Some movies take their time. They drip out information on characters and plot, drawing you in before getting to the meat of the story. Others, they drop everything right on the plate and say dig in. Phantom Thread does neither of these, instead forcing you to decide if anyone you see on screen is likeable.
Woodcock (Day-Lewis) makes super good dresses for the elite. He's also a jerk who romances and discards women as if they were tissues through his sister Cyril (Manville). He meets Alma (Krieps), a woman of lower class that he elevates into his couture world. Throughout the film we see him drawing away and her forcing him closer, eventually breaking down his possible clinically diagnosable barriers with some pretty insane means.
From the first scenes, we know Woodcock . He's fussy, a jerk, very much intolerant of changing his lifestyle for anyone. Daniel Day-Lewis is a pretty good actor. You may have heard of him.
We think from the start we know Alma. She's down to earth and available for love. The real question of the story comes in how much we see of Alma from the start. Is she hiding her true self or does she develop methods to be with him over time?
To be honest, I have no idea. I was fascinated by the images, the characters, but after thirty minutes I lost interest. The great beauty of the theater is four walls and investment of time. Except on very rare occasions, a movie cannot force me from the room. In this case, the theater atmosphere saved the day as the last fifteen minutes or so cement this movie and bring it to life.
Without those last minutes, this movie is an angel: it's a beautiful object that's really only got one thing to talk about. The devil is in that last scene, though. See this in a theater or a captive environment.