It’s been ten years since Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Day Lewis unleashed There Will Be Blood on the world, a thunderous movie that many consider to be the pinnacle of both of their illustrious careers. It’s only natural then, that their next joint effort is being hailed as the cinematic event of the year (not named Star Wars, of course). Well, that and the fact that it’s likely the last time we’ll get to see Day-Lewis do his thing on the big screen, after the Oscar-winning actor blindsided us by announcing his impending retirement from acting this past summer.
The film is called Phantom Thread, which up until this weekend was shrouded in secrecy. But thanks to a just released synopsis to go along with a gorgeous new trailer, we finally have some more insight into what PTA and Day-Lewis have concocted for their collaborative swan song.
Day-Lewis stars as Reynolds Woodcock, a renowned fashion designer who makes clothes for post-war London’s glitterati. But when a young “strong-willed” woman—played by relative newcomer Vicky Krieps—catches his discerning eye, Woodcock’s “carefully tailored” life is plunged into chaos.
Once again, PTA and Day-Lewis look to have crafted a sprawling portrait of a man who’s tormented by his own obsessions. But that’s where the similarities between Woodcock and TWBB’s Daniel Plainview end. Unlike Day-Lewis’ performance as the ferocious oil tycoon—which earned him his second Oscar (he won this third a few years later for Lincoln)—Woodcock seems muted and measured by comparison. That may be disappointing for those of us who like to watch Day-Lewis chew scenery like an overcooked steak, like he did in TWBB and Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York. But anytime a performer of his stature decides to grace the screen with his presence, we should be thankful.
If this is indeed Day-Lewis’ final performance, it looks like a worthy finale for one of the best to ever do it. Phantom Thread opens wide on Christmas Day. Watch the trailer here.