You don’t want to go up against Cyril Woodcock. You will lose. That’s one of the more intriguing lessons of Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Phantom Thread,” which ostensibly follows the whims and wishes of Daniel Day-Lewis’ uptight dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock, before giving itself over to the unshakeable power of the women who really rule his life: his beloved sister Cyril (just-announced BAFTA nominee Lesley Manville) and his latest paramour Alma (breakout Vicky Krieps).
That the pair eventually form their own special friendship is one of the many delightful surprises of a film filled with them.
As Manville told IndieWire in December, “I think that Cyril appreciates the challenge that Alma is. She’s not a girly girl, fluffy and lightweight. She’s substantial, she knows her own mind. She’s probably taming Reynolds in the way that perhaps Cyril should have done, but couldn’t do because it takes somebody to love you in a romantic way to shift you.”
As Cyril and Alma’s bond grows, it also further challenges Reynolds and his loosening grip on his tightly wound world. In our exclusive clip, Cyril and Reynolds’ tenuous relationship is stretched to an — appropriately breakfast-table set, no movie loves the breakfast table quite like “Phantom Thread” — breaking point when Cyril asks a seemingly standard question: should she get rid of Alma? Reynolds, who has long moved through romantic partners with the maximum of ease and minimum of care, has often used Cyril to dump his ladies.
She’s not into it now. After all, she’s grown quite fond of Alma. And, more than that, it’s just a damn bad idea to go up against Cyril. Even Reynolds know that.
Check out our exclusive clip from “Phantom Thread” below.
“Phantom Thread” is now in limited release.