Day-Lewis’ supposed acting swan song in ‘PHANTOM THREAD’ looks poorly tailored


Preston Barta // Features Editor

Like every cinephile, I salivate at any news of a project involving either Daniel Day-Lewis or Paul Thomas Anderson. They do incredible work together and apart. But the thought of them re-teaming after creating one of the most provocative pieces of cinema of the 21st Century, 2007’s THERE WILL BE BLOOD, is destined to strike oil once again, especially since Day-Lewis is supposedly hanging up his acting gloves after this last round, titled PHANTOM THREAD.

The film, which is set to release in select cities on Dec. 25, is set in 1950’s post-war London. Day-Lewis portrays a famed dressmaker whose work is at the center of the British fashion scene. He creates clothing for royalty, movie stars and members of high-class society. He draws inspiration from the people who come and go in his life, and he even leaves little secrets of his own inside the dresses he makes (as noted in the below trailer; so think A GHOST STORY). Then, our protagonist finds love in a young, determined woman (Vicky Krieps). So now his once calculated life is being hit by the reset button.

After watching the just-released trailer for PHANTOM THREAD, I can’t help but feel underwhelmed by it. Day-Lewis and PT Anderson tend to create bold, stirring works of art, and everything about this seems to be pulling from familiar threads. Day-Lewis, normally an actor who disappears in a role, shows to be playing the most normal version of himself that we’ve seen thus far, and that’s weird. I’m sure it’ll be a heartfelt and tender performance, but not exactly the kind of role you want to see him go out on. Aside from the costume design looking spectacular (go figure) and the cinematography looking well-composed, this appears to be a safe period piece akin to this year’s MY COUSIN RACHEL. Unless these talents are holding their cards, I can’t say this one will be too impressive. But I hope I am wrong. I really do.

PHANTOM THREAD opens on Dec. 25, 2017.

About author

Preston Barta

Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.