If Phantom Thread is indeed Daniel Day-Lewis' last film, the actor is going out on a high note. Working with writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson, he plays 1950s London fashion designer Reynolds Woodcock, who gets more than he bargains for in a waitress-turned-muse. Here's what critics are saying:
- Day-Lewis "gives it his all" and "brings Reynolds to life with every shade of gray imaginable—in one scene we sympathize with him then, moments later, we despise him," writes James Berardinelli at Reel Views. You'll need to be patient through "an hour of background and character development." It's necessary, however, for a "fascinating and riveting" second half showcasing "as warped a love story as one is likely to find."
- Not easily definable, the film is "beguiling"—"a rare combination of audacity and precision, impeccably tailored yet full of mystery and magic, like an essential part of it is beyond Anderson's control," writes Scott Tobias at NPR. Among its strengths: "arresting compositions, a carefully integrated piano-and-viola score by Jonny Greenwood, and performances that crackle with wit and verve."
- "On first viewing, the captivating strangeness of the mood and the elegant threading of the plot are likely to hold your attention." Dig deeper and you'll find Phantom Thread is a "wrenching tale of a woman's love for a man and a man's love for his work," "a dry, comic study of the asymmetries and conflicts at the heart of a marriage," "a perverse psychological fable of unchecked ego and unhinged desire," and so much more, writes AO Scott at the New York Times, noting the partnership of Day-Lewis and Vicky Krieps alone "is thrilling to watch."
- Don't be intimidated. "Taking full measure of Phantom Thread may require more than one viewing" so "just sit back and behold," writes Peter Travers at Rolling Stone. "A dark comedy of relationships that thrive only after they're broken and take a new form," the film is "wildly inventive," "perversely funny," and "gorgeous in every detail," he writes, adding Day-Lewis' "immersion in the role, down to the pinpricks on Woodcock's fingers, is total."
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