Saying that Daniel Day-Lewis is one of our greatest movie actors is a monument of understatement.

He has transformed, transcended and mesmerized, playing everything from an artist to a warrior to an oil tycoon to a U.S. president. Along the way, he has scored three best actor Oscars (the only man to do so in the Academy’s 90-year history) for My Left Foot, There Will Be Blood and Lincoln.

So when the 60-year-old English actor announced that playing a dressmaker in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread would be his final film role, it turned an anticipated drama into a must-see.

And Day-Lewis is reliably wonderful, completely disappearing into yet another part, this time as fictional 1950s British fashion sensation Reynolds Woodcock. He is an ultra-meticulous man, obsessively focused on form and design as he creates gowns for royalty, heiresses and an assortment of grand dames at London’s House of Woodcock.

Rabidly devoted to his work, he has never married, though he has apparently had a string of beauties serving as girlfriends and inspirations, until he is bored by them and moves onto the next speaking mannequin.

Spoiled and insolent, he relies on his icy sister Cyril (Lesley Manville) to deal with the clients, keep the business running and the large staff hopping while he draws sharp lines and sweeping ruffles on his sketch pad.

When we meet him, he has just booted a used-up muse and discovers another, Alma. A young waitress at a country inn, Alma (Vicky Krieps) doesn’t know couture from camembert. But her rosy cheeks and thin frame soon become a staple at the house of Woodcock and she evolves from model to live-in lover.

Just one problem. The strong-willed Alma proves not to be a pliable partner. She speaks her mind, dares to defy Reynolds and rebels against his controlling nature. Tedium seeps in and their relationship becomes frayed.

“There is an air of quiet death in this house,” says Reynolds, seemingly putting an end to things with that odious observation.

But, wait, there are plot twists to come. And, as Alma becomes increasingly frustrated, are we veering into Hitchcockian thriller territory?

Anderson can make brilliant films like Boogie Nights, and garner excellent performances from his actors, as he did with Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood, and with Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master. But he can also wallow unnecessarily in the overlong and meandering (Magnolia) or go completely off-the-rails, as in the pointless Inherent Vice.

In Phantom Thread, Anderson has the intriguing setting and characters but not much drama. It doesn’t help that Krieps’ performance runs a little flat. She seems kind of bored with the proceedings, and is not entirely convincing as an Aphrodite-turned-rebel.

The look of Phantom Thread is magnificent.

Anderson beautifully captures the colors, the exquisite clothes, the clanking china, the stomping up and down the staircases of Woodcock’s London town house.

And yet, for all of its aesthetic achievements, and Day-Lewis’ power and presence, the story drags. Phantom Thread often feels like it’s just running in place.

Clint O’Connor covers pop culture. He can be reached at 330-996-3582 or coconnor@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClintOMovies.