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

I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction ( as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.