Sometimes a drama can be almost solely about a relationship, without external crises or events.  Phantom Thread, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, is such a film.

In 1950s London, Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis, in what he says is his final film role) is a dressmaker to the wealthy, famous, and royal.  He has a close personal and business relationship with his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville), a demanding nature that upsets many women, a rigid lifestyle, and some issues relating to his late mother.
During a trip in the country, Reynolds meets Alma (Vicky Krieps), a French waitress in a restaurant.  Reynolds is smitten with her -- but more about designing dresses for her than anything romantic of sexual.  Alma becomes a part of his life and household, initially as a muse and then as a source of change and frustration.
Phantom Thread is a subtle film.  There are few blow-ups or big happenings but rather the evolution of the relationship between Reynolds and Alma.  The two leads are terrific in their roles, with Day-Lewis making Reynolds both passionate and very difficult, while Vicky makes Alma both a regular person and someone not cowed by the strong personality of her man.  The end result is quite moving and very impressive.

Overall grade: A
Reviewed by James Lynch

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