3 February 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Ok first things first, give credit where credit is due. The acting cannot be faulted; Day-Lewis, Manville and Krieps are superb - captivating and convincing. Manville's portrayal of Cyril, Reynolds' sister, was highly enjoyable (indeed, I think her's was the only character I liked). The camera work also facilitated the storytelling and the setting was elegant.

Now for the bad. SPOILERS BELOW. Try as much as the cinematography might there simply was nothing to tell. Or there was and I simply did not like it. I oscillated between the two whilst watching. Perhaps it was my fault for not doing my research beforehand (I simply saw Day-Lewis name and put it on my 'to-watch' list) but I thought it would be a drama/romance. What it actually turned out to be was an extremely dysfunctional and borderline abusive relationship between a work-obssessed fashion designer, Reynolds, and his live-in human mannequin (and part-time muse, part-time annoyance), Alma, who looks 30 years his junior. Only this time it's the young woman doing the sort-of abusing. Call me crazy but any relationship which relies on one party being poisoned every now and then in order to know how to show his 'soft side' and express his affections is not something to be lauded (please don't call it love... might I suggest unhealthy interdependence or obsession instead). Someone should refer them to counselling. Alma openly relishes in Reynolds' increasing reliance on her. His willing submission to her ministrations left me aghast and left me watching their whirling vortex of intense attraction and destruction with increasing apprehension and distaste. Now I don't need protagonists to be potential bosom buddy material in order appreciate a film but I need at least to like them in some respect (even a very small one will do). Unfortunately I found the couple's actions, emotions and motivations simply difficult to empathise with.

I've watched plenty of films/tv shows where 'disturbing' was the main course but this film somehow managed to disturb me more than all of those combined. Perhaps it was because I wasn't prepared for it and it therefore amplified my reaction. I watch films to be moved, educated or entertained. I'm sorry, but this was none of the above. Don't watch if you want any more than a glimpse of a good time.
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