'Phantom Thread' Assessment: Daniel Day-Lewis At His Good Greatest

Daniel Day-Lewis is taking one final bow.

And he’s doing it in model.

The three-time Oscar-winner not too long ago introduced he’s retiring from performing. Actually. However first, yet one more film: “Phantom Thread.”

If that is the ultimate curtain, it’s a designer one, elegant and luxurious.

The movie reunites him with “There Will Be Blood” director Paul Thomas Anderson, however wallows in velvet as an alternative of violence. Day-Lewis is Reynolds Woodcock, a mid-’50s costume designer, whipping up solely the classiest couture for London’s elite.

Apparently, some prefer it haute.

Nonetheless, after a long time of attire, Woodcock wants a brand new muse. He lastly finds one ready tables in a restaurant. She’s skinny and wide-eyed, silent and pale. The proper model.

Besides this lady’s no dummy. And as soon as he falls for her, Woodcock’s good life unravels like an inexpensive sweater.

In fact, it’s not arduous to unsettle him. Stir your tea somewhat too vigorously, scrape the toast a bit too loudly, and also you damage Woodcock’s total morning. He’s a person who’s happiest alone, sketching, in silence.

He’s additionally a personality who might be uninteresting as dungarees onscreen. However Day-Lewis brilliantly teases us, makes us wait. When is that this man going to blow up? Now? No, OK, however possibly — now?

Woodcock strikes via his life like considered one of his personal runway fashions, all the time supremely confident, by no means placing a foot improper. Besides we all know, finally, he’ll.

As a result of retaining issues additional off steadiness is Vicky Krieps as that new inspiration. Is she actually as harmless as she appears? Might anybody be? Woodcock’s waspish older sister -— performed deliciously by Lesley Manville — has her doubts.

As ought to we.

“Phantom Thread” has its personal left-field detour and it’s somewhat jarring — like a large rose applique on somewhat black costume.

The film is a big change of tempo for its director. Anderson made his profession turning cameras on the sunny freakshows of L.A. — the porny “Boogie Nights,” the cultish “The Grasp,” the druggy “Inherent Vice.”

He finds a unique sort of English exotica right here in Woodcock’s luxurious ballgowns and simpering countesses. However he hasn’t misplaced his signature model. Stitching takes on the look of surgical procedure, costume gross sales flip into diplomatic negotiations.

Anderson nonetheless has his fondness for wild plot twists, too (bear in mind the rain of frogs in “Magnolia”?) “Phantom Thread” has its personal left-field detour and it’s somewhat jarring — like a large rose applique on somewhat black costume.

Whether or not it”s the purpose of the film’s entire design, or a distracting addition, is troublesome to reply. However right here’s one certainty: Daniel Day-Lewis stays our best actor.

Even when only for one final movie.

 
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