By Megan Bianco
Paul Thomas Anderson is arguably the most acclaimed and well-known auteur in modern American cinema, and his new film, Phantom Thread, is finally expanding after three anxious weeks in just LA and NYC. Anderson has had his share of variety on his resume, from the adult-industry-themed period piece Boogie Nights (1997) to the epic ensemble drama Magnolia (1999) to the intense character study of There Will be Blood (2007) to the quirky crime feature Inherent Vice (2014). Now, he branches out to his most extreme piece to date: a British period film on the fashion industry.
In 1950s England, a high-class, respected fashion designer named Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) specializes in creating gowns and dresses. He lives as a bachelor with his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville), who also works as his assistant. That all takes a turn when he becomes instantly taken with waitress Alma (Vicky Krieps), who he quickly recruits to be his dress model for inspiration, as well as his lover.
Phantom Thread is about as far away from Anderson’s roots as he can get. Beginning his career with movies about West Coast culture, he now impressively conveys the U.K. as a native Californian. The best word to describe the film would be “elegant.” From all of the lush costumes, to the sweeping music score by Jonny Greenwood, to the cinematography, the film is visually stunning. But it all comes together with Anderson’s recognizable quirks and techniques. Day-Lewis and Krieps are a perfect match in acting, and Thread is perfect for a rather fancy movie night.