Phantom Thread

Phantom Thread ★★★★★

Arsenic and old lace

Phantom Thread is a siren song that lifts the audience into a sensual realm. Anderson's camera glides like an enraptured neophyte across wide drawing rooms and pours over swathes of satin like a warm hand teasing its way up a thigh. It finds glamour in an English breakfast table setting, a plate of cream buns, an oblong coffee table, an ornate balustrade. There are certain shots in the film so dazzling that everybody in the cinema gasped. From the first frame to the last, it is an ode to refinement.

That is to say nothing of the story itself, which is a romance (set in this world, how could it not be?) between an eccentric dressmaker and a waitress he meets during a trip to the English countryside. The act of sex is conspicuously absent from the film, but the halting exchanges between Day Lewis and Vicky Krieps are electric. She wants to love him on her terms, he on his. They reach an impasse, surrender, re-engage and fall apart until Freud comes to the rescue. The characters are meticulously shaped and the film's rhythm is so pleasing that it has a bewitching effect. I walked away from it wanting to turn around and immediately see it again.

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