Phantom Thread (NC16)
Starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Vicky Krieps
Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
If you haven’t already read the memo: Phantom Thread, Daniel Day-Lewis’s second film with his There Will Be Blood helmer Paul Thomas Anderson, is the three-time Oscar winner’s swan song before retiring. Day-Lewis plays Reynolds Woodcock, a popular women’s fashion designer in 1950s London, and radiant Luxembourgian newbie Vicky Krieps is Alma, a small-town waitress Reynolds picked as his muse.
Their relationship is volatile and complicated; it starts off playful (their flirtation over breakfast is a highlight), then it gets a little controlling, before reaching unhealthily toxic levels. Anderson's study of obsession and desire is fascinating as it is frustrating. It’s visually gorgeous (lighting nerds will have a field day studying the camera set-ups) and immaculately performed, yet it’s hard to get into it. It’s like watching a beautiful outfit in a window display: No matter how close you are to it, you’re still separated by a sheet of glass. (***)