I know that I had to like Phantom thread: directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, with Daniel Day Lewis as the protagonist, and with 57,000 Oscar nominations. I went to the cinema with great expectations. That was a huge mistake. Two hours and ten minutes felt like seventy-two hours. Why? Spoiler alert, even though there’s little to spoil…
The movie tells us about the life of a fashion designer, Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day Lewis), in London during the 50s. Reynolds is a very peculiar person, obsessive compulsive and borderline misanthrope, and has a very close relationship with his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville). At the beginning of the movie we find him in a ruinous sentimental relationship. Then he falls in love with Alma (Vicky Krieps), who moves into his house-laboratory, and with whom he starts another ruinous relationship until she finds out how to conquer his heart forever: she poisons him and takes care of his healing process. The relationship improves, and when it deteriorates again she poisons him again. And so on and so forth. In the last horrendous and avoidable scenes of the movie, we see them happy and with a son.
The movie is slow. More importantly, it’s slow and doesn’t go anywhere, it has nothing to tell us. It seems like an exercise in style, with spectacular set design, perfect costumes, well directed actors (not that the characters where hard to interpret: all held back and with beyond-absurd dialogues)… but a short film would have been sufficient for the story! But no, we get 130 minutes (and apparently the first cut was four hours long!!!). I was suffering in the cinema. Basically, we understand what’s the movie about after one hour and a half, and in twenty minutes the story is done. The rest is pure pain: one thousand characters appearing and disappearing at random, meaningless dialogue after meaningless dialogue, and the music… the music! The piano never stops, not even when the characters are listening to music, so that there are scenes with double soundtrack, to make everything more annoying.
I regret going to the cinema this weekend. My suggestion? Avoid Phantom thread like the plague. Ciao!