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Discussion of article on "Phantom Thread," at the NewYorker Movie Facebook Club

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NEWYORKER.COM
The film’s spectacle of male power was so embedded in its every fibre that it was largely missed.
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Susan Doran
Susan Doran It's a movie.
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· Reply · 1d
Jorge Díaz
Jorge Díaz Come on. You know that any kind of art could be use as propaganda.
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Jeanne Maria Hervio-lockhart
Jeanne Maria Hervio-lockhart And a great movie at that! 💕💕
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Nell Minow
Nell Minow It's a movie with a point of view, as most statements in any category are. And this is not a silly comedy or a G-rated cartoon about friendship and kindness. This is a serious work of art that expects to be engaged with on a serious level.
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Patrick McEvoy-Halston
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Melissa Wisner
Melissa Wisner Not to mention DDL is old enough to be her grandfather.
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Anthony Stephens
Anthony Stephens That actually means absolutely nothing.
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Melissa Wisner
Melissa Wisner yes it does when the character consumes her with his gaze and determines her worth.
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Anthony Stephens
Anthony Stephens That doesn’t hold any correlation to the age gap you’re mentioning. Implying that such an age difference inherently brings a power imbalance is absurd. She also ends the entire film with all but total control over him.
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Melissa Wisner
Melissa Wisner thank you for additional proof of the article's central thesis.
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Anthony Stephens
Anthony Stephens Which is? I read the entire piece and was met with a pretty shaky argument.
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Anthony Stephens
Anthony Stephens The only argument against my point was that she assumes control over Woodcock for “the sake of monogamy” which isn’t backed by sufficient evidence and doesn’t even prove misogyny either way. Assuming Alma did it all for the sake of a monogamous life with Reynolds, so what? That’s misogyny why? A woman making a choice to be monogamous must be inherently sexist now.
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Patrick McEvoy-Halston
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Erik B. Anderson
Erik B. Anderson Men can't be geniuses. Ever. Today I learned.
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J Egizii Novak
J Egizii Novak Genius doesn't excuse toxic behavior.
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Anthony Stephens
Anthony Stephens This film doesn't promote toxic behavior.
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Erik B. Anderson
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Patrick McEvoy-Halston
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Cynthia Mejías
Cynthia Mejías Quite the opposite. The women are in control. Reynolds is a weak character who depends on women (clients and their whims, his controlling and business-minded sister, and his muse/lover, who finally realizes he adores the way she forces his dependency on her).
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J Egizii Novak
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Brayden Rivera
Brayden Rivera J Egizii Novak I just don't think you got the movie?
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Daniel Supanick
Daniel Supanick Cynthia is correct.
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Emilio Arnau
Emilio Arnau For all these women having the control they're surely not receiving any credit for anything
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Mark Schaffer
Mark Schaffer Too put it bluntly,he gets off on his lover/muse calling the shots and even surrenders control over his life to her..Very perverse toxic masculinity there, right? BTW, is there toxic femininity? Ask the greatest writers in history about that.
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Mohammad M. AbuBakr
Mohammad M. AbuBakr ..may be its one of those "passive" ideas, like "Female domms in adult industries really serve a man's needs, woe unto them if they don't".

He surrounds himself with all those women cuz he wants to. If they didnt comply...
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Cynthia Mejías
Cynthia Mejías If they didn’t comply what would he do according to you?
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Mark Schaffer
Mark Schaffer More than adores. Revels in it.
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Patrick McEvoy-Halston
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Anthony Stephens
Anthony Stephens This is such a painfully unfounded argument.
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Patrick McEvoy-Halston
Patrick McEvoy-Halston The lead character surrounds himself with women -- they are his preferred company -- and has a real appreciation, a real respect, for how much a fine garment can mean to making an occasion satisfying and personally meaningful. I'll take another look at the article, but at the very least, he's not exactly a bro.
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Roxanne Jones
Roxanne Jones One could argue that he surrounds himself with women so that he can be the alpha male. With no other men in his world, there is no one to challenge his dominance and take control over the women in his midst.
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Patrick McEvoy-Halston
Patrick McEvoy-Halston Roxanne Jones These days anyone who has a pronounced need to be an alpha is either abroad killing hapless lions, or situating themselves 99 % of the time with their bros. It is not nothing that he admits to a profession built out of keeping immersion in his mother, even if it's not boyish and supplicant but full-on turning-the-tables mastery. It suggests a kind of acquaintance and acceptance and love that is a more welcome alternative to a simple split of, alternatively, sheer female worship and clear hatred of the feminine.
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Mark Schaffer
Mark Schaffer Complete missread of Woodcock's desires..
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Patrick McEvoy-Halston
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Patrick McEvoy-Halston
Patrick McEvoy-Halston My experience watching the film is that it presents a status that both men and women may be seeking to aspire to; do not naturally have: to be under your own control. This is foreign to a lot of us right now, men and women both, and I think some of us would have cheered him if his part was somehow a woman's... the point was the pleasure in seeing someone in a position to not be used.
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Vishy
Vishy I liked what you said, Patrick.
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Patrick McEvoy-Halston
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Patricia Tischler
Patricia Tischler It seems to me that the whole discussion lost it's power for lack of knowledge about feminineXmasculine polarity. People are so used to the masculine world and masculine dynamics and masculine weapons that they can't even recognize basic sexual polarity. Reynolds is driven, as all masculine men are, by his purpose in life. Women, when in their feminine, don't have that same drive. Their essential purpose is connection. But we're so used to see masculine characteristic in female characters so they can “get the job done” that most people can't even recognize a legitimate female and feminine heroine, who fights with feminine weapons. The only reason why there's a story there is because there is polarity. And the only reason why it's so is due to Alma's femininity. The feminine isn't weaker! The only way any of that article makes sense is if you agree with the premise that women in their feminine are weak. If people went through the trouble of studying a little about the subject, we would see a lot less sexless marriages around.
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Patrick McEvoy-Halston
Patrick McEvoy-Halston The article does besmirch her -- and the film -- in saying she's intent only on monogamy. It's pretty clear she is fighting for the wonderful exchange in a relationship, that could be. That strikes me as such a prize one wonders what driven "masculine" life goal could equal it.
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Patricia Tischler
Patricia Tischler Well, in Reynold's case, his purpose in life is to make beautiful dresses. People would recognize it better if it were building a business, going on a space trip or waging war, but it all comes from the same instinct that the masculine has: to have a life purpose. Women can have them too, when they are in their masculine predominantly.
See the difference when compared to Reynolds' relationship to his sister. She's "running the business". She's in her masculine. So in relation to her, he is acting as an Alpha male. She's just a buddy, he is the boss. The only time when she challenges that, she goes into her feminine and he shuts up.
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Patrick McEvoy-Halston
Patrick McEvoy-Halston Patricia Tischler The feminine mode in this case comes across as arising everyone's earliest, primeval fear -- the mother, conquered temporarily in this film in being made to sit/uate in a suit.

Neat analysis, though.
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Patricia Tischler
Patricia Tischler Patrick McEvoy-Halston I would rather say that, in Alma's case, the theme is the idea that the feminine doesn't have to be submissive. In the sister's case, that even when you are a woman, and more than that, the sister, if you act in your masculine you'll be met with masculine energy. Competition, subjugation, disregard for anything that isn't focused on accomplishing the goal, the purpose. We all have both polarities within us and we go from one to the other, according to situations. But whatever the sex of the person, it's their predominant polarity that has to be examined to understand the relationship dynamics.
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Rob Gera
Rob Gera It’s a strange story but more about toxic relationships than masculinity, IMO. Toxicity in the extreme.
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David Kaiser
David Kaiser The movie is about a very successful (in his field) and very personally difficult man. He surrounds himself with women, but they tend to be take charge gals. I don't see why it is necessary to characterize his behavior as a particular kind of masculinity instead of to focus on the rather unusual individual that he is.
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Patricia Tischler
Patricia Tischler David Kaiser hehe... I don't see him as so unusual... ;)
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David Kaiser
David Kaiser I have known men at least that obnoxious, of course. But I have known many more who were not.
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Patricia Tischler
Patricia Tischler Oh, I don't mean to characterize any man as obnoxious. I'm sorry if that was the impression that came across from what I was saying. His actions were, yes, obnoxious.
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Mark Schaffer
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Mark Schaffer
Mark Schaffer Rob Gera Why toxic? She's the top. He gets off on being the bottom. and the suspense of their special relationship. Both happy about it. Nothing toxic about that. Only thing toxic is the omellet but that's controlled toxicity. Prolly the escape they both need from their codified public personnas.
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Mohammad M. AbuBakr
Mohammad M. AbuBakr Where can i read more about the subjects of polarity and the feminine dynamics you discussed ?
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Patricia Tischler
Patricia Tischler Mohammad M. AbuBakr take a look at the work of Alison Armstrong, David Deida and John Wineland.
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David Kaiser
David Kaiser Thanks. Sorry I misunderstood. I thought he was quite obnoxious!
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Patrick McEvoy-Halston
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Roxanne Jones
Roxanne Jones Very interesting!
I do remember watching it and thinking Woodcock was yet another asshole "genius" (I hated his dresses) who demanded that the world bend to his every wish (those breakfast rules, jeez). This character is so common in film.
So I thought that Alma's...wrangling of him was a way of taking him down a peg whenever she thought he needed it.
But I can see the writer's point when you consider that any other woman would simply leave an asshole like that instead of resorting to what Alma did to correct his behavior.
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Matt Grifferty
Matt Grifferty But Woodcock is quite clear that the wider world doesn’t need bend to his wishes. Simply that his world requires a sort of order and he is not that bothered if someone isn’t able to fit into it. Alma rejects this and makes a space for herself, in a way that meets Reynolds own insanity, that Reynolds didn’t know was there or that he would benefit from. But Reynolds social world is so small precisely because he does not tyrannically desire that the world love him. For Reynolds everyone can take him or leave him, but he cannot say the same about his sister or Alma, which is why he can be such a petulant child towards them. He understands he needs them.
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Patrick McEvoy-Halston
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Will Thede
Will Thede creds to @lauren_wilford on twitterManage
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Dennis M Robles
Dennis M Robles It's easy to attack it as a propaganda film from a 2018 standpoint. But from a 1950's perspective, Alma is quite a strong and liberated woman who does break the chains of submissiveness that the era proclivities would have demanded. Reynolds is an entitled narcissist reinforced by his fame, fortune, and success. He, however, meets his match and is equalized by Alma's discovery of his Achilles heel. Politicizing this film as patriarchy really is a straw man's argument to the essence of male/female love relationships. Even in domestic violence, the issue of patriarchy has been overstated, just read Donald Dutton's work in this area.
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David Kaiser
David Kaiser Anybody who thinks that the 1950s demanded submissiveness of women wasn't there. Did it expect them (usually, but not always) to be restricted to certain roles? Yes. Did it expect them to behave submissively? No.
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Dennis M Robles
Dennis M Robles Relative to today's mores, yes. Women were allowed to be secretaries, nurses, maids, and assistance, not as executives, doctors, senators and other position of power. Women's place should be in the home(still believed today by some. This is not to say that all women went along with them, My mother being one.
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David Kaiser
David Kaiser My aunt was a doctor. It is not true to say, as you did, that women were not allowed into those professions. It is true that they were not encouraged to do so and few did. But there were at least two female Senators, for instance, during the 1950s.
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Patrick McEvoy-Halston
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Adrián Viéitez
Adrián Viéitez Simplifying this kind of brightly conceived, beautifully designed art-work to that point could only be done by such a mediocre -or maybe alienated- viewer. I can also figure another possibility out: clickbait.
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Julia Lagrua
Julia Lagrua Wonderful article. If you feel an immediate need to post an argument, just count to 20, let go of your defensiveness, open your mind and read it again.
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Anthony Stephens
Anthony Stephens Done. Didn't seem to change much.
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Patrick McEvoy-Halston
Patrick McEvoy-Halston You sustain here the validity of the argument that if you don't get an argument, you're probably being defensive. Same thing is being said about the Ringwald article. If you don't like it, it's not the article but surely you. An echo chamber is developing, which may be more about a certain class of people cementing the idea that any and all critics of themselves are high-strung and irrational -- a typically antifeminist argument, btw. These essays seem like fodder we're intent to put out, specifically because we're beginning to experience doubts about ourselves, which this ritual where we display that actually all ill-reason is outside of you, in others, helps calm. We use essays like this to regain equilibrium... the trolls remain -- outside.
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Pepe Guicho Salinas
I watched the film, I read the headline, rubbish premise. I don't need to waste more than 20 seconds to reach that conclusion ( and I won't read an article whose premise seems so wrong to me).
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Matt Grifferty
Matt Grifferty Patrick McEvoy-Halston Well said. And could be used in response to so much found in online “debate” today. That people who are ostensibly “liberal” are intent on shielding themselves from even other liberal thought with impenetrable defenses that imply anyone who does not agree is irrational or horrible or xyz pejorative is beyond depressing. The orthodoxy of both our political poles meets in the place of complete rhetorical insulation from outside voices or ideas. And one wonders whether it is a biological impulse towards orthodoxy plus the simple geography which proceeds polarized politics, rather than any enlightenment divined from real engagement with ideas. For some reason I find it hard to believe anyone on a New Yorker movie group is frothing at the mouth over any point of debate. Surely here of all places there might be a greater assumption of good faith.
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Patrick McEvoy-Halston
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Herman Costa
Herman Costa Phantom Thread is a wonderful movie, but the premise of this article is silly, beneath the value and validity of the film.
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Sarah Nafisa Shahid
Sarah Nafisa Shahid Arhan Shafat I haven't read it or watched the movie yet but that headline tho ...
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Arhan Shafat
Arhan Shafat I know!
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Patrick McEvoy-Halston
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Céline Sarangerel
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Mark Schaffer
Mark Schaffer MIssing the entire point of this film. Much more perversely comic than you think. And much more subversive..
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Orencio Carvajal
Orencio Carvajal Alma is powerful too. A movie could be propaganda if the movie doesn't ask itself about itself. But in this case, wow, it's pretty clear the self-criticism, even with that ending.
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Mark Schaffer
Mark Schaffer Krafft - Ebbing, call your office..
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Patrick McEvoy-Halston
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Orencio Carvajal
Orencio Carvajal Well, It's incredible. Propaganda? Is Mad Men masculinity's propaganda? Hahahahahaha.
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Darin Strauss
Darin Strauss Is Paradise Lot pro-devil propaganda? Is star wars pro-Vader propaganda, because it "promotes" Vader's evil masculinity?
And the woman he treats like shit, Alma, is shown to be more powerful than he.  

I know the article's author personally, and well. So I probably should shut up. But I really disagreed with him here.
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Mark Schaffer
Mark Schaffer Guys talking about how they "get" toxic masculinity is the new strategy to seduce impressionable women, both intellectually and er, you know, that other thing..Ever hear of the new man of sentiment?
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Patrick McEvoy-Halston
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David Bessmer
David Bessmer Seems more to be against it.
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Mitchell Ray Sigmund
Mitchell Ray Sigmund To me, this movie took the idea of the toxic-masculinity within male genius and made it ridiculously evident in a way that was clearly negative. I'm not sure if anyone really took the side of Woodcock during any of those breakfast scenes. Toxic-masculinity is everywhere in this movie, but if you pay attention it's not being triumphed or promoted.
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Darin Strauss
Darin Strauss it's asking for nicer villains
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Andrew Grimm
Andrew Grimm If a host makes clear they wanna eat in silence, the options are to leave or eat in silence. And a healthy respect for private property rights means I'm on his side for how he wants his breakfast table to be conducted, though not the hissy fit he has when first explaining the rule.
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Patrick McEvoy-Halston
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Cynthia Mejías
Cynthia Mejías After reading comments since yesterday my conclusion is that this article is ridiculous and irrelevant.
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Sudipto Banerjee
Sudipto Banerjee Seems either the author of the article completely missed the point of the movie or has some sort of personal agenda against the Phantom Thread cast or crew.
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Andrew Grimm
Andrew Grimm I don't understand why the depiction of "toxic masculinity" is seen to be the promotion of it.

The author suggests that the movie promotes "toxic masculinity" because there are "no alternative positions that are not dependent on the hero's centrality." The point is unsound. To depict something without showing an alternative is not to necessarily glorify it. Haters don't need to include "constructive criticism" to hate.

I am profoundly curious why he thinks Cyril's "life and desire are similarly" dictated by Woodcock. I saw it just the opposite: it was Cyril who insisted that Woodcock make the dress for the boarish fat lady and it was Alma who insisted he take it off of her and insist that he is an artist. It is not Woodcock who "gives meaning to everything everyone lucky enough to be inside his domain" but the women -- Cyril and especially the customers -- who made Woodcock into the especially neurotic, unsufferable man as I saw it. And it was Alma who remade him. Perhaps he was not intolerable to deal with, but the poisoning and his love of being enervated suggests that even he felt the psychological burden of being intolerable and so neurotic.

Ultimately, I found Alma's calm determination and genuine love to be just the "alternative" the author might find. Alma made Woodcock more than a glorified sower and she bore his legacy into the future, as suggested by the scenes where her language suggests he has died.

Finally, my main takeaway from this movie was how profoundly unfair it is to apply ordinary social standard on other people's love. Not as a trite statement of "no judgment" but to suggest that true lovers have an intuitive grasp of the fundamentals of another person in a way that an outside viewer doesn't. Maybe the author should butt out.
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Mon López Lugo
Mon López Lugo When you need to go viral so you decide to make a controversial article. Same as Trump.
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CJ Louverture
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Patti Cassidy
Patti Cassidy So my theory is that the movie was a fantasy and we're seeing his dissolution from the instide. Therefore...
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Mark Schaffer
Mark Schaffer Why dissolution? He is actually being reborn.
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Patrick McEvoy-Halston
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Nell Minow
HUFFINGTONPOST.COM
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Vishy
Vishy The New Yorker's film writers don't like any movie, do they? :) Because I haven't seen a single movie review there recently, where the reviewer said that the movie was good. Why? Are all the movies coming out these days bad? Why are these movies getting critical acclaim and making money then? Shouldn't the movie going audience be rejecting them, if they are so bad?
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Andrew Grimm
Andrew Grimm Read Richard Brody’s reviews. He often loves films. I don’t really understand Anthony Lane’s reviews.
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· Reply · 23h
Vishy
Vishy Thank you, Andrew. I will do that. In recent times, I have seen Brody also not having anything good to say about recent movies - I remember an article in which he said most of the Oscar nominees had problems and the best movie wasn't nominated. But I will continue to look for his articles. Thank you :)
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· Reply · 23h
Patrick McEvoy-Halston
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Anna Andrews
Anna Andrews toxic masculinity was all i was thinking about watching the movie
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· Reply · 1d
Tony Mastrogiorgio
Tony Mastrogiorgio It was about toxic masculinity, not an example of it. The idea that it was propaganda is ridiculous
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· Reply · 23h
CJ Louverture
CJ Louverture Exactly
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Patrick McEvoy-Halston
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Mark Schaffer
Mark Schaffer Not about toxic masculinity. Way too easy an answer.
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· Reply · 21h · Edited
Emily Cates
Emily Cates Disagree. The fifties were a much more misogynistic time. If you come to a film with an agenda you will surely see propaganda. Ask Vicky Krieps if she believes her character is weak and submissive. With this mentality we may never see strong female roles.
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· Reply · 20h
Mark Schaffer
Mark Schaffer So here's a question..Empowered females are now very prevelant in all media, films, books, comics, tv,, online..So is this depiction of a certain type of woman or young girl propaganda to persuade women to emulate these characters? Or is this somrthing that the suits just think sells and will be exploited until it doesn't Public is fickle.. Hollywood has always been a master of persuasive propaganda..Is this just another campaign? Anyone remember, "You've come a long way, baby?
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· Reply · 16h · Edited
Richard Smith
Richard Smith A little suprised this article passed muster for a magazine like The New Yorker. If one is to rail against propaganda no matter how fashionable the cause, it is best to avoid its methods. Glib sententiousness is one of them. This article caricatures a rich, nuanced movie.
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· Reply · 14h · Edited
Mark Schaffer
Mark Schaffer Just jumping on the Toxic Masculinlty bandwagon..The chattering class can only keep one zeitgeisty thing in its head at one time.
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· Reply · 15h · Edited
David Kaiser
David Kaiser That is so true, it isn't even funny.
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· Reply · 7h
Mark Schaffer
Mark Schaffer Yeppers
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Patrick McEvoy-Halston
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Richard Smith
Richard Smith ... also didn't like the implication that those who like 'The Phantom Thread' are children. I won't say 'offended'; that word's been done.
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· Reply · 15h · Edited
Jose Solano Brizuela
Jose Solano Brizuela I honestly believe all the fuzz about this one was all about the ending of his career. It was so boring and the one interesting aspect of it was so unexploited. It’s ok if you portray toxicity, but do something about it.. awful film
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· Reply · 14h
Jose Solano Brizuela
Jose Solano Brizuela Ok in terms of a critique approach to it*
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· Reply · 14h
Patrick McEvoy-Halston
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Vedant Srinivas
Vedant Srinivas Phantom Thread has something to do with toxic masculinity (if at all it does) insofar as PT critiques it
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· Reply · 11h
Candice Frederick
Candice Frederick I hate this movie and its toxic masculinity is why
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· Reply · 10h
Maja Ristic
Maja Ristic I think it's a complex movie that deserves more than just the label of 'toxic masculinity'. But when it does come to it, I find it brilliantly portraying, exposing and showing it for what it really is - silly, and quite comic, actually. Kudos to PTA for this.
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· Reply · 9h · Edited
Brent Richardson
Brent Richardson Haven't seen the movie, but in over a century of movies about insane macho revenge and sex fantasies, it's hard to imagine a quiet drama about a fashion designer being so awful in comparison.
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· Reply · 9h
Julia Lagrua
Julia Lagrua Isn’t a week long enough for serious film fans to devote to a thread on what amounts to a fussy little movie dedicated uncritically to sentiment for times long gone?
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· Reply · 8h
Patrick McEvoy-Halston
Patrick McEvoy-Halston The author is intent to make us an erect penis at the centre of the film. It's not a man who lavishes himself within a culture devoted to fine female garments and feminine comport, not a man who admits that his life was based on close identification with his mother and her interests, but about a man who would look no less out of place if he was conveying his ostensible abundant phallic manhood out instead on safari, killing lions and elephants, while the ladies back home envisioned as daunted and as swooned.

One might wonder if the author who saw this film, whose reminisces of his early years (in cinematic viewing, at least), he insists, are about the military, battles... John Wayne, was not ACTUALLY so much reminded of institutions of patriarchy when he saw this film, but shocked, out of experiencing a compromised masculinity, a rather feminine masculinity, in this film, to insist that that was what it bloody well was. Masculine genius, passive female muses, is the film, not one about a man who ultimately can't count on his own resources if women really intently mean to take him down... a reminder that for many, toxic masculinity is only really kept safe, if it's about bros entwined with fellow bros.

He makes use of our current fixation on toxic masculinity to blend in aversive experiences of, perhaps, remembered femininity on his part, a childhood, a Yugoslav childhood, where the father perhaps wasn't around much and the mother, too much, to bully back memories provoked by the film of when he too as a child was enmeshed mostly within an environment, mostly of actually feminine and feminizing influences... female garbing and what-not. This article, ostensibly about complaining about patriarchy, is perhaps more about establishing its image as paramount, about insisting on a falsehood that will pass because so much now is accepted as proof -- usually legitimately -- of the omnipresence of toxic masculinity, so that it dwarfs back a remembered sense of femininity he had previously kept contained.  

Dear author, cite back your own fond memories, not of war and military -- not actually a problem but helpful assistants, remedies, counters, on your part? -- but the earlier ones when your contact was mostly with and around your mother, and you'll be more believed that it wasn't mostly THAT that drew you to enshrine a COCK at the heart of the film, that perhaps to some of us felt more like ongoing maternal blending. If he's a penis, he may just be his mother WITH a penis.
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Patrick McEvoy-Halston
Patrick McEvoy-Halston Anthony Lane thought the movie was cloistral and sickly, and its best moment when the hero vacates the premises, guns a sports car along county byways, and effectively repudiates his life dressing women as absurd:  

"The upshot is that “Phantom Thread,” though expert and engrossing, is also cloistral and sickly, and I found myself fighting for fresh air. There are notable excursions, including an Alpine holiday where Reynolds gets to swathe himself in immaculate knitwear, plus a New Year’s costume ball, in Chelsea, but the first is like a snowy stage set and the second is as writhingly oppressive as one of Fellini’s Roman jamborees. If anything does snap the claustrophobic spell, it is Reynolds’s road trips, when he guns his beauteous British sports car, a red Bristol, along country byways, with the camera peering forward and ravening up the miles. Then we have the pleasure of observing the smile that comes and goes on his handsome face, as if he were tacitly conceding that, yes, these genteel shenanigans, done in the name of a few pricey frocks for a handful of spoiled clients, are absurd. You hear a similar hint of mockery in the querulous fluting of his voice—“Are you sent here to ruin my evening? And possibly my entire life?”

Was this this author's problem too? He found it cloistral and sickly, and "remedied" his experience of it not by focussing on the hero's sports car life, out in the country, as Anthony Lane may have done, but via another option: projection and supposition?
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Patrick McEvoy-Halston
Patrick McEvoy-Halston Aleksandar Herman's biography, "The Book of My Lives," indeed begins with a (Freudian) exploration of his early life, his early absolute enmeshment with his mother. The suggestion is there -- with his sister being born amongst all female attendants, and his father off in Russia -- of very strong identification and worship, undistracted. He suddenly switches to speaking of capital "m" "Mother," a pattern continued throughout most of the rest of the book, and of how disruption of his early narcissistic relationship with Her by his sister Katrina's birth, brought to him, genuinely, thoughts of killing her.

This is intense, and though it's almost impossible for one to admit it to oneself, probably incestuously close attachment. I feel more affirmed that this article was written to transcribe phallic personhood, domineering phallic masculinity, onto a movie that recalled for him, with its enmeshment of the sole male figure within all the accoutrements of the maternal, the feminine, the early remembrances we had of absolute narcissistic identification with our mothers. Like perhaps this author, many men worship their mothers, but hide from them within patriarchy.
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