(director/writer: Paul Thomas Anderson; cinematographer: Paul Thomas Anderson; editor: Dylan Tichenor; music: Jonny Greenwood; cast: Daniel Day-Lewis (Reynolds Woodcock), Vicky Krieps (Alma), Lesley Manville (Cyril), Camilla Rutherford (Johanna), Gina McKee (Countess Henrietta Harding), Brian Gleeson (Dr. Robert Hardy), Harriet Sansom Harris (Barbara Rose), Lujza Richter (Princess Mona Braganza), Julia Davis (Lady Baltimore), Sue Clark (Biddy); Runtime: 130; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Joanne Sellar, Paul Thomas Anderson, Megan Ellison, Daniel Lupi; Focus Features; 2017)
“The great actor Daniel Day Lewis announced that this would be his last film, and leaves us with an astonishing, confounding and perverse performance.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The great actor Daniel Day Lewis announced that this would be his last film, and leaves us with an astonishing, confounding and perverse performance. Serving as writer, director and cinematographer is the talented and provocative filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson (“Punch-Drink Love”/”There Will Be Blood”).In the London of the 1950s, the famed, imperious, cranky and narcissistic Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) is a fictional iconic fashion designer catering to the upper-crust in society (from thespians to royalty).
He works smoothly with his all-female staff of tailors and his stern and overbearing sister, Cyril (Lesley Manville), his business partner. Her other duty is to help her sworn to bachelorhood brother to stick to his rigid work routines by getting rid of any of his mistresses whenever she steals him away from his work for too long. After chasing away one such mistress, Johanna (Camilla Rutherford), because she chewed too loudly during breakfast and thereby interfered with his quiet time, Reynold’s takes a motor trip to the country to clear his neurotic head and meets a clumsy but shapely working-class waitress at a country cafe named Alma (Vicky Krieps, Luxembourg actress), and brings her to live and work with him in his House of Fashion home and workplace.
The film, that turns out to be a cautionary moral tale on love, shuns any major plot twists, as it stays largely a character study of the three leads working and living within the mansion as they subtly try to find a way for each to get enough power so they are in control of things. How a strange love is forged from this oddly toxic love triangle is mischievously achieved through some richly creative directing and acting. It’s an accomplished film that has a slow-moving force that draws the viewer to examine things such as career, love, habits and status with a renewed inner depth. In its artful creepiness, it reminds one where Hitchcock so splendidly took his masterpiece Vertigo. The hypnotic score by Jonny Greenwood keeps the mood of how perversely funny it all is despite its serious tone.
REVIEWED ON 1/19/2018 GRADE: A- https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/