Phantom Thread (15)

Showing as part of Philosophy at the Showroom

Phantom Thread

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Daniel Day-Lewis excels in this mesmerising tale of obsession and desire. Reynolds Woodcock - a renowned fashion designer to the rich and famous - finds himself caught under the spell of a young waitress, who soon becomes his lover and muse. As they get closer, Alma tires of Woodcock’s increasingly controlling behaviour and the two struggle for power in a series of unconventional ways..

Love and vulnerability: Post screening discussion with Natasha McKeever

Phantom thread is a fascinating portrayal of a strange character, and an equally strange relationship. Reynolds Woodcock is a creative genius, workaholic, perfectionist, control freak, whose attention it is hard to keep. We learn early on in the film that when he tires of his girlfriends, his sister gets rid of them for him. This is presumably how he thought it would be with Alma, his latest muse and girlfriend, and the audience, too, perhaps assumes that their affair will not end well.

But things don’t quite pan out the way he and the audience predict. Alma is not willing to be another disposable doll. She wants to love him, to really love him. Thus the film proceeds to take us on a beautiful, and at times haunting exploration of a mundane concept – the need to compromise in a relationship. It also invites us to consider both what our obligations are in relationships, and indeed, what love is, with a particular focus on how vulnerability and care fit in to romantic love.


Paul Thomas Anderson
130 mins
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lesley Manville, Vicky Krieps


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