The world is a better place when you find two things that just seem to go together perfectly. You would have to agree the world would only be worse off if we were deprived of chocolate and peanut butter or heaven forbid the combination of Thomas Anderson and Day-Lewis. Unfortunately for us the latter is coming true as Daniel Day-Lewis is retiring from acting and leaving a void that cannot be filled. While I am sad that he is retiring it has only made me more excited to see his last turn and for us to enjoy the beauty that is his acting.
In this world, set in 1950’s London, Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) is a well-known dress maker who clothes high society. Woodcock’s life is lived by his rules as he buries himself in his work as a woman named Cyrill (Lesley Manville) runs the day to day of his life. Being a man who never married, Woodcock lives the life as a bachelor and finding woman who become his inspiration for his creations. When he tires of the woman, Cyrill will make her disappear as he searches for his next muse. That next muse appears as a waitress named Alma (Vicky Krieps) who Woodcock takes an instant liking to and invites her to dinner that evening. Afterwards at Woodcock’s house , he designs a dress for her, which is pretty hard to top as a first date. Woodcock brings Alma back with him to London where she makes his life take turns that couldn’t be expected. This leads to changes in Woodcock’s life, changes he never knew he wanted.
There is a kind of magic when watching a Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Thomas Anderson collaboration. That magic is on full display as Anderson weaves together his story like it was a fine garment. With his subtle camera work and the perfection that is the score by Jonny Greenwood, Anderson lets Day-Lewis mesmerize you with his performance. No matter what his character’s profession you always believe he is a master of it as Day-Lewis disappears and he becomes the person he is playing. In Woodcock, Day-Lewis becomes the picture of 1950’s cool and a man you can’t take your eyes off of. The other joys in this film is the divine Vicky Krieps who as Alma stands toe to toe with Lewis throughout the film as well as Manville who in a few scenes even one ups him. This is a beautiful story that like a fine piece of art should be appreciated. I hold out hope that Paul Thomas Anderson will find a way to bring Day-Lewis back for another round, but if this is truly the end, then this is the perfect movie to go out on.