I have no idea why everyone’s getting hot and bothered by this little English manners romance. Unlike the mustached guy next to me, I stayed awake the entire time waiting for something to happen, but like a Henry James novel, nothing happened and suddenly it was two hours later. The fantasy this movie is selling, that a clumsy waitress falls in love with a completely anal pillbug of a fashion designer in 1950s British countryside, yawn, what was I saying? Oh yeah, Academy Awards – what a great statue organization! I hope they carry armfuls of them home.
SIX Academy Awards nominations for this? OK, Paul Thomas Anderson is brilliant, The Master was amazing, and this film looks really cool, but the story is about a young woman falling hopelessly in love with a much older established man (duh) and SHE BITES HER SPOON NOISILY WHILE EATING OATMEAL!!! Actually that is the high point of the film, and I will give PTA credit for making it almost interesting.
The dresses are not even that cool! Everything is crumpled satin, lace, and nothing showing – British 50’s high society is probably the most boring time and place for fashion in the history of fashion. And if you’re making a film about dull fashion, you’d better spice it up with a knock-out story, not some recycled Woody Allen bullshit.
It’s Daniel Day Lewis’s final film and I can see why. He has to milk this poor cow for every dying penny. Who ‘retires’ as an actor? He’s only 60! What’s he going to do, learn to sew for reals? I’ve heard of actors ‘retiring’ before and then six months later they’re bored out of their minds and making grandparent films. There is no way this movie would have reaped SIX goddamn AA nominations if he hadn’t LOUDLY PROCLAIMED he was quitting the cinema like a drunk self-pitying loser when his birthday party goes sour. Where’s the glass eye with the eagle on it and the giant meat cleaver? That’s the Daniel Day Lewis I want to remember, when and if he actually does retire – not some mincing sap who loses his shit when someone butters their toast too loud.
The characters sucked in this film. The female lead (Vicky Krieps) has no qualities, she wants nothing other than – like The Stone Roses – to be adored. She: offers nothing and wants everything. He: self-absorbed ‘genius’ momma’s-boy who finds everything irritating and can only offer affection when he’s been weakened by poison. The bitchy ‘I’ll clean up the mess’ sister (Lesley Manville) has amazingly deep blue eyes and gives a great performance for such weak material (get it?), but unfortunately she’s not bitchy enough to save the Thread and she turns all nice at the end anyway.
The woman sitting next to the aforementioned sleeping-mustached-guy was furiously texting throughout the entire movie, which normally would have bugged me, but instead I just kept marveling at how perfect they were, as a couple. They are the ones who deserve an Oscar! Most Not Watching the Movie Couple of the Year! I commend you.
Phantom Thread is now showing at Nitehawk Cinema.