(US - 2017)
Written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lesley Manville, Vicky Krieps, Gina McKee, Brian Gleeson, Camilla Rutherford, Harriet Sansom Harris, Julia Davis, Lujza Richter, George Glasgow, Nicholas Mander, Eric Sigmundsson, Emma Clandon. (R, 130 mins)
In the months leading up to the release of PHANTOM THREAD, Daniel Day-Lewis announced it would be his final film and that his retirement was effective immediately. If he's serious, and there's no reason to doubt him this time (he did announce his retirement following GANGS OF NEW YORK but was back three years later in the little-seen THE BALLAD OF JACK AND ROSE), then his second collaboration with his THERE WILL BE BLOOD writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson offers an appropriately masterful performance for his swan song. Day-Lewis is arguably the world's greatest living actor, with three Oscars and another three nominations, including one for this film, and that's a remarkable number for a guy who doesn't work all that much. PHANTOM THREAD is his first film since winning an Oscar for 2012's LINCOLN, and only his seventh in the last 20 years. He's an actor who's notorious for immersing himself in roles, embracing method acting in extreme ways, isolating himself from family and friends, demanding to be referred to by his character's name, and never breaking character for the duration of the shoot. That kind of dedication can be exhausting in the pursuit of one's art, and to an extent, Anderson fashions PHANTOM THREAD as a commentary on such commitment. Day-Lewis is Reynolds Woodcock, an erudite, in-demand fashion designer in post-war, 1950s London. He designs dresses for society's elite, up to and including royalty. He has obsessive routines and grows prickly and abrasive when they're intruded upon or deviated from in any way. And like any artist, he leaves a part of himself in his work, in the form of a word or phrase stitched inside the fabric.