Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest film, Phantom Thread, is an intricately woven narrative focusing on renowned dressmaker, Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis), whose well-tailored creative routine is disrupted when an independent, strong-willed young woman, Alma (Vicky Krieps), becomes his newest muse and lover. Although the film at first appears as a darkly rich and intriguing Hitchcockian romance, Phantom Thread is much deeper, closely examining the art of control and obsession of dominance.
Anderson has created an aesthetically breathtaking and gorgeous piece of film set to an intoxicating score by Jonny Greenwood. Every lush color, every ravishing gown, every vibrant sound, every intricate detail is utterly mesmerizing. Underneath the surface of the film’s beauty is its foreboding and twisted darkness: two difficult individuals – a tortured creative and a desperate romantic – determined to hold the upper hand in their relationship to fulfill their own needs. It’s a fascinating film, but its results are rather unsettling and very surreal. However, this disconcerting storytelling allows Lewis and Krieps to absolutely dazzle on screen.
Phantom Thread is reportedly Daniel Day-Lewis’s final film, as he has decided to retire from acting. If this is so, then his performance is an impressive final bow for a remarkable career. His meticulously compulsive perfectionism as designer Woodcock almost feels like it is a mirror, revealing how Lewis creatively obsesses over his own craft.
Final Thoughts: Visually stunning and wildly complex, Phantom Thread perfectly mirrors its protagonist – beautiful yet very disturbing. This film may not be for everyone, but it is extremely engaging thanks to a charismatic performance by Daniel Day-Lewis.