An astonishingly well-made, gorgeous, very precisely composed take on power dynamics within relationships.
At times period drama, at times a very sly romantic comedy, it’s a fascinatingly original take on the eccentric male genius and his young muse story, never interested in the easy or most satisfying decisions, always probing deeper and slyer. It’s a power play more interested in the illusion of power and the odd nuances through which power is sustained, than any real deployment of that power itself.
It’s sublime how the film explores domination and submission so carefully and with such restraint. It’s examination of codependency is intoxicating, with all the standard Paul Thomas Anderson craftsmanship (perhaps most notably the incredible Jonny Greenwood score). It’s such a precise deployment of his style, the grain and the lighting, the composition, the smoke…gorgeous, smart work. Four mushrooms and a dress.