Misophonia in Phantom Thread

by | Mar 11, 2020 | Misophonia in TV & Film | 8 comments

Phantom Thread (2018) is Paul Thomas Anderson’s dark and evocative journey into the clipped, controlled world of Reynolds Woodcock, a fictional couture designer in 1950’s London. Daniel Day Lewis and Lesley Manville are spellbinding in their roles.

Though Mr Woodcock’s character is a testy perfectionist, and not very likeable at the best of times, this breakfast scene may be one of the best representations of misophonia (intentional or otherwise) in film.

n.b. The bit we’re interested in is the first part (it moves on to a different scene after 2:28 minutes)

What did you make of this scene? Feel free to leave a comment below.

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  1. Sam

    I can completely relate to this. When people make noises, and you suffer from misophonia, you think they do it overly loudly or on purpose.

    • Allergic to Sound

      Yes, it’s interesting isn’t it? I think this scene does an excellent job of showing that this. Each party feels aggrieved and ‘got at’ by the other even though that’s not anyone’s intention.

  2. Diana

    “maybe you’re paying too much attention to it” oh boy that sounds like my little brother (he still doesn’t seem to believe me even though he triggers me the most) >.<

  3. Neil Watling

    My Misophonia kicked in just watching this clip when the girl starts buttering the toast
    then went up a level with the trickling water!

    • Nick

      Neil – those were the hardest bits for me as well. The abrasion in the buttering, and the variance of sound in the teapot being poured as it goes up and down. If I had been pouring the water, or buttering the toast, it would have taken a lot of the edge off for me. If the water had been poured further away, more slowly, and with the teapot closer to the cup, it would have bothered me far less. For me sound, movement, and space, are all important factors.

  4. Nick

    What I find interesting with this clip is that what the main character complains about is movement. For me the distress at certain sounds goes hand in hand with the sense of movement that they convey. So for example, arguably the noise of the bread being buttered conveys a scraping or abrasive action and the teapot being poured conveys the movement of the pot going up and down. I find the combination of sound and movement in this scene quite strong and invasive. Outside the context of Misophonia I would have described this as due to a prickly personality, frayed nerves, or just someone who is easily irritable. What I liked the most about this clip is the main character describing the whole thing as being like riding a horse through the room. I use similar metaphors to describe what it feels like, and honestly that is what it feels like at times.

  5. DaveD

    I found the older lady’s quiet sip more triggering than the buttering, pouring or clattering. It’s often the subtle quiet sounds that I can’t get out of my head. I am still imagining the sip now over & over again.

  6. Andy

    What I’ve noticed is that the husband and wife do not get along.In the pandemic many young adults were exposed to discord. Maybe this should be added as a factor in studies.


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