Nominated for six Oscars, Phantom Thread walked away with the award for Best Costume Design. It is showing in our cinema from 2-10 March. Review by Joshua Jones
This marks a departure for celebrated director P.T. Anderson. The distance between Boogie Nights (1997) and The Phantom Thread seems at first glance more immeasurable than the double decades that separate them, yet they are strung from the same cord.
Phantom Thread is a work of rare gleam in which every moment shimmers such that we may hardly again tell the difference between people and bands of light escaping a projector. It possesses the forgotten hex of cinema; to be enchanting.
We, the humble viewers, are escorted into the exquisitely exclusive House of Woodcock, the home and working premises of mid-century London’s most highly-esteemed tailor and dressmaker, the eponymous Woodcock. There his iron routine is to be pressed to bend by the young Almer, a waitress from the countryside, as humble and as intrusive as we viewers in Woodcock’s world.
Infatuated with one another, Almer and Woodcock navigate one another with deft imprecision, misunderstanding one another, plotting against one another, and each binding the other inextricably to the other that not poison mushrooms nor French royalty might separate them.
And yet this same binding of Almer and Woodcock is the mirror-binding of Paul Thomas Anderson’s work, the infallible stitch that fixes the bridge between works as disparate as the irreverent Punch Drunk Love (2002) and the brooding There Will Be Blood (2007).
It is the phantom thread, stitching as silently as death, that binds these works together, that binds Almer and Woodcock, and Paul Thomas Anderson is without a doubt the threadmaster.