Sean Jordan: A ‘Phantom Thread’ in all of us
February 23, 2018
As I mentioned in my last column, I am going through all the Best Picture nominees for the Oscars and this week I had the chance to see "Phantom Thread" starring Daniel Day-Lewis.
Day-Lewis plays a meticulous and routine driven Reynolds Woodcock, a renowned dressmaker during the 1950s in London. Woodcock made dresses for royalty, movie stars, heiresses and dames with his distinct style that had been dubbed The House of Woodcock.
The story is focused on Woodcock and the various women who come in and out of his life. However, Woodcock's life is turned into a chaotic mess when he meets a strong-willed woman named Alma, played by Vicky Krieps.
Woodcock is captivated by Alma and ends up falling in love with her. Not only did they fall for each other, but Alma became his muse. His organized and routine-based life gets turned upside down with the addition of Alma and what unfolds becomes very interesting.
Alma does not fit into his routine. She is loud, passionate and crazy in love with Woodcock.
She tries to fit into his life, but finds she is becoming a nuisance to him.
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Woodcock shares with Alma that when he was a boy, learning how to become a dressmaker, he would hide something in the dress that only he would know about. He goes on to tell her he has kept up this trend with all his work.
Hidden messages, secret pockets or even a hair laced into the thread all make each dress Woodcock has ever made unique.
Without giving anything away I will say the concept of love is a perplexing theme in this film.
Now, I may be going out on a limb here, but dresses are a metaphor for relationships and the secret messages in them are a representation of love. There are several types of relationships, ranging from acquaintances to someone you share everything with, and to me there is at least one "Phantom Thread" that keeps you attached to that individual.
Sometimes that "thread" can be a dark secret, a good inside joke between friends, or even an experience you shared, but the point is that there is something keeping you bonded. That may not be what the film or even the director intended, but it's one of my own takeaways.
All secret messages and metaphors aside, the film is enjoyable — even if slow at times — and Daniel Day-Lewis is convincing me he is a shapeshifter, as there seems to be no role he can't handle.
As for my Oscar predictions, I don't think "Phantom Thread" will be the big winner of the night, despite an excellent performance from Day-Lewis and Krieps, but it is a fine movie absolutely worth watching.
Contact Prospector Editor Sean Jordan at 530-477-4219 or firstname.lastname@example.org.