I had this sensation before I looked into the definition of 'phantom thread' and discovered its aptness considering. The phrase describes a phenomenon associated with dog-tired Victorian seamstresses who would continue their sewing motions, stitching non-existent threads long after the day's work had finished. The phrase calls forth the disconcerting, ghostly aspect of artistic creation. An imprinting on the subconscious that wants expression.
In a similar way to how the film spills over its runtime and haunts me even now, I started watching it way before it was released. I watched the trailer, perplexed. It's about what-? A historical period drama that follows a renowned couturier making luxury dresses for high society in 1950s London: Daniel Day-Lewis plays this rigid and grey and serious fashion designer who falls in love with a waitress. At the end of the trailer, we cut to the title card whose font has fussy, decorative swashes. I was troubled and intrigued in equal measure. If I hadn't known that this film was made by Paul Thomas Anderson, perhaps I would have lost interest then and there. But the truth is, I was already prepared to love it.