a an most erotic tango of emotions (1-20-18)

John C
John C

Super Reviewer


POISONED BY DESIGN - My Review of PHANTOM THREAD (3 1/2 Stars) Paul Thomas Anderson has proven tough to pin down as a filmmaker. Putting his own spin on Scorsese and Altman with such seminal films as BOOGIE NIGHTS and MAGNOLIA, he veered into completely different directions with PUNCH DRUNK LOVE, THERE WILL BE BLOOD, THE MASTER, and INHERENT VICE. While all have had their pluses and minuses, I've never been able to identify a consistent tone or a specific voice in his work. That's totally fine, as many great directors have eclectic resumes, but with Anderson, I keep wanting him to return to the infectious energy of BOOGIE NIGHTS and have more often than not felt a bit disappointed. It's like when Scorsese made THE AGE OF INNOCENCE. I just didn't care to see his take on doilies and corsets. It's Scorsese! Bring on the mobsters and the intimidation! Is it unfair for me to want a director to stay in his/her lane? Of course, but I prefer it when people play to their strengths. I mean, did we REALLY need an ANNIE directed by John Huston? Was the world really hungry for Sam Raimi's take on baseball with FOR THE LOVE OF THE GAME? Or Oliver Stone's vision of a sword and sandals epic with ALEXANDER? So is it too much to ask that I want to see a Paul Thomas Anderson movie where the characters wear jeans and t-shirts manufactured some time in the new millennium? Well, with his latest film, PHANTOM THREAD, we're stuck in prim and proper 1950s London, where fictional high fashion designer, Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) presides over his all-female staff hand-sewing immaculate dresses for the rich and famous. When we meet Reynolds, he's living with his sister/business partner Cyril (Leslie Manville) and a wife tired of his suffocating control over his surroundings. A narcissistic boor, Reynolds cannot abide any noise at the breakfast table, not even the sound of butter being spread on toast. He demands the space to sketch but he needs women for sex, for some level of companionship, and to act as his muse. Enter Alma (Vicky Krieps) a server he meets at a countryside cafe one day. Instantly smitten with her, he coaxes her to his London flat where she will model his clothes, inspire him, and yes, stay dead silent during the morning meals. Soon enough, like the others before her, Alma slowly dies inside. The power dynamic between Reynolds and Alma, as well as that between Cyril, who knows where all the bodies are buried, and the pair, constitutes the film's main storyline. As such, PHANTOM THREAD takes its sweet time getting to the "good stuff", which proves to be almost as perverse and twisted as a Michael Haneke film. For a long stretch, the film crawls along quite slowly, but Anderson carefully, painstakingly lays out the push and pull of the central relationship. Every slight, every stinging formality stings just a little, and both Day-Lewis and Krieps beautifully communicate their complicated feelings. Manville, a Mike Leigh regular, could teach a Master Class in focus and stillness. Her hard stares and assuredness prove mesmerizing and chilling. Krieps, unknown to me before this, conveys so much with a glance or a subtle facial tic, I felt willing to follow her character anywhere. This is one gorgeous looking movie, from the drop-dead, period specific costume design by Mark Bridges, the clean lines of Woodcock's studio and wildly over-the-top New Year's celebration scene provided by production designer Mark Tildesley, to the rich cinematography by none other than Anderson himself. If you're into mid-century chic, this movie will hit that sweet spot. I'm also giving a standing ovation to Anderson's regular composer, Jonny Greenwood, who delivers memorable, stunning music to the film. It may sound somewhat conventional, but it fits the mood and characters perfectly. Without spoiling anything, the film takes a strange turn, exposing its darker and richer themes. It's almost worth the long wait it takes to get there, although I would have preferred a slightly shorter buildup. Regardless, it's the type of film that feels like a long slog, but after sleeping on it, I came to admire it more and more. Day-Lewis brings just enough sweet charm to his fairly mean-spirited character to make you believe he's in love with Alma. Krieps, not unlike Meryl Streep in THE POST, slowly emerges as a feminist character in a pre-feminist era, and it's quite lovely to see. Manville tears up the screen with her direct gaze. For those who prefer a little more movement in their movies, this may not be the best choice. It's still, and stifling, but also often funny and artful in its presentation of a distant yet co-dependent relationship. In its old-fashioned way, there's something new here. PHANTOM THREAD may not be the movie you want to see, but, in the end, it's the movie Anderson wanted to make.

Glenn Gaylord
Glenn Gaylord

Super Reviewer

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