The Oscars are tomorrow night and Get Out is the most talked about and divisive film to come around in a long time. Is it a comedy, is a horror movie, is it a documentary? While I’m rooting for Jordan Peele’s directorial debut and feel it should win for Original Screenplay, I think there's a better film that should not only win Best Picture but also Best Director and Original Score. That film, of course, is Phantom Thread because it's mad beautiful and is easily my favorite movie of the year. In fact, I almost spent $80 to watch it again with a live orchestra playing the score at BAM in Brooklyn last weekend, but nobody wanted to go with me, so I was relegated to watching my screener copy for what was probably like the fifth time.
Phantom Thread is about letting yourself be vulnerable enough to be loved. It follows Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis), Britain’s most sought after fashion designer who has little time or patience for meaningful relationships. That’s until Alma (Vicky Krieps) comes along to challenge Woodcock’s way of life. She’s not intimidated by his social stature or his success, and she’s not satisfied with just being his muse. The two struggle in an enchanting dance of love, sacrifice, and solidarity. This is a love story that doesn’t leave you wondering what a fish man’s penis might look like. Hopefully, this fact swayed this year’s Academy voters Phantom’s way.
Beyond the story, one of my favorite things about the film is the music. It bugged me out when I Googled to see who produced the score, and to my surprise, it was my guy Jonny Greenwood from one of my favorite bands, Radiohead. My skater friends who I used to sell hella weed to in college put me on to them back in the day. Hail to the Thief had just come out and that shit blew my mind. Greenwood also scored There Will Be Blood (another favorite of mine), and he did his thing once again in Phantom Thread. The opening scene with Alma shows her sitting by a fire as she tells a writer about Woodcock making her dreams come true and how she gave every piece of herself to him in return. All the while, Greenwood’s classical piano skills are going hammer. I was immediately locked in.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first caught wind of this movie. I’m a big fan of director Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Day-Lewis, yet I wasn’t too hype on watching another movie centered around hella white people. Still, I was up early on a Saturday for no reason and fired the screener up and was fixated by the music and cinematography alone. But I stayed for Vicky Krieps, who stole my guy Danny D’s thunder in what is supposedly his last movie ever.
Vicky went toe-to-toe with the god so effortlessly; I get pissed whenever I remember that she didn’t get nominated for an Oscar for her performance. You’d figured those old white men at the Academy would be all over a movie like this. They’ll probably give Best Picture to the mid as fuck Three Billboards. Them cats didn’t even bother to watch Get Out, so why would they give a relatively unknown foreign actress a Leading Actress nomination? Alma was the perfect woman for a dude like Woodcock; a true ride or die.
There’s one scene where Alma takes the dress off a drunk, rich lady because her behavior was giving the Woodcock fashion house a bad name. To me, this is equivalent to a shorty that hides drugs when the cops pull you over, like “huh, ma, boof that.” These are the women you give the world to. And she diabolically poisoned Woodcock to make him weak enough so that she could have him all to herself because he's a meticulous workaholic with a strong case of OCD. I'm talking the type of OCD that makes your significant other buttering toast in the morning a cause for concern. He dug that move so much, he asked for her hand in marriage.
The push and pull between Alma and Woodcock, Greenwood’s score, and P.T.A.’s cinematography make Phantom Thread more than just another mundane period piece centered around European elites. I went in thinking I was going to hate this movie, and was left with wanting to find true love like my guy Woodcock. I hit the second joint I was smoking when the credits went up and asked myself: “Damn, where’s my Alma at?”