In the glamour of 1950s post-war London, renowned dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock and his sister Cyril are at the center of British fashion. Women come and go through Woodcock’s life, providing the confirmed bachelor with inspiration and companionship, until he comes across a young, strong-willed woman, Alma, who soon becomes a fixture in his life as his muse and lover. Once controlled and planned, he finds his carefully tailored life disrupted by love.
"Phantom Thread" is seductive and absorbing, but it s also emotionally remote.
While there is precious little overt "drama" per se, before you know it you ve become happily ensconced in a peculiar world you ve never visited or even imagined before.
In the grand tapestry of Daniel Day-Lewis acting career, Phantom Thread will be sewn in as a colorful swatch, though for a retirement role, he leaves us wanting a little more.
Once again, Day-Lewis goes deep and has clearly done his homework. The 60-year-old actor doesn t seem to know any other way. In an era of tin-plated movie stars, the world of cinema will miss him.
We re not so much watching Woodcock the rarefied designer as Day-Lewis the rarefied actor, his immersion so uncanny that he can illuminate a soul at once titanic and stunted.
The director s most outwardly accessible movie in ages, "Phantom Thread" is at once an evocative period drama and a magical fable about lonely, solipsistic people finding solace in their mutual sense of alienation.
A duet of affection and irritation, Phantom Thread teeters, too, on the edge of romantic comedy. There s a lot of humor in its passive-aggressive tug-of-war.
It s set in an evocative ecosphere of haute couture fashion. But by the time it reaches its appetizingly perverse end, the film primarily reaffirms Anderson s own skill at hand-crafting exquisitely conflicting interior and external worlds.
Could be the filmmaker s most fascinatingly oblique work.
I ve never written down the word "wallpaper" in my notes so many times in the course of a single film.