Phantom Thread

An icy romance in the Kubrick vein, this drama from Paul Thomas Anderson stars Daniel Day-Lewis as a tyrannical dress designer in 1950s London and Vicky Krieps as the poor waitress he adopts as his muse. Though they eventually marry, their relationship is no love match but a muted power struggle, as deadly as the clash between the oil tycoon (also played by Day-Lewis) and the Christian evangelist in Anderson’s There Will Be Blood (2007). Anderson has trouble coaxing this struggle to any sort of emotional climax; its fanciful, symbolic ending is the sort critics will praise for its careful ambiguity even as they overlook its narrative desperation. This is being heralded as Day-Lewis’s farewell to the screen, though the most finely etched portrayal comes from Lesley Manville as the designer’s hard-bitten production manager.