Ewan Munro’s review published on Letterboxd:
I was all ready to dismiss this film as yet another reworking of the eternal tropes of controlling older men and pliable younger women, an exercise in the manipulation of power dynamics via class, wealth, the tedious tropes of masculine genius. After all, you can't watch an awards contender, let alone a PTA film, without it being trailed in advance by untold reams of critical dissection that help you along to an opinion on a film you've not yet seen.
There's certainly something of Hitchcock to this story, as it seems to be about a man shaping a woman's identity to his own needs (a hint of Vertigo), yet I think there's a lot more care taken with the construction than that. For a start, Vicky Krieps' Alma is really the key character here, the one who drives the film in ways that Day-Lewis's fashion designer Reynolds Woodcock does not, for he is just a man. It's quite fascinating the way she subsumes Reynolds' gaze and turns his controlling behaviour back on him, to a certain extent. I won't go into details, but I think the power dynamic (while clearly unequal) is very interestingly handled, and Lesley Manville as Reynolds' sister Cyril/mother surrogate is a key to unpicking it. Everything, ultimately, seems to be bound up in that central metaphor of stitching and impermanence.
Along with its careful symbolism, this has the feel of classic in terms of the way it's shot (by PTA himself as far as I can tell, and what a lushly grainy look it has, especially on 35mm), and the period 50s fashions on display. It's artfully studied, and that suits the story I think. Things resolve with a certain element of perversity, of wilful helplessness, articulated not least in the focus on eating. I'd not been a fan up until Inherent Vice, but I do believe Paul T. has entered the imperial phase of his filmmaking.