March 10th, 2019

Phantom Thread

 Paul Thomas Anderson regularly takes us into worlds we haven't seen on film before-or only superficially- the porn industry, big oil, haute couture-  and peoples them with characters we haven't seen before, characters without precedent, that have had to be created from the bottom up.  Most people in movies are variations on stock types, the damaged cop, the adventurer, the femme fatale, the ingenue, but couturier Reynolds Woodcock, played by an actor with a history of creating from the bottom up- is a unique creation- a unicorn, a phoenix- just like the oilman Daniel Plainview, who was the last person Anderson and Day-Lewis invented together.

The film concludes in metaphysics- and so must have been metaphysical all the way through; we just weren't picking up on the markers.  An earlier generation would have hived the metaphysics off into "dream sequences" or "fantasy sequences" that were flagged up as such so the audience knew what plane they were supposed to be on- but perhaps that's not necessary any more.