Critic Reviews



Based on 51 critic reviews provided by
The director’s most outwardly accessible movie in ages, Phantom Thread is at once an evocative period drama and a magical fable about lonely, solipsistic people finding solace in their mutual sense of alienation.
There is such pure delicious pleasure in this film, in its strangeness, its vehemence, its flourishes of absurdity, carried off with superb elegance.
The odd scenarios keep coming, fast and thick. Phantom Thread is built along the theoretically familiar lines of gothic romance – if you had to pick a predecessor, it would probably be Hitchcock’s Rebecca – but it’s very hard in the moment to work out where on earth it’s going, or even how conventionally romantic Reynolds and Alma’s relationship actually is.
Slant Magazine
Phantom Thread arrives at a place of qualified peace that cauterizes the emotional wounds of Paul Thomas Anderson's cinema.
[Anderson's] unobtrusive aesthetic, calibrated to highlight his actors and, of course, the fashion, belies its deceptive luxuriousness. This is a movie you’ll want to live in for the pure joy of reveling in Anderson’s effortless mastery.
More unconventional and downright weird on a moment-to-moment basis than it is in overall design and intent, it's a singular work played out mostly in small rooms that harks back to psychological melodramas of the 1940s/50s but hits stylistic notes entirely its own.
Writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson has crafted a period drama of startling tonal fluidity, and Daniel Day-Lewis and Vicky Krieps deliver reserved performances that slowly reveal significant depth, transcending the material’s potential plight-of-the-artist clichés to hit at something far richer and more mysterious about desire, ambition and control.
An elegantly stitched romance of vector-crossing emotional neediness, it’s set in an evocative ecosphere of haute couture fashion. But by the time it reaches its appetizingly perverse end, the film primarily reaffirms Anderson’s own skill at hand-crafting exquisitely conflicting interior and external worlds.
Phantom Thread is classical and deliberate, with few of his former signatures like ostentatious flourishes of camera, editing, or music. That may frustrate some Anderson fans, but Phantom Thread’s luxurious but restrained aesthetic perfectly matches Reynolds Woodcock’s approach to design.
Gorgeous and unpredictable, and maybe a little indulgent, Phantom Thread is another fascinating drama from Paul Thomas Anderson, with captivating lead performances by Daniel Day-Lewis and Vicky Krieps.

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