Film review: Phantom Thread (Director: Paul Thomas Anderson)
By Sascha Krieger
Breakfast. It used to be regarded as the day’s most important meal. Andy while experts have long denied it, for many people a good and harmonious breakfast is still a key ingredient in starting the day right. In Paul Thomas Anderson’s Oscars candidate Phantom Thread, it is perhaps the most important plot element. When the current love interest and muse of celebrated 1950s London couturier Reynolds Woodcock offers his the wrong bakery, she gets thrown out of his life and house. When waitress Alma holds her own and smiles steadfastly in the face of an excessive breakfast order, she enters his life forcefully. And when he explodes at her buttering her toast to noisily, their relationship changes dramatically. Woodcock is a man of many and inflexible rules, his life carefully structured. He knows what he wants and needs and that’s basically for everybody to conform to his whims and regulations. Alma poses a threat: she questions his rules, subverts them, stubbornly insists he meet her at eye level. There is only one person in his life who has done this: his sister Cyril on whom he relies in everything. When she checks him and tells him quietly he wouldn’t survive a fight with her, he gives in.