Top 100 Films Of The 2010’s – #84 – Phantom Thread (2017)

RELEASED: 2nd February 2018

DIRECTOR: Paul Thomas Anderson

CAST: Daniel Day-Lewis, Vicky Krieps, Lesley Manville, Camilla Rutherford, Gina McKee, George Glasgow, Brian Gleeson, Harriet Sansom Harris, Lujza Richter, Julia Davis, Nicholas Mander, Philip Franks, Phyllis MacMahon, Silas Carson, Richard Graham, Martin Dew, Ian Harrod and Jane Perry

BUDGET: $35m


AWARDS: 1 Academy Award (Best Costume Design) and 1 BAFTA (Best Costume Design)

Set in 1950’s London, Reynolds Woodcock is a renowned dressmaker whose fastidious life is disrupted by a young, strong-willed woman, Alma, who becomes his muse and lover.


Set in 1950’s post-war London, renowned dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock and his sister Cyril are at the centre of British fashion, dressing royalty, film stars, socialites and dames with the distinct style of The House of Woodcock. While women come and go through Woodcock’s life, providing him inspiration and companionship, he comes across a young, strong-willed woman in Alma, who soon becomes his latest muse and lover.


While The Master will most likely be the Paul Thomas Anderson film to be listed in their films of the decade, I actually preferred his approach with Phantom Thread in comparison. I wasn’t sure if I would be invested in this tale about a dressmaker, a genius of his kind that is humoured by everyone around him until he comes across a young woman who is just as thick-skinned as he is, leading to a toxic, verbal relationship between them. Undoubtably, Phantom Thread is a comedy with PTA showing us his sense of humour through Reynolds and Alma’s bickering, such as the one scene in which Alma attempts to give him some tea whilst he’s in the middle of his work (“The tea is going out. The interruption is staying right here with me.”). To say the film takes a turn I didn’t expect in its second half would be an understatement, but PTA’s direction makes every fame important, with Mark Bridges costume design work being one of the best of the decade (earning him an Oscar) and everything being complimented by Jonny Greenwood’s score. The performances from the main cast are terrific. Daniel-Day Lewis, if this remains his final performance, goes out with a bang as Reynolds Woodcock, a man so caught in his own vision, who has ‘perfected’ his own standard routine for his lifestyle and work ethic that he won’t let any deviations throw him off. Lesley Manville shines in every scene she’s in as Reynolds sister Cyril, who is literally the only person who kind of has any control over her brother. Vicky Krieps is fantastic as Alma Elson, a character that we know little about nor know of her ambitions, but Krieps is just captivating to watch on screen.


FAVOURITE SCENE: That scene in the final act with the omelette.

FAVOURITE QUOTE: “Don’t pick a fight with me, you certainly won’t come out alive. I’ll go right through you and it’ll be you who ends up on the floor. Understood?” – Cyril Woodcock

DID YOU KNOW: Director Paul Thomas Anderson got the initial idea for the film while he was sick in bed one day. His wife, Maya Rudolph, was tending to him and gave him a look that made him realise that she had not looked at him with such tenderness and love in a long time.


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