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LONDON-BORN actor Daniel Day-Lewis wears success like an impeccably tailored suit.

He is the most feted male performer of any generation in terms of Oscars glory in a leading role with three golden statuettes on the mantelpiece for transformative performances in My Left Foot, There Will Be Blood and Lincoln.

Day-Lewis's willingness to suffer for his art and immerse himself in the day-to-day toil of his characters is the stuff of feverishly shared legend.

He remained in a wheelchair during filming of My Left Foot, refusing to break character even to feed himself. He endured physical pain in bruising on-screen bouts in The Boxer and denied himself sustenance and sleep to convincingly portray an exhausted Gerry Conlon in In The Name Of The Father.

Day-Lewis delivers what he says is his final screen performance before selfimposed retirement, as a perfectionist dressmaker in Paul Thomas Anderson's artfully stitched drama, set in the salons of 1950s London.

It is another flawless embodiment of the emotionally crippled male psyche, HHHH H an ambiguous sexuality and a softly-spoken fastidiousness that doesn't extend to personal relationships... except for an uncomfortably close bond to a ferocious, purse-lipped sister, played with scorching intensity by Lesley Manville.

They are a formidable double act and you genuinely fear for the sanity of anyone who naively strays into the siblings' tortuous web.

The balance of power appears to be weighted in favour of the fairer sex.

"Don't pick a fight with you certainly won't come alive," threatens the sister during one contretemps.

"I'll go right through you and it'll be you who ends up on the floor. Understood?" Loud and clear.

Reynolds Woodcock (Day-Lewis) is the creative dynamo of a luxury fashion house, which regularly welcomes the upper echelons of society including Countess Henrietta Harding (Gina McKee) and Belgian bride-to-be, Princess Mona Braganza (Lujza Richter).

His sister Cyril (Manville) presides over the seamstresses and also manages her brother's romantic vacillations, ridding the household of his bothersome companion, Johanna (Camilla Rutherford).

During a seaside break between commissions, "confirmed bachelor" Reynolds embarks on a whirlwind affair with sweet-natured waitress (Vicky Krieps).

"I feel as if I've been looking for you for a very long time," he coos to his muse.

Alma's swift introduction to Reynolds's life in the capital puts her on a collision course with Cyril and her lover's impossibly demanding nature.

Phantom Thread is a slow-burning study of competing obsessions.

"Whatever you do, do it carefully," Alma tells Reynolds during a clifftop stroll and writer-director Anderson heeds his heroine's words, observing his superlative cast in long, unhurried takes as they verbal blows.

Krieps has the least role of the central trio but holds her own against the imperious tag team of Day-Lewis and Manville.

Two's toxic company,


Daniel Day-Lewis as Reynolds Woodcock and Lesley Manville as Cyril, and Vicky Krieps, above, who plays Alma

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Feb 2, 2018
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