Phantom Thread, Film Review. Picturehouse@F.A.C.T, Liverpool.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 8.5/10

Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lesley Manville, Vicky Krieps, Richard Graham, Camilla Rutherford, Harriet Sansom Harris, Brian Gleeson, Julia Davis, Nicholas Mander, Gina McKee, Philip Franks, Phyllis MacMahon, Silas Carson, Martin Dew, Jane Perry, Paul Leasley.

There are always going to be films that have the fashionable and the sense of capitulation, of strong wills colliding and the realisation that to many, clothes really do encompass the person’s every waking moment. It could be seen as a statement, that what we wear on the outside is a reflection of how we wish to be seen on the inside, our mood, our aspirations and dreams, our sharpness, our overall statement to the world is wrapped up in appearance and the clothes we dress them up in; there are always going to be films which deal with this motif but Phantom Thread tugs at its very core belief a bit more than others might dare.

The life of Reynolds Woodcock is orderly, precise, perfect in his mind to the last detail and the final stitch on the material, it is also stiff, self congratulatory, monotonous, full of the self important and those to whom the mirror is their best friend; it is Haute Couture at its most brilliant and its most indulgent and it is that indulgence that sees the dressmaker’s life I need of a shock to the system, one played out with dramatic charm by Vicky Krieps as Alma Elson.

A mix somewhere between Martha Stewart and the complete obsessive of Annie Wilkes in Stephen King’s Misery, Alma is the breeze of homeliness, bordering on masterful that someone such as Reynolds might not realise he needs but to whom the final embrace is everything. It is an embrace perhaps born out of desperation but it is also one that comes with a needle of its own, a stab in the stomach which Daniel Day-Lewis employs with the wide eyed compulsion that he has brought to every role he has ever portrayed.

It is to Daniel Day-Lewis that this particular film will receive its stand out praise, rumours abound that it is his final performance gather pace and yet if it is then the fans must relish what is a consummate role, one dressed in the finery of the times and the sense of outspoken quiet that went with such a profession.

Elegant, sensual, deeply unsettling and rich in its own embroidered tale of a man so consumed by order and the sense of fine detail, the Phantom Thread is one to pull on, is one to inspect up close and see that there is nothing but fascination and love woven through it. A film to which captures a time and a place in which many forget how appearances can sometimes matter more than the inner soul!

Ian D. Hall