Our first look at Paul Thomas Anderson’s careful, repressed follow-up to ‘Inherent Vice’ is here.
Focus Features has finally given us the very first taste of Phantom Thread, a film already benefiting from incredible prestige ever since it was announced. The next feature in Paul Thomas Anderson‘s distinguished resumé is a reunion between the writer-director and actor Daniel Day-Lewis. Phantom Thread also reportedly sports the latter’s final onscreen performance, ever. Feast your eyes on the first trailer below.
Here’s the official synopsis: “Set in the glamour of 1950s post-war London, renowned dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock (Day-Lewis) and his sister Cyril (Leslie Manville) are at the center of British fashion, dressing royalty, movie stars, heiresses, socialites, debutants and dames with the distinct style of The House of Woodcock. Women come and go through Woodcock’s life, providing the confirmed bachelor with inspiration and companionship, until he comes across a young, strong-willed woman, Alma (Vicky Krieps), who soon becomes a fixture in his life as his muse and lover. Once controlled and planned, he finds his carefully tailored life disrupted by love.”
Opening on a montage of Day-Lewis’s Reynolds Woodcock dressing himself to painstaking precision, the trailer pushes the theme of calculated repression to the forefront. Firstly, there’s that ridiculously euphemistic name like Woodcock to contend with. But when he quietly reveals a penchant for hiding secrets in the linings of garments, a sense of intimacy is undeniably present in 17 seconds alone that is made more palpable due to the actor’s polite whispering tone. But the trailer eventually hints at darkness, jealousy, and possession, as do most movies about tortured artists and their muses.
“I have given him what he most desires in return: every piece of me.”
Rather than physically disappear behind a role like Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln or Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood, Day-Lewis is surprisingly laid bare in Phantom Thread. There has to be some level of projection when it comes to an assessment like that, though, especially when assuming that this will be his final performance before retiring for good. Nevertheless, there are fewer preferable ways to round out a career so varied, if highly selective. Phantom Thread seems to hark back to Day-Lewis’s performances in films like The Age of Innocence but with the cutting quality of Anderson’s incisive and psychological script, and of course that beautiful cinematography. If this really is to be Day-Lewis’s final feature, he’ll go out in sheer style.
Phantom Thread opens on Christmas Day.