There are very few variables left in this year’s film cycle. Almost everything has been screened to critics so far. In fact, I think the only question mark remaining is Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread. One of our greatest auteurs around, Anderson has been working on his 1950s fashion drama all year, and has built up hype around the fact that it will be Daniel Day-Lewis’ “last” performance. We now have a glimpse at how this film will look as the first trailer dropped earlier today.
Set in 1950s post-war London, renowned dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock (Day-Lewis) and his sister Cyril (Lesley 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.
Man, this looks like a fascinating little drama. It’s obviously gorgeously shot, with Anderson pulling double duty as director and cinematographer, and Jonny Greenwood’s score is haunting. However, what’s most interesting to me is the execution of it all. Supposedly the film is some sort of artsy, expressionistic Fifty Shades of Grey (at least that’s how the dismissive Film Twitter-ites have dubbed it). To me, that brings out a whole different light to this film, creating cinematic parallels to Peter Greenaway, Michelangelo Antonioni, and Bernardo Bertolucci. Furthermore, the film seems like the perfect endcap to Day-Lewis’ career, having begun with roles in the sexy Unbearable Lightness of Being and Age of Innocence. As for the women, Manville is a renowned British actress, and I’m excited to see how Ms. Krieps fares as the equal of the greatest actor of all-time. The film is supposedly still being retooled, as Annapurna Pictures is uncomfortable with the 195 minute runtime, and is hoping to chop it down to a more-respectable 165. Until then, enjoy this lush trailer and prepare to see this come December 25th.