Phantom Thread

Directed by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson who is best known for 1997’s Boogie Nights, 2007’s There Will Be Blood, and 2012’s The Master, Phantom Thread is a beautifully crafted arthouse film with outstanding acting performances, sumptuous cinematography, and a terrific script revolving around a rather unusual and evocative story. Set in 1950s London, the plot follows a famous couture dressmaker named Reynolds Woodcock, stupendously played by three-time Academy Award winner Daniel Day-Lewis, who lives a rather lonely and sheltered life obsessed with his work to make the finest dresses for the rich and famous. The only person he really shares his life with is his no-nonsense sister and fashion partner Cyril, played by British actress Lesley Manville, who insulates him from the harsh outside world and very much babies him to satisfy his peculiar habits. While eating at a restaurant near his country home, Reynolds becomes enamored with a beautiful young waitress named Alma, played by a revelation of a star Vicky Krieps, who he insists must go to dinner with him. Over time, she becomes his muse and is invited to live with him and his sister at their London fashion house where they embark on a rather unorthodox romantic relationship. As Alma gets closer and closer to Reynolds and learns more about the high fashion world, Cyril becomes weary of Alma and the disruption that she causes for her needy and obsessive compulsive brother. Throughout the film, the relationship between Alma and Reynolds fluctuates between emotionally and physically intimate and brutally distant as he focuses on his meticulous work making outfits. Underscoring their bizarre romance, the plot veers into unexpected territory with a puzzling ending. Daniel Day-Lewis, like his other equally terrific work over the years, delves deep into his role as evidenced by the realistic great care that his character takes for fashion and believably taking on the neuroses of his character. His mesmerizing performance is greatly enhanced by the talents of Paul Thomas Anderson who creates a beautifully meditative and emotionally delicate story with impressively detailed cinematography, musical scoring, and costuming. Overall, I found it to be a terrific work of art and a perfect ode to the fabulous Daniel Day-Lewis in what may be his last acting role.

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