'Phantom Thread': The Requirements Of Ownership, Love & Letting Go

Director Paul Thomas Anderson has a pension for toxic men and profound, clever women in his films. “Phantom Thread,” his latest, is no exception to this theme. While ostensibly a tug of war in a relationship cursed by control, PTA’s “Phantom Thread” is a threefold character study.

Audiences see Alma, Reynolds, and Cyril grow, confront one another, and fall prey to manipulative behavior, only to have the tables turned. There is a lot to admire about PTA’s latest, but there is also much to question. Here, we provide a video essay to try and answer some questions, bringing a magnifying glass to the more elusive stitches that hold the film together.

In this video essay by Must-See Films, an extensive analysis of PTA’s most recent work is detailed. While the thesis of the video focuses on the journey of love and letting go from the position of Reynolds Woodcock, supporting arguments coincide with developing and established characteristics of Cyril and Alma. Each of the characters meets a sort of challenge in one way or another.

There’s a constant jostling need for power, control, and ownership within the House of Woodcock. But everything is disrupted, when Alma enters the story. The video essay begins with a sort of fixation on the protagonist and antagonist as themes paired off with characters. But as the movie unravels, like a garment whose threads have come loose, circumstances become far more complicated.

It is a movie that may take a few times to catch everything. PTA’s camera work, character exchanges, even Jonny Greenwood‘s haunting, effective score all play their respective role in this film. Its a twisted narrative disguised in a finely fitted suit and coiffed hair. You may want to grab your notepad for this thoughtful consideration of theme and story, but begin by noting it will be well worth it.