Author Topic: Phantom Thread - SPOILERS!  (Read 19418 times)

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wilder

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Re: Phantom Thread - SPOILERS!
« Reply #150 on: January 13, 2018, 01:39:26 AM »
+1
sometimes Reynolds sounds so, so pissed off,  as if he fucking hates people. it isn't necessarily a personal affront against another person, rather an expression of an interior force.

Totally. You see it in the scene when he's "backstage" helping ready the dresses as the girls are exiting and entering, modeling for the members of high society. He even catches himself after losing his temper, almost under his breath "Sorry, sorry..."

i'll admit that i've submitted to the film as being a kind of universal allegory of all relationships […] and view the power dynamic more as a dance than a fight.

The rhythm of the film does sort of play like a dance… Greenwood’s score too kind of paints it like a dark round in a ballroom. I like what PT said in reference to Aimee Mann’s music, on Kimmel, that she makes “upbeat downers”. PT is also so great at combining disparate tones to make you look again at something you might have thought askance about, initially. He just talked about Boogie Nights this way, on the Nerdist podcast. How up until its release the representations of the porn world had swung wildly between the bleak view of Hardcore and the extremely silly, on the other end, with no nuanced in-between. The way he presents this whole scenario has got to be on the top of a list of those that expand the vernacular. It keeps rolling over and over, in me. The first time was very funny but felt darker, the second watch felt bright and prickly, and on my third it went darkly beautiful, again. The film is truly alive.

i also do think think in that dinner scene that reynolds does know that he needs alma, or loves her more than he lets on, as suggested by how taken aback he is when he hears her say something as painful as feeling unwanted, but isn't ready to open about it, and he certainly isn't going to concede or let her win that argument.  he'd sooner tell her to fuck off. 

I can swing with that to a certain extent. He certainly needs her more than he’s willing to let on and isn’t going to present himself as weak to her at this point. Really I agree with the things you said, I just don’t know how deeply/permanently attached he can become, and as Etan pointed out, we don’t see the aftermath enough to know (although that’s a different movie and definitely isn’t necessary, here). I see Reynolds as the type of guy, if Alma and he were to split, to mope and moan for a week and then be over it and onto the next one, because the honeymoon period seems to be what he likes, as is evidenced by every relationship he’s had in the film up til Alma. Once the glimmer wears off, infatuation fades, and there are obligations to another person, I don't know that I can see him sticking around through the thick and thin. Obviously just speculation. The movie wants them to succeed.

on to etan.  i don't find his oversimplification of character psychology in the film to be in any way cogent.  if anything one of the things pta does so brilliantly is eschew easy psychological character mapping.  there seems to be a common issue with those with negative impressions of the film are an overly literal reading of the film, and broad judgements made about the characters based on said reading.

I like the way you put that, and I also completely disagree with his reductive psychological description ("Woodcock has mommy issues, Alma wants to be seen as beautiful") and yet I sympathize with his reading, because the movie is so dense. Jenkins' observation above about Reynolds not being so much hateful towards any one person as just bursting with an unrestrained energy and ruled by his moods is one such example. I certainly relate to aspects of that. That description of him is a fucking sentence though, it takes a sentence long to parse how dense the emotions being portrayed are. He could be described as “moody” or “an asshole” or “obsessive”, or “artistic”, etc., but a word alone doesn’t seem to do the trick. So I’m not sure how easy he is to see into…

Maybe it’s partially that the way romance has been portrayed in so many films and stories as sort of mythical and compartmentalized - distinctions between wonderful times and sad times made achingly clear beat for beat, has trained audiences not to buy this as one. “We tell ourselves stories in order to live”, Joan Didion says. Excise the mud of it. This movie doesn’t really do that at all. There are so many moments in Phantom Thread that ’eschew easy psychological character mapping’, as you said, and blend the positive with the negative - like Alma’s initial fitting. What a thrill, having a dress made by this couture designer! But then also to be subtly cut down? (“You have no breasts”) But then he professes she’s “the perfect shape”? It must be confusing to parse, for her.

The film is brilliant at replicating the feeling of looking back on a relationship you’re no longer in when you’re having difficulty distinguishing the good moments from the bad, wondering if you made the right decision, or if you saw it for what it was. It’s all a blur and something you accepted and embraced wholesale when in it. All the pills had to be swallowed together and you’re not sure what’s causing what feeling. This is devolving into word soup. I want to quote your previous post again:

i described this movie as the 2001: a space odyssey of romances to someone to relate how momentous i find this movie to be.  there's a nebulous, all-encompassing quality to what this movie's about in the context of romantic relationships that engages in that kubrickian "bow to the unknown" (as jan harlan once put it) that i find utterly poignant.

A fish asking 'what’s water?'…it’s soo good at that… and so good at capturing the valley between two people that can’t be quantified. The unknown unknowns. You said it better.

obviously i find his rejection of the film's success as an allegory for relationships in general to be misguided, particularly in his insistence that its functionality as allegory is contingent on its success on a literal level.

Same

i've always maintained that human beings are fucking insane

I just wanted to quote this.

that this film is decidedly unromantic (in the traditional sense) in its portrayal of a relationship is one of the reasons why it's so goddamn great.  thought matt ross put it nicely in his indiewire blurb where he posits that one of the things the film is about is "the impossibility of understanding a relationship from the outside (that is – if one is not in it)."

Abso-fucking-lutely

Drenk

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Re: Phantom Thread - SPOILERS!
« Reply #151 on: January 13, 2018, 01:36:17 PM »
0
Haven't read it so it might be bad, but putting it here so I'll read when I'll have seen the movie.

The New York Review of Books — The Pattern and Passion of Phantom Thread.

http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2018/01/13/the-pattern-and-passion-of-phantom-thread/
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md

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Re: Phantom Thread - SPOILERS!
« Reply #152 on: January 13, 2018, 05:30:07 PM »
0
what do you guys make of "never cursed"?

In either the Bill Simmons podcast or the one with Rian Johnson, PTA said he and DDL discussed the idea of family curses and what that meant to them and if they were real.  So maybe that has some meaning or inspiration for the hidden msg. 

Was anyone able to pick up one of the lovely booklets they were giving away at the Arclight 70mm screenings?  A beautiful little treasure.




PTA always comes through with the goods time and time again.  I walked into the film a few minutes late, sort of thrown into the middle of the scene with Reynolds and Alma in front of the fire.  And the film switch really turned on when he's measuring Alma and he says "25" and its beautifully synced with that nice pan of the tape reel.  Felt very much like a warm PTA smile and all things started going in full motion.  Like the later surveying scenes in TWBB. 

The first act of the film felt so out of place with today's 'standards' of cinema -- the dialogue, the pacing, even the cinematography and staging -- it all felt very foreign and very nostalgic.    I almost needed to check myself in order to get lost in the PTA magic.  Maybe the cynic in me was being tested.  And by the time Reynolds is at the New Years Eve party and there is that long hold on the two of them just staring at each other in silence my emotions are completely gushing. 

For some reason I could not help but think that PTA was making this film for his daughters.  Like a gift down the road that they can remember him by.  Some of the arguments and motivations of the relationship between Reynolds and Alma were so entangled due to the age difference, like a parent scolding their child. 

The handheld scene when Alma is walking in her first fashion show was marvelous and such a great use of handheld (may have been one of the first longer uses of it in the film).  The smokey depth of the scene and the backlight of the window really (if I remember correctly) looked so damn beautiful and unique.  Something that would be close to impossible to capture with digital. 

I loved Reynold's hair throughout the film.  When its slicked back and handsome and when it's a bit ruffled and puffy when he is struggling.  Just a nice attention to detail.

The double take Reynolds does on New Years Eve when Alma walks out the door was funny just like something Barry Egan might due.  Its so idiosyncratic and so PTA.  The second look would most likely get cut in any other studio film, but PTA has this hold on the game. 

The scraping sounds of the toast were so simple and so cinematic as a creation of tension and comedy.  Nothing too to intellectual, just meat and bones filmmaking at its core, executed properly with your favorite cast.  I mean, Alma's accent is so sexy and innocent.  Just love the feeling when your thinking PTA is making something special just for you.  The man is clutch.  Bravo!






"look hard at what pleases you and even harder at what doesn't" ~ carolyn forche

martinthewarrior

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Re: Phantom Thread - SPOILERS!
« Reply #153 on: January 13, 2018, 07:06:20 PM »
+3
Holy hell. This one might be his best. It's certainly his most psychologically rich. In the best way, it feels like the first... old man movie he's made. A lot of life had to be lived to come to something so messy, complicated, and true about how men and women attempt to keep loving each other when the dopamine runs out. I agree with whoever said it felt like the beginning of a new period for him. Feels like his most personal since Magnolia, but where that was blood and guts and heart, this one is a brain in a jar, save for a few moments of that young man passion. I love, love, loved it.

samsong

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Re: Phantom Thread - SPOILERS!
« Reply #154 on: January 14, 2018, 12:09:01 AM »
0

 I walked into the film a few minutes late, sort of thrown into the middle of the scene with Reynolds and Alma in front of the fire.

if that's actually where you came in, then you missed, like, 20 minutes...

md

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Re: Phantom Thread - SPOILERS!
« Reply #155 on: January 14, 2018, 10:28:58 PM »
0

 I walked into the film a few minutes late, sort of thrown into the middle of the scene with Reynolds and Alma in front of the fire.

if that's actually where you came in, then you missed, like, 20 minutes...

Yeah, dude....I'm not lying.  LA traffic....
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wilberfan

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Re: Phantom Thread - SPOILERS!
« Reply #156 on: January 15, 2018, 08:07:29 PM »
0
[SPOILERS]

A Relationship Expert Psychoanalyzes Phantom Thread’s Twisted Romance

https://www.thecut.com/2018/01/dissecting-the-twisted-relationship-in-phantom-thread.html
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Jeremy Blackman

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Re: Phantom Thread - SPOILERS!
« Reply #157 on: January 18, 2018, 01:54:23 AM »
+2
Initial thoughts. Loved the movie of course. It's unlike anything else I've seen. This, basically:

Phantom Thread’s sort of inverted narrative structure, forming plot almost purely out of emotion, was always the inevitable trajectory that began with Blood and The Master

These two characters and all the emotions and THAT MUSIC are still swimming around in my brain, growing...

I've only begun to skim through, but Wilder you've written some truly brilliant stuff here about the film. I fully agree with the reading that Reynolds's personality disorder is his curse.

Some assorted thoughts before I forget. Apologies if these things have been said....

Their romance begins with Reynolds seducing Alma and sort of establishing dominance. But the real story is Alma seducing him. You can see Reynolds being taken by Alma's playful deviousness bit by bit. Something — perhaps the part of himself that's really not himself (his disorder) — prevents him from submitting to her advances. I so wanted him to submit. He wants to. Alma knows he wants to, so she helps him along. And finally he does. Also, what a bold choice to have them actually fall in love after they're married.

Alma suspected that Reynolds wanted to possess her. And then, indeed, he used language to that effect in his marriage proposal, which I think is why she hesitated and then asked the followup question: "will you marry me?"

After Inherent Vice (sorry, have to say this), it's refreshing to have a PTA movie that knows what it wants and is exactly what it intends to be. This may be one of PTA's less ambitious films on the surface, but it's clearly one of his most perfectly crafted and sneakily complex.
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ono

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Re: Phantom Thread - SPOILERS!
« Reply #158 on: January 18, 2018, 11:48:11 PM »
+1
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blewit

That's the mushroom.  So no, not deadly.  So that criticism is wrong.  The mushroom thing is interesting because mushrooms are fabled to give both life and death, depending on the source.

"I'm getting really hungry."  I forget the exact phrasing.  His "I was cursed, alright."  The most sexual line in a sexless movie.  Or thirsty.  Which isn't said.  Take your pick.  So he will be lovesick forever more.  Hey, whatever works.  I kind of lost focus when Alma was daydreaming about the stroll and the carriage and what have you, and then I blinked, and it was over.  It flew by, and I kind of wanted to relive it, just to again soak in her final monologue.

For the first 30 minutes -- maybe the first hour or so -- I just had a stupid grin on my face, getting wrapped up in it all.  The music swells, that ubiquitous score.  Then, things finally settle down.  On one hand, it's nice to come here and read and get a bit more depth out of it, but on the other, I found myself somewhat disappointed by its simplicity.  I wanted more depth.  I'm walking out with the same feeling I left with after TWBB.  That he only scratched the surface of Plainview.  Too much unexplained pettiness, not enough character exploration.  I did love their dinner argument.  Not that they're too similar, but it calls to mind the dinner argument in La La Land.  I think that's one scene where their defenses do get stripped down and you actually do see the humanity of these hurting people.  More of that would have been nice.  Argument against it is anything more my be redundant.  I get that.  Still loved it.  Need to see it again, of course.

Comparisons and parallels: Hallucinations of Reynolds' mother has that same feel of Freddie dozing off while watching Casper, and also the naked dance.  Cyril and Master framing in final scenes.  Said elsewhere.  The models walking up the staircase, just like the soldiers walking to the doctors office at the beginning of The Master.  I really liked how during the breakfast scenes all of the audio was turned up to 11 and then some.  And that's all I've got.  Will look at the thread again later as it's sure to jog more thoughts.  The film's sat with me for about 3 hours now.  Satiated.  Hungry for more, myself.

WorldForgot

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Re: Phantom Thread - SPOILERS!
« Reply #159 on: January 19, 2018, 01:54:34 PM »
0

when alma leaves to go to the new year's eve party alone and reynolds is left to deal with his insecurities (which greenword's score so gorgeously conveys) then goes after her, it's the kind of movie moment that you would expect to end in some sweeping romantic gesture, and for so long it builds that way.  when they finally come face to face, it turns into a staring contest that reynolds indeed loses, him reacting kinda poorly (i read his expression in that scene to be a "what are you looking at?" gesture) and taking her back home.

And here, the reason why he makes that choice…she challenges him, fights fire with fire. It’s the only thing that can work with a man of his qualities. And because she can see him for who he is, which is really unique to her. If Cyril wasn't blood and “the perfect size”, maybe he'd marry her, too.


If you watch how he scans her when Reynolds first approaches her, it's as if he's worried about the dress-first, alma-second, and Alma wins because "well that's very typical of you"

csage97

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Re: Phantom Thread - SPOILERS!
« Reply #160 on: January 20, 2018, 12:49:43 AM »
+2
Hooray! I saw Phantom Thread today (well, technically yesterday). I'm going to need some time to process the story and such a bit more, but here are a few random musings:

-Vicky Krieps was wonderful. Really wonderful. She was able to convey so much emotional change from moment to moment in her face and movements. She could show expressions of ambiguity or conflicted emotion, or a sort of playful curiosity and rebelliousness to challenge Reynold's boyish fussiness.

-The whole thing felt more dreamlike than I'd anticipated. The first bit from the beginning to the breakfast where Alma butters her toast loudly had a sort of sweeping feeling to it, carried along by Jonny Greenwood's score and Alma's intermittent narration. It felt like if you took a montage and stretched it out over a period of time, with each bit of it also pulled to proportionately fit the whole. In a sense, that made things further feel like when you recall something in the past, only to realize that its story was more fleeting and transitory than it felt at the time. In this regard alone, I think this is a cinematic achievement alone and one that PTA should be proud of.

-The cinematography: It's interesting that the crew was without a dedicated DP, whether frequent collaborator Robert Elswit or Mihai Malaimare Jr. Gaffer Michael Bauman was credited as "lighting cameraman," which is what John Alcott was credited as for Barry Lyndon (can't remember if this was the case for A Clockwork Orange). The look of the film was very interesting when considered purely from a photography and lighting standpoint. They pushed the film stock a lot to bring out grain and had lots of fog in the house at times. There was a soft look to lots of the outdoor scenes (I'm specifically thinking of the shots in front of the London townhouse). All this added to the dreaminess and feeling that things are "floating along." Add this in with the general talk of ghosts and curses from the Woodcocks, and things seem sort of spectral in this wonderful way.

-DDL's performance was interesting. On the surface, his character appears a bit two-dimensional: He's obsessive and fussy about his work and needs everything to be in its right order, just like a child (and has outbursts when things don't go his way, just like a child) -- but on the other hand, there's this longing to be loved and deep-seated fear that those who love him will disappear. This is evidenced in his longing to reunite with his mother, but that special dress he made for her is lost, just like she is, and he can simply never get any of that back. So he puts up this defense against the possibility that those who he loves might leave him forever -- turn into ghosts who might haunt him deeply -- and instead focuses on what he can have most personal control over, which is his dressmaking. What might appear like emotional immaturity and pettiness on the outside could be the indicator that deep down, he's hurt and very afraid of exposing himself to vulnerability and he's trying to any threats to that at a distance.

-Lesley Manville brought a steadying and clarifying presence to the story. Her character is very terse and to-the-point, never getting overly emotional and always making sure things get done in the house.

-The sound mixing was great. What an ingenious move to make certain things very loud and apparent. These sounds, such as the Alma buttering her toast or pouring water, actually convey what the characters are experiencing and become a part of the story. I love that sound was used as sort of another dimension to the story.

-There were tons of very close shots of characters' faces. Not that I didn't expect it, but I'm just always thrown off by how much of these shots are really there in PTA movies from The Master on. The aspect ratio is really something on a big cinema screen. The framing totally fit the projection screen, so those close shots make the actors visually massive. You can see details in facial movements, and when you have actors like DDL, Lesley Manville, and Vicky Krieps especially, it can be a storytelling advantage and tool. The other thing is that camera movement looks different in this aspect ratio. The wide frames from PTA's anamorphic days really change the whole feel of things for me: Things feel less panoramic in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio. There are advantages to both ratios, and PTA has really been able to capture these stark closeups in 1.85:1 from The Master on that I've had to learn to embrace.

-I loved how the film oscillated from hilarious parts to very eerie, ghost story-esque/Hitchcockian parts (i.e., the mushroom and hallucination scenes). It was great how the film was not afraid to show a non-cliche relationship with all its dark and ambiguous undertones. Partnerships are often full of strange and subtle occurrences, and this film embraced that and didn't shy away from that (it was basically what the movie was about). It wasn't a "Hollywood romance/relationship arc" thing, which was precisely what La La Land was and the reason that I hated La La Land (that is, that La La Land depicted such a tired relationship arc with shallow dialogue and characters). In the bit where Alma is first preparing the mushrooms, there was this very low sub bass (a deep rumble), and things felt like they suddenly took this unexpected and very eerie turn. I absolutely loved that. I wanted this sort of thing to come out just a little bit more in what proceeded, but I felt it was there enough and I was satisfied in the end with it. (Another very eerie scene -- yeah, I keep using that word -- happened when Reynolds hallucinated and his mother was just standing there.)

That's all for now. It's late and I'm getting very sleepy, but I'll probably come back within the next couple days and write a bit more, probably things leaning more towards my experience with the lead-up to this film and then the release. I will say that I am experiencing a great sense of relief at the moment -- relief at finally having seen this movie I've totally fanboyed over for months now. But I'm glad it was different than what I'd expected and I feel satisfied and happy with what the film was.

wilberfan

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Re: Phantom Thread - SPOILERS!
« Reply #161 on: January 20, 2018, 08:55:43 PM »
+1
-The sound mixing was great. What an ingenious move to make certain things very loud and apparent. These sounds, such as the Alma buttering her toast or pouring water, actually convey what the characters are experiencing and become a part of the story. I love that sound was used as sort of another dimension to the story.

More on the sound design of the film:

How Phantom Thread Made Toast Irritating

http://www.vulture.com/2018/01/how-phantom-thread-made-toast-irritating.html
"What happens when too much enthusiasm meets too much cluelessness."

Something Spanish

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Re: Phantom Thread - SPOILERS!
« Reply #162 on: January 24, 2018, 03:37:02 PM »
+2
Three viewings deep and suffice to say this movie sits far above that crowd, perched as spirits, not beasts, as Lancaster Dodd would say. Wanted to emphasize the potency of PTA’s knockout punch during that omelet preparation stare-down, Catherine Keener might as well have been stirring a clinking teacup one seat over because that shit threw my ass right down the “sunken place”. Couldn’t believe what I was watching, basically the perfect conclusion to a damn near perfect movie. Was so taken by that scene I barely acknowledged the next few minutes and had difficulty comprehending why the end credits were rolling, how can a viewer be expected to recover from a line like “Kiss me my girl, before I’m sick.”

On the second go I was able to fully take in Alma’s final voice-over, which turned out to be the most overwhelming thing in the movie and got the waterworks going. Have to gush, that was just stunning, her love of Reynolds, how much she wants to take care of him, keeping his dresses free from dust and ghosts. As stated by most, ghosts play a very strong role in the background throughout, being mentioned several times, especially in Alma’s last speech where she says that even if Reynolds were to die all she would have to do is wait until the afterlife or whatever comes next for them to be reunited. This must be the Rebecca reference. Haven’t seen that movie in half a lifetime, remember the ghost of the old lover, though. Very deep, moving stuff.

It’s amazing how PTA manages to discard all the ploys and plot-points we’ve seen countless times before and focus on scenes that would be edited out of most flicks. For instance, in a conventional movie I can imagine a lengthy subplot involving the employees of the House of Woodcock feigning jealousy towards Alma because she’s only working there due to her affair with the boss. The focus in always on the triangular relationship of the three leads.

Did the mother apparition spook anyone? Certainly did here, freaky moment turned beautiful with Reynolds’ dialogue.

Also, while there were some really funny lines, I did not find it all too funny, more so gravely stern. Think the humor was lost on me, a lot of the aforementioned lines felt either sad or sweet. Also didn’t feel much of the claustrophobia that’s previously mentioned here and in reviews, especially with the amount of camera movement involved. The Master felt much more claustrophobic. Speaking of The Master, that scene when Reynolds and Alma retrieve the Barbara Rose dress reminded me a lot of Freddy and Clark paying Mr. John Moore an unexpected after hours visit.

Anyway, not much else I can add as just about every base seems to have been covered here. Just wanted ya’ll to know I’m with ya’ll on how great this film is. I can go on all day. Hope Greenwood wins the gold next month, that track “Alma” that starts to play after she leaves to the NYE party and Reynolds peeks out the peephole is one of the most haunting piano pieces I’ve ever heard. Sad as hell, too. Sheesh, what a film.

P.S. Reynolds has a stoner's appetite for being so rail-thin. Welsh Rabbit WITH bacon and some sausages, thats overkill dude.

HACKANUT

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Re: Phantom Thread - SPOILERS!
« Reply #163 on: January 24, 2018, 06:59:06 PM »
+1
Welsh Rabbit WITH bacon and some sausages, thats overkill dude.

I thought that was a lot of meat too, but googling makes it seem like its actually Welsh Rarebit, which is like cheese and toast.
All that to say: purdy gud breakfast order methinks. sounds like a fine meal!

csage97

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Re: Phantom Thread - SPOILERS!
« Reply #164 on: January 24, 2018, 07:15:31 PM »
+2
Three viewings deep and suffice to say this movie sits far above that crowd, perched as spirits, not beasts, as Lancaster Dodd would say. Wanted to emphasize the potency of PTA’s knockout punch during that omelet preparation stare-down, Catherine Keener might as well have been stirring a clinking teacup one seat over because that shit threw my ass right down the “sunken place”. Couldn’t believe what I was watching, basically the perfect conclusion to a damn near perfect movie. Was so taken by that scene I barely acknowledged the next few minutes and had difficulty comprehending why the end credits were rolling, how can a viewer be expected to recover from a line like “Kiss me my girl, before I’m sick.”

On the second go I was able to fully take in Alma’s final voice-over, which turned out to be the most overwhelming thing in the movie and got the waterworks going. Have to gush, that was just stunning, her love of Reynolds, how much she wants to take care of him, keeping his dresses free from dust and ghosts. As stated by most, ghosts play a very strong role in the background throughout, being mentioned several times, especially in Alma’s last speech where she says that even if Reynolds were to die all she would have to do is wait until the afterlife or whatever comes next for them to be reunited. This must be the Rebecca reference. Haven’t seen that movie in half a lifetime, remember the ghost of the old lover, though. Very deep, moving stuff.

It’s amazing how PTA manages to discard all the ploys and plot-points we’ve seen countless times before and focus on scenes that would be edited out of most flicks. For instance, in a conventional movie I can imagine a lengthy subplot involving the employees of the House of Woodcock feigning jealousy towards Alma because she’s only working there due to her affair with the boss. The focus in always on the triangular relationship of the three leads.

Did the mother apparition spook anyone? Certainly did here, freaky moment turned beautiful with Reynolds’ dialogue.

Also, while there were some really funny lines, I did not find it all too funny, more so gravely stern. Think the humor was lost on me, a lot of the aforementioned lines felt either sad or sweet. Also didn’t feel much of the claustrophobia that’s previously mentioned here and in reviews, especially with the amount of camera movement involved. The Master felt much more claustrophobic. Speaking of The Master, that scene when Reynolds and Alma retrieve the Barbara Rose dress reminded me a lot of Freddy and Clark paying Mr. John Moore an unexpected after hours visit.

Anyway, not much else I can add as just about every base seems to have been covered here. Just wanted ya’ll to know I’m with ya’ll on how great this film is. I can go on all day. Hope Greenwood wins the gold next month, that track “Alma” that starts to play after she leaves to the NYE party and Reynolds peeks out the peephole is one of the most haunting piano pieces I’ve ever heard. Sad as hell, too. Sheesh, what a film.

P.S. Reynolds has a stoner's appetite for being so rail-thin. Welsh Rabbit WITH bacon and some sausages, thats overkill dude.

I've seen it twice now (I did back-to-back nights last weekend) and I'm thinking about a third viewing tonight. Trying to hold out though so that I don't grow too used to it. But it's still very fresh and exciting, so I don't think another viewing will hurt. I'm just worried about the 8th viewing and beyond when it comes out on blu ray.  :yabbse-grin:

During the second viewing, I was able to focus more on the cinematography, camera movement, and editing, as well as totally engross myself in some of the individual scenes. That last one is indeed powerful. "Kiss me, my darling, before I'm sick!" and then the big orchestral score comes in with the thundering timpani. I did notice that the scene before it was oddly juxtaposed; it's Reynolds' "chic" freakout scene where he yells and denounces Alma's presence in the house. And then the omelette scene directly after. What's this telling us? Is it that the poisonings happen to relieve him when he gets too stressed? Obviously there's a mutual understanding about the poisonings, but maybe there's also a mutual understanding that he gets really worked up and it's his temperament, and the poisonings will relieve him.

Alma's voiceovers are so so great, aren't they? They lend a particular effect to everything.

I was definitely one of those who said it feels claustrophobic. You're right: There's tons of awesome camera movement, and I was able to pay close attention to it on the second viewing. Really masterful camera work. The feeling of claustrophobia for me comes from two things: the many close shots on the actors' faces, and the tight spaces in houses and the restaurants. Granted, there are some outdoor scenes and driving scenes, but on the whole, there aren't a lot of "wide open" shots where there's a lot of space in the frames. There aren't any shots, for instance, of the characters walking around London. The townhouse is in London, of course, but the only real outdoor space we ever really see is just outside the house and nothing beyond in London, except some streets in the driving scenes and the park scene when Alma has the stroller (we also see outside of the restaurant just a tiny bit, I think). This sort of thing doesn't make the movie worse for me at all, but I guess it makes things feel "contained," I guess, albeit with free-flowing camera movement at times within the contained settings. I hope that makes some sense. Does the movie need "wide open spaces" or wide shots with a bunch of stuff in the frame?" No, I really don't think so. It's does its thing, and I'll take it as is.

Oh yeah, there is the New Year's scene where there's a lot happening in a large hall. The way the music changes to and the ambient noise cuts out is pure bliss. Loved that.

Yes! The mother scene was sooooooo spooky. I almost cried during that scene the second time around. The way that Reynolds' mother stands there, emotionless and still, while Jonny Greenwood's "Never Cursed" track plays, is sublime. The mother's dress looks vaguely old in style (Egyptian?). Couple that with Reynolds' voiceover and longing and the scene seems to have the effect of reaching back in time and encompassing more than what's going on at the moment (obviously). There's this intense dread about how we can't quite reach what's been lost to time, and Reynolds seems to be deeply hurt at losing someone he loved. He seems to be afraid to put himself into a vulnerable position, relationship-wise, and instead focuses on dresses, all the while bearing a sort of solitary loneliness and longing that sometimes frustrates him. Maybe. (He clearly gets frustrated when there are interruptions to his maintenance of control.) At least that's how I interpret it. Anyway, that is my favourite scene in the movie.

I definitely didn't find it too funny the second time around. There's a bit of a sadness to the characters' (especially Reynolds') outbursts, as they're clearly coming from a place of frustration or experiences and strange situations that have given rise to them. Or maybe I'm just a bit too much of a pessimist and cynic to find these things funny. I think they're funny at face value, but extreme behaviours often come from places of pain or experiences that have shaped personalities in that way (coupled with temperament, of course). I found myself thinking in this sort of way about the outbursts and rude lines more the second time.

I'll say that I think Dylan Tichenor is a fantastic editor. Credit to PTA and all those involved in the production as well. The way the movie flows with all the music and voiceovers gives me the feeling that it is fluttering by, which I love.

 

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