Phantom Thread (2017)

Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson

In 1950s London, renowned British dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock comes across Alma, a young, strong-willed woman, who soon becomes ever present in his life as his muse and lover.

Phantom Thread is a film proudly tied to its influences. The names Woodcock and Alma, a nod to Alfred Hitchcock and his wife and collaborator Alma Reville, set the stage for a deep connection with Hitchcock’s oeuvre. We see similarities to his 1940 adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, which deals with the young wife of an older, wealthy man. Separated by class and social standing as much as by the imposing housemaid and her husband’s self-absorbed lack of care, the basic plot could be applied to Alma’s story. Added in is a heavy mix of Vertigo, where, again, an older man becomes obsessed with a woman (younger, working class) and attempts to transform her into his physical ideal.

Chelsea Phillips-Carr (Another Gaze)