Ian Fastert’s review published on Letterboxd:
A shockingly modern feeling tale told through lens that feel already aged, Phantom Thread is a disorientating watch even BEFORE it starts to get weird. Visually, from the sets and costumes to the shots and the film stock used to film it, Phantom Thread feels like it was made right alongside costume epics such as Barry Lyndon and Amadeus. But when you tune into the story, you're hit with a twisty, bizarre tale filled with modern sensibilities. It creates this weird viewing atmosphere I don't think I've experienced with any other film, and had me deeply engrossed for the entirety of the run time. How does P.T. Anderson accomplish this?
He made a movie about himself, I guess. Maybe not to the extend of like, Her, but he's definitely in there a little bit.
(I'm gonna talk about the plot ahead, I really do recommend you see this without knowing anything about it so skip over the next part if you haven't seen it)
Phantom Thread is split into 2 halves; one dominated by Daniel Day Lewis's Reynolds Woodcock, a designer of dresses and total asshole, and the other is dominated by Vicky Krieps Alma, his ignored, lonely girlfriend. The movie at first seems like it's going to just be about her being strung along (which I thought would make perfect sense, being that the movie was titled PHANTOM THREAD), but then Alma suddenly decides to take matters into her own hands. How she does that is a surprise I don't want to be responsible for ruining for anyone, but it creates an interesting parallel between this and mother!, another movie about the forgotten lover of an artist. In mother!, Jennifer Lawrence's character just goes with the madness that ensues because of their lover, taking ridiculous amounts of abuse in the process. That movie is definitely more of a story about abuse, about a one-sided relationship, and about unwarranted devotion. Phantom Thread SEEMS like it's going that route, for the first 30 minutes, but then Alma takes charge, fighting for the love she desires from the man she wants it from. And once the movie shifts, the power changing over from man to woman, the movie becomes a thousand times more exciting, dark, and strange. And since it was already fascinating prior to that shift, this change of the metaphorical tracks elevates this movie into a one of a kind experience that I am dying to see again.
(Okay I'm talking about other stuff now come back)
So in addition to the exciting themes and emotions the plot brings, Phantom Thread also benefits from an excellent soundtrack and beautiful shots. This is the first movie I really noticed was filmed on 70mm, which is weird because I've watched films in 70mm before. But the use of shadows and darkness in parts of the movie made the film grain really stand out to me; I felt it adding to this bizarre atmosphere the movie has, and made some scenes feel dreamy. The score does a wonderful job of that too, with these sweeping orchestral pieces taking advantage of lots of violin and drums to make some scenes EDGE OF YOUR SEAT TENSE. It switches back and forth between these beautiful scenes of Woodcock creating his dresses and them being lavishly displayed and the quietly disturbing relationship underneath it all.
Phantom Thread is beautifully odd, a one of a kind epic that blew me away. Paul Thomas Anderson has created a world that I've wanted to go back to ever since I left the theater, and the people of his world fascinate me to no end. I adored Phantom Thread, and hope to see it again as soon as possible.