Part 4: Phantom Thread

“The tea is leaving, but the interruption is staying right here with me.” – Reynolds Woodcock, played by Daniel Day-Lewis, in Phantom Thread.

Nominations

Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress

Basic Plot

Still not sure to be honest.  But I’ll give it my best attempt…here goes…

Set mostly in London, a designer by the name of Woodcock (i’m sure he had a first name but once you hear ‘Woodcock’, the first name is lost on anyone seeing the movie.  Thank you to whomever wrote the script for that snippet of comic relief…and sorry mom, lol) meets some tall, model-pale gal at some seaside eatery.  He takes her to dinner, then has his personal assistant/stoic sister take her measurements, he picks out some heinous lilac/rose/purple color fabric (i’d have gone with the navy blue), they have real bizarre chemistry, she becomes his live-in lady friend who he treats like garbage, she seems to enjoy the challenge, she’s a noisy eater, she’s a noisy water and tea pourer, it drives him nuts, he tries to make her leave, she returns the favor by dosing him with just enough poisonous mushrooms to just about kill him, she takes care of him, they get married, he falls back into his routine of being a jerk, wants to be rid of her, she returns the favor by dosing him with just enough poisonous mushrooms to just about kill him, she pours water very loudly again, he oddly enough knows what she is doing with he mushrooms, she knows he knows, they both enjoy it, and they are back to being in love again.  That’s about the gist of it.

It screams Oscar nom, right?!

Sigh…

mushroom

drink your tea carefully…

My Largely Irrelevant Commentary

This is a case where the previews sold the movie with the “you can hide anything on the inside of a coat” line and the fact that it is supposedly Daniel Day-Lewis final feature film. I saw that preview on Hulu so many times I must have been brainwashed into going to see it.  I honestly was intrigued by the preview propaganda and really wanted to check out this movie.

That whole ‘sewing things into the lining of a coat’ nonsense was referenced all of two times in the movie and they were basically in passing.  Not even a central aspect of the storyline.  I hate when a preview lies to my face!

The Acting

Sigh…again

I don’t know the guy, but Daniel Day-Lewis strikes me as the type of actor who chooses his roles carefully.  Kind of a quality versus quantity actor.  Think of his portrayal of Lincoln – obviously a super talent.  I didn’t get this movie and I didn’t get his performance in it.  I don’t understand why he went after that role for his curtain call.  It was one of the quietest movies I have seen.  If you could mute it, you wouldn’t have missed much.  He barely had any lines.  I know actors have to work with what they are given in terms of a script, but damn. It was not a good performance, and even sadder is that it may have been his final performance in a feature film.  Way to not end on a high-note (although I guess he has since he pulled a best lead actor nomination out of a rather lackluster performance).

Lesley Manville plays his sister.  And while I thought she did a decent job, I didn’t think it was that significant of a role for her to garner enough attention to get a supporting actress nomination.  Her character just didn’t feel significant and her lines were limited even though she appears in a good chunk of the film.

The gal that plays the love interest I thought had the best performance of the three main characters.  She was not nominated for anything, and if any of the cast was going to pull out a nomination, I’d have thought it would have been her.  There was a somewhat comedic aspect to the film that I thought she pulled off successfully and I’ll give her props for doing what she could with a poor script.  Keep in mind that I am assuming it was intended to be funny.

The Film

What in the holy heck was that movie even about?! Perhaps I missed something?  I’ve practically begged a few people I know to go see it and report back to me because I just didn’t get it.  It was so odd; and I embrace odd.  There was barely any spoken dialogue over the course of 2+ hours.  And the movie desperately need something.  Words and dialogue are a good place to start!

It really bothers me when I don’t understand the title of a movie.  “Phantom Thread” – I don’t even know how to interpret that after seeing the film.  The only part of it that I can relate to is that there is thread present int he film.  Right next to all the weirdness and silence and mushroom poison.

It’s a typical Paul Thomas Anderson film; I get that.  But I personally didn’t care for the movie and I don’t understand any of the nominations at all.  And I generally enjoy the non-mainstream films.  Thank god there was some humor strewn about the film, because the only thing I felt it had going for it.

Phantom Thread is the Manchester by the Sea of 2018; we still have no idea what either are about, we want our 2+ (now 4+) hours back, and we are left a little underwhelmed.  I sincerely hope I just missed the point and that others will enjoy it more than I did!  In summary, it was borderline the best nap I’ve had in a while.

I will leave you with this final tale…

My sister and I went to see this movie, for free thankfully, with our new MoviePass cards at one of my two favorite local theaters called The Terrace.  We got there a bit early since we were coming from dinner, so we sat at one of the tables in the lobby and played a rousing round of Battleship.  One of the many reasons I like The Terrace theater – they have games to give you something to do while you wait. And who doesn’t like the nostalgia of playing the game of Battleship with your sister some 25+ years after the last time you played it?!  We even did the sound effects when you had a direct hit.  And yes, we made each other say – out loud – “Hey! You sunk my Battleship!”

game.jpg

Why is this relevant?  To say the riveting game of Battleship was the highlight of our visit to The Terrace theater that night would be a massive understatement.  And I even lost.

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