Phantom Thread

Phantom Thread ★★★★½

84/100

Second viewing, up from 71. Las Vegas Weekly review was written beforehand, but still accurately reflects my feelings; armed with knowledge of the film's perverse destination, I better appreciated its intricate route, which had seemed needlessly circuitous the first time around. In particular, I found plenty of evidence supporting my thesis that Reynolds and Alma's relationship is basically coded S&M, with Alma gradually making Reynolds understand that Cyril has spent her entire life serving as a non-sexual dominatrix, and wouldn't he be happier with the real thing? (Didn't notice the first time that Cyril all but disappears from the movie following the scene with the doctor, during which Alma and Cyril repeatedly speak the same words simultaneously in a blatant transfer of power.) Does Phantom Thread "need" that subtext to work its magic? Not really, but it's more delightful, and I think quite credible, to think of it as decorum-cloaked kink. Gives lines like "I really must insist that you come" another layer of meaning.