Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Thomas Anderson are collaborating again—for the first time since 2007’s mesmerizing There Will Be Blood—and that’s reason enough to be excited about Phantom Thread, their new film. However, Phantom Thread comes with an even bigger pull than usual, as it’s reportedly Day-Lewis’s final film before he calls it quits on a storied, three-time Oscar-winning career.
So what’s Day-Lewis’s supposed swan song about? Um, dressmaking.
OK, that doesn’t sound like the most tantalizing conceit, but then again, Day-Lewis and Anderson turned the story of the making of an oil tycoon into one of the most horrifying movies of the year (with a very quotable milkshake line). In Phantom Thread, Day-Lewis plays Reynolds Woodcock (A+ name), a renowned dressmaker in 1950s London who, along with his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville), dresses up the city’s aristocrats. However, Reynolds’s work is interrupted when he falls in love with Alma (Vicky Krieps), a “young, strong-willed woman.”
Choosing between work and love is familiar narrative ground, but with Anderson at the helm, I’m expecting evocative imagery and disturbing psychological touches to make Phantom Thread more than your typical period-piece Oscar bait. And who knows, maybe dressmaking is actually quite fascinating? It’s apparently exciting enough that Day-Lewis is reportedly considering pursuing the craft in his acting retirement, according to the New York Post.
If Phantom Thread—which opens in theaters on Christmas Day—really is Day-Lewis’s final film, at least he appears to be going out with some style.