As a general narrative, the May-December romance can either be predictable and boring, or the audience walks into the theater thinking they know what they will be watching and is then surprised by out of left field choices made by the writer or writers.
In the new film, Phantom Thread, the never married middle-aged brother and sister duo Reynolds and Cyril Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis and Lesley Manville) are the faces one of the most respected fashion houses in 1950’s London. Their clientele are the whose who of society. Reynolds is meticulous in everything that he does. He also has a string of young lovers/muses who often come and go in a blink of an eye. Enter Alma (Vicky Krieps). Working as a waitress, Alma and Reynolds’s meet cute is at the restaurant where she works. She soon abandons her life for a life with Reynolds. Reynolds finds himself in love, but also learns that Alma is not afraid to call out his bullsh*t when she deems it necessary. She also turns his once carefully ordered world upside down.
What I especially liked about this movie is that writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson does not allow his characters to remain as 2D caricatures that have been seen far too many times. Instead he has created characters with shades of gray who are far from perfect. I also liked that the ending was not cut and dry. The ending was far from the typical ending of a romantic drama and left open quite a few questions about the character’s future that in another writer’s hands, would have been tied together just a little too neatly. While the film is a little slow, it is definitively worth a trip to the movie theater.
I recommend it.
Phantom Thread is currently in theaters.
*-This review contains spoilers. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the movie.
Maleficent is magnificent.
The 1959 animated Sleeping Beauty movie, the source material from which the screen play is taken from is twisted in a delightful and intricate manner.
Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) is a fairy, who develops a friendship and then a teenage romance with a human called Stefan (Sharlto Copley). But Stefan is ambitious. The dying king announces that the man who kills Maleficent will crowned king upon his death. Using their relationship to his advantage, Stefan cuts off Maleficent’s wings to gain the throne.
Years later, Stefan is now king and parent to a brand new baby girl. At her christening, she is being blessed by the three fairies Flittle (Lesley Manvile), Knotgrass (Imelda Staunton) and Thistlewit (Juno Temple). Seeking revenge, Maleficent curses the new princess. After the curse, the princess (played as a teenager by Elle Fanning) is taken away from the castle, Maleficent watches over the child with a strange maternal instinct with the help of her servant Diaval (Sam Riley).
I loved this movie. While I find the Disney princess movies from that era of Sleeping Beauty to be one note, black and white and not how I want to spend my movie watching time, this movie takes these characters from one dimension to three dimensions. Maleficent is not just a villain just to be a villain, she is hurting from Stefan’s betrayal and uses that hurt to justify her actions. I’m not normally a fan of Angelina Jolie, but she is magnificent and perfectly cast in this role. The special effects were just enough to enhance the story, not used to cover up a hole in the screenplay.
I highly recommend this movie.