Shot under the usual secrecy—and preceded by reports that this wouldn’t be just the final collaboration between Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Thomas Anderson, but possibly Day-Lewis’ last film ever—Phantom Thread at last has a trailer, albeit a fairly muted one after all that intrigue. Day-Lewis plays Reynolds Woodcock, a celebrated dressmaker in 1950s London and a swinging, if strictly regimented bachelor, who keeps his lines and ladies perfectly arrayed until the day he falls for a headstrong young woman named Alma (Vicky Krieps). As Reynolds’ sister, Cyril (Lesley Manville), watches with wry disdain, Alma becomes his lover and muse, eventually driving him to restrained, British torment as she flirts her way into high society and even starts having her own ideas about what sort of clothes she’d like to wear.
Coming off the loosely rolled joint that was Inherent Vice, Anderson seems to have gone the complete opposite direction with Phantom Thread, whose trailer definitely has a distinct Merchant Ivory vibe—albeit with the same pin-drop tension that colored The Master. And with the action, as it were, primarily limited to dining and dressing rooms—and without a flashy supporting cast—this period drama seems likely to be Anderson’s smallest film yet, both in terms of scope and audience. That said, the performances look to be typically engrossing, and the composition is beautiful as always, and of course, Anderson fans don’t need convincing at this point. As a bonus, Day-Lewis supposedly fell so in method-actor love with dressmaking that he’s now considering it as his second career, so consider Phantom Thread an early look at his collection.