Anderson, Day-Lewis deliver again with compelling ‘Phantom Thread’

By MARK VIOLA

I really didn’t know what to expect from the new film “Phantom Thread” when I sat down in the theater. Story-wise, I only knew what the trailers had shown me, which appeared to be a romance between a 1950s fashion designer and a waitress.

What I did know was the film was written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (“Inherent Vice,” “Punch-Drunk Love”) and starred Daniel Day-Lewis (“Lincoln,” “Gangs of New York”). The last time those two worked together, it was in “There Will Be Blood,” which earned eight Academy Award nominations and two wins, including Day-Lewis’ second of three Best Actor awards, the most of anyone in the history of the Oscars.

With word that this will be Day Lewis’ final performance before retirement, I knew I had to see “Phantom Thread,” even though I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. Ultimately, what I got was an odd romance, complete with damaged characters, more than a few uncomfortable moments and an extremely surprising ending. In other words, it was a very Paul Thomas Anderson film, which this week surprised many pundits by picking up six Oscar nominations, including one for Day-Lewis and one for Anderson, not to mention Best Picture.

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