It’s about time. Daniel Day-Lewis, probably the best actor alive today finally returns in what is said to be his final film. Paul Thomas Anderson, one of the most consistent directors today comes back for another exciting film this time a period piece set in 1950s London. It was impossible not to get excited for this. I haven’t seen Hard Eight, but I think I love everything else I’ve seen from PTA, he is a fantastic filmmaker who deserves more praise than he gets. I think Phantom Thread may be his magnum opus (though I need to assess this for sure).
The film is about an esteemed dressmaker (played by Day-Lewis) who makes dresses for the cream of the crop. Things change very soon for him when he falls for a waitress named Alma. She becomes a part of his life and though he is a fixed man of routine her ways make him question himself, his love and their relationship. The film also shows some of the ups (and mostly the downs) of their relationship, and how volatile things become. The film examines the relationships between the two and the effects that ripple over time.
This film is superb on a few fronts. I don’t think its Daniel Day-Lewis’s best performance, although that’s even hard to assess because the roles he does are so different. DDL’s Reynolds Woodcock is a fixed, brutally honest, snotty man who clashes heavily with his wife who challenges him and is not content with standing by his side and remaining quiet. The back and forth between the two is a joy to behold. The scene at the surprise dinner has some of the best dialogue you will see this year. I can’t commend the cast enough on their performances. Vicky Krieps has just put her name out there with this effort.
The cinematography and score are also of the highest order. I think this film is a strong contender for the Oscar for costume design as the costumes are gorgeous and impeccably immaculate. This is a vibrant and gorgeous picture in mind and in visuals. There are hardly any dull moments and the film flies by. PTA also masters comedy in this picture, there is enough levity to contrast the films more serious moments.
Overall, this film is worth all the hype and praise its received. Its probably the best we’ve seen from Anderson and a wonderful swan song for Daniel Day-Lewis (if this remains to be the case). There are many strong films this year and I think Phantom Thread is up there with some of the very best. All around memorable film that is breathtakingly stunning.