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Phantom Thread (2017)

Phantom Thread (2017)
Phantom Thread posterRating: 7.7/10 (55,869 votes)
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Writer: Paul Thomas Anderson
Stars: Vicky Krieps, Daniel Day-Lewis, Lesley Manville, Julie Vollono
Runtime: 130 min
Rated: R
Genre: Drama, Romance
Released: 19 Jan 2018
Plot: Set in 1950's London, Reynolds Woodcock is a renowned dressmaker whose fastidious life is disrupted by a young, strong-willed woman, Alma, who becomes his muse and lover.

Phantom Thread (2017)

In 1954 London, renowned fashion designer Reynolds Woodcock creates dresses for members of high society. His charisma and genius are matched by his obsessive, controlling and sometimes abusive personality. Cyril, his sister, manages the day-to-day operations of his fashion house and has significant influence over his life. Reynolds is haunted by the death of their mother, and stitches hidden messages into the linings of the dresses he makes.

After designing a new gown for a revered client, Reynolds visits a restaurant in the countryside and becomes interested in a waitress, Alma. He asks her on a date, and she accepts. Their relationship develops, and she moves in with him, becoming his assistant, muse and lover. Cyril initially distrusts Alma but comes to respect her willfulness and determination.

At first, Alma enjoys being a part of Reynolds’ work, but he proves aloof and hard to please, and they bicker. When Alma tries to surprise him with a romantic dinner, Reynolds lashes out and they fight. Alma wonders aloud what she is doing in his house beyond either waiting for him to pay attention to her or ask her to leave.

To regain her power in their relationship and to punish and make Reynolds more vulnerable and needy, Alma laces his tea with a small amount of poisonous mushroom gathered outside his country house. The next morning, dizzy and sweating, while he readies a wedding gown for a Belgian princess, he collapses, damaging the dress and forcing his staff to work all night to repair it. He becomes gravely ill and sees his mother in the room; he tells her how much he misses her. Alma nurses him through his fever; when Cyril brings in a doctor, first Reynolds and then Alma tell the doctor to “Fuck off.” When Reynolds is well again, he asks Alma to marry him, telling her that there are things that he must do and he cannot do them without her. Alma accepts and they are married.

On vacation in the Swiss Alps, once again, Reynolds starts saying cruel and cutting things to Alma both privately and in front of their friends; they fight and defy each other again. As Reynolds’ anxiety about his work increases, he complains to Cyril about Alma, who enters the room and overhears the conversation; neither Reynolds nor Alma is perturbed. We see Alma in the forest again, gathering mushrooms. One evening, she prepares a poisoned omelette as Reynolds watches her from the dining room table. As he slowly chews his first bite, she informs him that she wants him weak and vulnerable with only her to take care of him; after that, she wants him strong again. Reynolds implicitly consents by swallowing one bite of the omelette, responding, “Kiss me, my girl, before I’m sick.” In the next scene, they are in Reynolds’ bedroom: Alma sits with Reynolds, in pajamas with a pan in his lap; they smile happily and kiss before he tells her that it’s time for her to leave the room to which she responds, “I’ll be right outside the door.”

Later in a voiceover, Alma imagines their future with children, a rich social life, and her running the dressmaking business as a partner. We see Alma pushing a baby carriage which she hands over to Cyril so that she and Reynolds can go out. In the present moment, we see Reynolds with his head in Alma’s lap as they enjoy the fireplace; Reynolds remarks that he is getting hungry.

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