: The one he sewed especially for her when he was just a young teenage boy. The mother he couldn’t get close enough to; the mother he lost to death. In another movie, with other people, maybe Alma would go back to the countryside and leave Reynolds and Cyril to their work. If I choose to. I never really liked myself. : If he sticks to that announcement, Phantom Thread is a very high note on which to leave, although Reynolds Woodcock is a much different, internal, more oblique character than There Will Be Blood’s Daniel Plainview. [voice-over] The weapons of the weak aren’t always communist. Reynolds Woodcock to be. ? Hard Eight, Boogie Nights, and Magnolia are all talkier films, the latter two owing visible debts to Anderson’s inspirations, directors like Martin Scorsese and the late Robert Altman. It is accepted that this will be a new addition to the routine, his new method of catharsis and his admittance that Alma is his world. The relationship between Reynolds and Alma is romantic, but also an extension of the more perverse and intense quality of the coupling on display in Punch-Drunk Love. : I take care of your dresses, keeping them from dust and ghosts and time. So why are you not married? Alma Matters: Modelling and Being in Phantom Thread, “a wonderful attempt, a passionate attempt, a little, Memory House by Brazilian Director Joao Paulo Miranda Maria Wins the Roger Ebert Award at the 56th Chicago International Film Festival, High Powered: Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson on Synchronic, Highlights from Ebert Symposium on Future of Movie Industry, Ebert Symposium 2020: Part 2 Streaming Today, October 22nd, 2020. My neck was - skinny like a bird. The first person to appear on screen in Paul Thomas Anderson’s new film is not Daniel Day-Lewis’s character, who runs a high-end fashion business in early 1950’s London and has the rather peculiar, borderline porn star name Reynolds Woodcock (apparently chosen by Day-Lewis, according to Anderson). : Nothing is normal or natural or... everything is a game! Call it a ‘love story’ if you like, but say what you mean. : : So, Alma has him under her spell, right? Everyone’s going wow, a perfect movie, wow, wow and I feel like I’m losing my mind, because no one’s talking about the grotesquerie of mutual conjugal violence at the core of the film and its meta-violent function in masking the violence of class. It's you who brought me here. : : She figures out just the exact amount needed to make him so deathly sick he can’t move; and can’t take care of himself. Or maybe, better yet, it’s a truce of mutual need; a truce that’s as perverse as it gets. For the first time in the film, Reynolds is helpless, relying on Alma in every way, even when a young doctor (the man with whom Alma is speaking in the framing device) comes by to check up on the older patient. They were lonely kids and now they’re lonely, isolated, adults. I stand normally. We are always left on the edge of our seats in Anderson’s films. asks Alma. I’m talking about what she does to other women, but admittedly it is easily occluded by the unforgettable character of what she does in order to become the new Mrs. Reynolds (which I don’t, unlike some reviewers, have a moral problem with, exactly). This was an ambush, Alma. : So I don't stand around like a fucking fool. Being a muse is fun for a while, but it demands nothing of Alma beyond her ability to stand still for many hours. I'm sure about that. : She is clearly out of reach. A loss he couldn’t control. Earlier this fall, I wrote about Anderson’s masterful, sprawling tragicomic epic Boogie Nights upon its 20th anniversary and how so many of his films focus on the creation of a makeshift family when biological family members simply won’t do. Well, this is a very good question, or at least, one that mobs of fascists and their liberal-centrist allies are more or less continuously voicing in this, our xenophobic moment. What game am I playing? Phantom Thread, on the other hand, is very much about mothers and sons, in more ways than one. We’ve already noted – and Anderson’s confirmed – that Alma is a refugee from the Holocaust. After toying with the dress, the designer stands up and his model turns around to face him: finally face-to-face, they smile to each other as each other’s master in submission. I couldn’t stop laughing: equality of the sexes – figured by the pseudo-aristocratic creative and what The Guardian calls the ‘lowly serving maid’ – is achieved in the end via entrepreneurship. Alma : Alma And we have large gatherings where everyone is laughing and playing games. She is a living, breathing woman and, their meet-cute now a thing of the past, reality sets in—and reality doesn’t stand still. Here, Anderson argues that romance isn’t the beautiful demonstration of selfless admiration and tenderness that it is often presented to be (and of which a wedding is supposed to be the crystallization). Alma Or does she? Where's your gun? This puts him in danger. I’m glad my piece on Phantom Thread made sense of this very thought-provoking film. Reynolds Woodcock And, brother and sister are inextricably linked, needing each other (they have no one else) but also needing control. With a deeply unresolved mother loss – whether it’s because she died too early or was unreachable in life (I’d guess both for Reynolds Woodcock) a hungry boy must keep his need for love in check. Is this my house? In fact, Alma only puts a few ground-up pieces of mushroom in Reynolds’ tea, but it’s enough to cause him to pass out, suffer gastrointestinal distress, and hallucinate about his long-dead mother. Cyril takes a similarly passive-aggressive tone, smirking that her brother “loves a little belly.” Standing in her underwear in front of two strangers, Alma is incredulous, unsettled and maybe a bit delighted at being placed on display. Reynolds Woodcock The peaks and valleys of their relationship make up the rest of the opaque story. Dr. Robert Hardy Anyway, I went to see The Phantom Thread the other day by accident, complying with a friend. And what is the need for it? Reynolds Woodcock In a fine bit of physical acting, Krieps becomes more stern and slouchy, like a bored teenager. She wants to be his one and only for just a little while longer, so she poisons him with mushrooms. Reynolds Woodcock : That's it. You're not going to die. Then, he meets Alma – a young waitress. Alma Reynolds Woodcock Maybe you have no taste. Yet muses are fleeting, and Alma is painfully aware of her short shelf life. : Women don’t have to be anti-productivity and anti-work, you see; in the proper dosage, their ministrations – darling, ‘slow down’! Don't start blubbering, Alma. When cloaked in the most exquisite garments, the “naturally beautiful” woman can seem at once effortlessly charming, and too good to be true. Alma Every woman around him sees his reality, but it is Alma who cements the dynamic in her favour. Alma, though, she’s different. She’s offering herself even before he has to ask. After their disastrous surprise dinner, he bluntly tells Alma to “fuck off.” He cares for his patterns -of his clothes and of life—more than he cares for her. Also: some of the people whose film criticism I admire the most absolutely hated, . Reynolds Woodcock “Why don’t you just fuck off to back where you came from” is Mr. Reynolds Woodcock’s reply. Like that. Alma And, voila! It becomes just as dangerous as adults who still have that lonely, scared child living inside them. Not for me I hope. Stop it! Alma Yes. Marriage would make me deceitful and I don't ever want that. Company Credits Posted on Monday, January 22nd, 2018 by Josh Spiegel. Each exists in a different time and place; Reynolds and Alma are the first to live and work within a different country. Everything here! Just like the ‘perfect’ cinema that people seem to think Anderson ‘creates’, a fancy gown is the work of many. What? Eventually, she wants power back. In the event, I loved it, cackling and gasping with glee and excitement through the whole thing. [quietly] A quick montage of close-ups emphasizes the complexity of the dress’s fastening and how closely its bustier holds the Countess—anxiety and elegance bound together. ( Log Out / She’ll seduce that hungry boy into a situation where he has no choice but to depend on her and to accept her care. Alma : Instead, Alma sticks around and chooses to spring on her lover another surprise. Paul Thomas Anderson has done it again. She’s not like “them.” Those other women (a collection of “she’s”) – sat back, silent, unhappy, and as on the periphery of his life as Reynolds felt as a young boy with his mom. 42 more photos Quotes . : When Alma tells him that she wants him to be utterly helpless and in his care, on his back and waiting for her aid, it is like a light has turned on in his mind. Whatever you do, do it carefully. Paul Thomas Anderson juxtaposes Reynolds’ easy charm and tailored elegance with the suffocating pressure of his process. Perhaps the option of this reading also depends on whether you understood the dresses to be good or not (which I didn’t); and maybe more generally whether you believe in ‘the genius of creation’ and Art in the first place (impossible, i.m.o., to take those concepts seriously in the capitalist context). In every routine, every dress he designs, every breakfast he orders, with every person he meets, Reynolds is looking to recreate this sense of permanence and security (a colleague and I joked that this is the better 2017 film that could have been titled “mother!”). The film was Day-Lewis's final role before his retirement. : We see how Reynolds’s mother haunts him, standing aloofly aside, a ghost of a memory in her wedding dress.
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