As it is with Wes Anderson, David Fincher, Quentin Tarantino, and Christopher Nolan, every P.T. Anderson movie is a cinematic event, whether you like the films or not. In a society that has glommed onto Marvel, DC, and Star Wars, Anderson has a largely unimpeachable track record, even when there is dissent about the substance of, say, Inherent Vice or Punch-Drunk Love. That’s still impressive in this day and age, and one can see his reputation working overtime in the run-up to his upcoming ninth feature, Phantom Thread, about a famed dressmaker in 1950s London.
That was about all we knew about Anderson’s latest until this week, when the full synopsis for Phantom Thread was released. It’s now clear that the upcoming drama, featuring Daniel Day-Lewis in his reported last performance on the silver screen, is as much about the creative process as it is about a love story between Day-Lewis’ Reynolds Woodcock and Vicky Krieps‘ Alma, a young woman who makes him give up his life as a “confirmed bachelor.” The synopsis, which you can take a look at below, gives just enough information to not ruin the story but Anderson fans are as interested in narrative as they are Anderson’s visual signature, his sense of composition and movement within a frame. The biggest surprises in his films tend not to be turning points in the plot but in, say, the way he holds on a close-up of Joaquin Phoenix‘s rabid dog of a man in The Master or Mark Wahlberg‘s inept porn star in Boogie Nights. That can’t be ruined, and it’s what makes the wait for Phantom Thread‘s release on December 25th all the more unbearable.
Here’s the official synopsis for Phantom Thread:
Set in the glamour of 1950s post-war London, renowned dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) and his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville) are at the center of British fashion, dressing royalty, movie stars, heiresses, socialites, debutants and dames with the distinct style of The House of Woodcock. Women come and go through Woodcock’s life, providing the confirmed bachelor with inspiration and companionship, until he comes across a young, strong-willed woman, Alma (Vicky Krieps), who soon becomes a fixture in his life as his muse and lover. Once controlled and planned, he finds his carefully tailored life disrupted by love. With his latest film, Paul Thomas Anderson paints an illuminating portrait both of an artist on a creative journey, and the women who keep his world running. Phantom Thread is Paul Thomas Anderson’s eighth movie, and his second collaboration with Daniel Day-Lewis.