Daniel Day-Lewis, in what he says will be his last acting role, gives an impeccable final performance as a punishingly obsessive and unwaveringly perfectionist 1950’s couturier in Paul Thomas Anderson’s perverse psychological fable of unchecked ego and unhinged desire.
In a fashion-minded London of the 1950s, Reynolds Woodcock (Day Lewis) makes exquisite custom dresses for the most elite names in England, flawlessly transitioning from high-society debutantes to royalty with bold stylistic choices and the finest fabrics. Like many elite artists, he is a man of routine and to say that he responds poorly to any interruptions of that routine would be to put it mildly. Needless to say, he is a complicated lover. When he meets a young, strong-willed woman in Alma (Vicky Krieps), she soon becomes a fixture in his life as his muse and lover. But where his carefully tailored life was once controlled and planned, he finds himself disrupted as feelings of both love and desire begin to throw firecrackers into even the primmest of lives.
Featuring some of the finest performances you’ll see this year and directed by a filmmaker at the near height of his powers, this is a rare film in terms of both its craft, authenticity and emotional intelligence. A gothic romance that yearns to be disseminated for years to come, Phantom Thread is filmmaking that is both unpredictable and impeccably tailored.