Samstag, 17. Februar 2018


Title: Phantom Thread
Running Time: 131 min
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Writer: Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring: Daniel Day Lewis, Vicky Krieps, Lesley Manville, Brian Gleeson

Paul Thomas Anderson has been an acclaimed director for over twenty years now. Daniel Day Lewis can call three Academy Awards, three SAG Awards, two Golden Globes and a knighthood his own. After these two artists had already collaborated on "There Will Be Blood", they now teamed up for a second time. And if that wasn't intriguing enough, Daniel Day Lewis announced that he would end his acting career after this final film.
I wish he had chosen another project, because to me, "Phantom Thread" is a very frustrating movie. Let's get the positives out of the way first: The cinematography is gorgeous. This movie's shots look like part of photo exhibition at an art gallery. Then there is the sound mixing and the editing that really make sure this quiet films comes alive. Daniel Day Lewis' and Vicky Krieps' acting is on point as well, and it seems that making these characters feel real is a task they master effortlessly. Also, since this is a film about a fashion designer, the costumes are also beautiful to look at.
But then there is the plot of the movie. This story is one of a self-entitled rich old white man whose talents let him to believe his needs are more important than everyone else's. I guess he is supposed to be interesting and suave, but I found his arrogance and lack of empathy less charming than infuriating. Throw in the uncomfortably apparent Oedipus complex and you've got yourself an incredibly unrelatable character. Even the hints of post-war trauma can't help to redeem this entirely unsympathetic man.
The other half of the couple is a woman that doesn't stop admiring him despite his constant disrespect for her. The fact that she talks back to him a couple of times doesn't make up for her constant need of his approval. Their conversations are so very often immature and the more the movie progresses the more toxic their communication becomes. In addition, the film leaves out some important information about them and so it is hard to understand where exactly their affection comes from.
How this movie holds 91% at Rotten Tomatoes and an Oscar nomination for Best Picture is beyond me. This is not a complex love story, this is the romanticization of highly dysfunctional behavior - the relationship dynamics of "50 Shades of Grey" repackaged for a pseudo-sophisticated upper middle class. If you look up "pretentious" in a dictionary, you might just find the plot summary of this movie in there.

For Fans Of:
Elle (2016)
mother! (2017) - if you sympathized with Javier Bardem in that film
The Tree of Life (2011)
Carol (2015)

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