I went to the Watershed again yesterday afternoon to see Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Phantom Thread”. It harks back to fashion-minded London of the 1950s… where Reynolds Woodcock (brilliantly played by Daniel Day-Lewis), celebrated dressmaker to the debutantes of Britain, is starting to feel the pressure from the ‘New Look’ and influences from across the Channel.
elite artists(?), he is a man of strict routine – who, putting it mildly,
doesn’t take kindly to interruptions to his daily routines. Peter Bradshaw in
his review for The Guardian describes Woodcock thus: “A brilliant English couturier of the postwar age:
fastidious and cantankerous, humourless and preposterous – and heterosexual, in
that pre-Chatterley era when being a bachelor and fashion designer wasn’t
automatically associated in the public mind with anything else”.
I found Day-Lewis’s characterisation
of Woodcock totally mesmerising… and yet I also found myself utterly despising
the man and his impossible, controlling ways (actually, despite this, I’m also
considering buying a couple of hair brushes and copying his hair style!).
Woodcock meets, and falls in love,
with a shy, ungainly German waitress at the country hotel where he happens to
be staying. This is Alma (beautifully played by Vicky Krieps)(I absolutely fell
in love with her!).
sees in her a grace and beauty no one else had noticed, certainly not Alma
herself. Dazzled, she comes to live with him as his assistant and model in the
central London fashion house over which Woodcock rules with his sister and
confidante Cyril (somewhat chillingly played by the impressive Lesley Manville).
is the ruthless and selfish. Alma is shy and in awe of her wealthy lover… and
yet her personality is stronger than you think.
That’s all I’m going to say… I don’t
want to spoil things for you.
But you DO need to see this film – it
really is rather good (slight understatement)!
abide with me
2 weeks ago