Who knows and films obsession better than the duo of Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Thomas Anderson? In what may be their last time working together—if DDL makes good on his threat to retire—the duo dress obsession to the nines. In posh ’50s London, Reynolds Woodcock (Day-Lewis) designs bespoke dresses for the rich and the royal. When he falls for a new muse named Alma (Vicky Krieps), his life is turned upside down by a passion for which he had not planned.
Anderson uses multiple cinematic tools to display Woodcock’s brilliant mania. Certified award nominee DDL may be his most obvious implement, but the subjective sound design is more unpredictably impressive. Whenever Alma or Reynolds’ sister Cyril (Lesley Manville) begins to grate on the dressmaker’s nerves, their dining ritual becomes much louder. Its effect is both slightly comic and uncomfortable, which also describes this haunting tale.
Love is terrifying and complex, and Anderson impressively holds that thread before purposefully pulling a narrative stitch in an enigmatic denouement that recasts everyone’s objectives and will fixate viewers for days.
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