Ball gowns, toxic love — and mushrooms?
The California Aggie’s arts desk took a trip to Varsity Theater to see “Phantom Thread,” an Oscar-nominated film about Reynolds Woodcock, a 1950s London dressmaker. Aggie arts writers take a closer look at the film — and perhaps mushrooms.
For boys and girls hungry for a gripping, psychological movie theater experience, “Phantom Thread” is the movie that hits the spot — not unlike a fistful of questionable mushrooms. Inextricably tying together themes of love, violence, domesticity and dependency, the film depicts the relationship of a dressmaker and waitress in 1950s London as a means of exploring the connections between these seemingly disparate subjects. The finished product is a tapestry that artfully chronicles an increasingly toxic relationship that should challenge all viewers to examine their own personal relationships.
“Phantom Thread” transcends all cinematic expectations, in more ways than one. It is captivating as much as it is mystifying, completely enthralling its audience into the world of the Woodcock family. Daniel Day Lewis’ performance, alongside Vicky Krieps’, perfectly depicts the convoluted romance that ensues between their characters, Reynolds and Alma. “Phantom Thread” leaves you yearning for more, but also contemplating your own feelings about what transpires between the two lovers in the end. Confused? You should be.
The long, kinky journey to a man’s heart truly does end in his stomach — as the new saying goes. Daniel Day-Lewis and Vicky Krieps find balance in their relationship through exchange of power and dependency. The predictability of London in the 1950s calls for a little “it’s complicated” — woven into the lining of the clothes. The visual integrity of the era is preserved in the detail of the costuming, and the soft tones juxtapose the dark love that it clothes.
This two-hour film about a 1950s London dressmaker was anything but lacey and delicate. “Phantom Thread” is dark and foreboding, diving deep into a relationship that gives many meanings to “toxic.” The visuals are striking, with rich colors and textures dashing across the screen in the shape of gowns. Every sound is amplified to a conspicuous degree; even the puncturing sounds of needlework resonate in a theater. But the production is as successful as the film’s dynamic characters, whose complex personalities set the scene for an ending that both shocks and resolves. By the end of the film, viewers are forced to examine the autonomy of their relationships — or more accurately, their dependence on them.
What’s not to expect from this movie? Well, basically anything the trailer shows. What I thought was to be a period melodrama veered hard off the beaten trail of that path, turning into a period mystery piece surrounding the possibly masochistic ideals of Abe Lincoln’s relationship with a young woman in London. Thank you Daniel Day Lewis?
Expect to leave the theater in a weird mix of genuine shock and gross relatability — and to be thinking about the film for days after. The underpinnings of a successful, or not so successful, relationship is the overall theme of the plot — the lengths at which we depend on those that we love. I’ll end with this: beware of mushrooms.
Cara Joy Kleinrock
Walking into the movie I had no idea what to expect besides the fact that Daniel Day Lewis would be amazing. The cinematography was exquisite, and you could see every detail in each piece of clothing. The storyline is compelling, although walking out I still didn’t understand what it was exactly that I watched.
Written by: The Arts Desk — firstname.lastname@example.org