Phantom Thread ★★★★

Every square inch of this film is meticulously constructed to such an extent that you're just waiting for something to disrupt it. At times, it's somehow dull and beautiful in equal measure, probably because each tiny, repetitive movement is shrouded in mystery but is simultaneously dangling at some type of palpable precipice. The bare-bones setup allows Anderson to slowly but surely tinker with expectations, playing with what these characters perceive to be well established as he works in and out of gothic romance, dark comedy, and impassioned drama. There are moments that linger too long and moments--especially regarding the relationship dynamics--that could use more gestation, but Anderson ultimately nails the atmosphere because he provides you just enough insight into the characters' relationships to their environment. The setting and time period are of the utmost importance. It's like a psychoanalytical art project with the precision of a master chef. Jonny Greenwood's score is haunting, evocative, an integral aspect of the mood and its own storyteller. It might just be the score of 2017.

Perhaps the film takes too long getting there, but the final twenty minutes are as impressive a cinematic feat as I have seen all year. Everything simply unites in gorgeous, unforeseen manners, leaving you wanting more while marveling at the artistry on display. Daniel Day-Lewis is great in his role, but this is certainly not his film in the same way that Lincoln or There Will Be Blood were. He works in tandem with the phenomenal Vicky Krieps, an actress who holds her own in every single scene and even manages to out act Day-Lewis when all is said and done. She really shines in those final minutes, bringing a perfect blend of intimacy and fierceness to a very challenging role. As the film glides toward its conclusion, think The Master or There Will Be Blood in terms of the intensity and sheer craft on display. Think obsession and control and all its derivations. Think burning, twisted, complicated romance, one that the film manages to leave us with the most deliciously fitting images of. Paul Thomas Anderson knows what the hell he's doing, and I for one could not be more grateful.

GRADE: B+ (could very easily go up to a 4.5 upon rewatch)

Better than The Space Between Us? For sure.

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