Recommended Re-Viewing: 'Phantom Thread' Is The Perfect Food Film. You Should Watch It Tonight

im电竞官网-Paul Thomas Anderson's beautifully shot story of a Fifties fashion designer is filled with intimate scenes around the table

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Recommended Re-Viewing is a series in which we make the case for re-watching an old film or TV series which you can stream without leaving your house. It might be a plot that's so bad it's good, a scene which deserves more interrogation or a director's underrated gem.

Here, Esquire's senior writer Olivia Ovenden advises tucking into Paul Thomas Anderson's film 'Phantom Thread', a food film which shows life happens around the dining table.


If you already know the ending of Paul Thomas Anderson's 2017 film Phantom Thread, you might think it strange to describe its use of food as delicious, but even in spite of what transpires by the end, the whole film is a love letter to the act of sharing food.

The film begins with celebrated dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock meeting a shy waitress when she takes his order for breakfast. Gazing up at her and speaking very carefully he asks for, "Welsh rarebit with a poached egg. Bacon. Scones, butter, cream, jam. A pot of Lapsang souchong tea”, before pausing to devilishly add, “And some sausages.”

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It's such a wonderfully greedy order for one man and comes delivered in a tone that is both bashful and as though he's imagining bringing the same meal to her in bed the next morning. She slips him a note which reads: "For the hungry boy, my name is Alma."

im电竞官网-It is one of several moments in the films in which food gives a good laugh, another memorable one of which sees Alma scraping butter across a cold piece of toast. Unable to stand the noise intrusion to his sketching, Reynolds tells her, "It's as if you've just rode a horse across the room" – a line that Daniel Day-Lewis delivers with the a level of cutting that makes you wince.

Phantom Thread is a devastatingly beautiful film visually, there are shots of perfectly steamed asparagus dipped into a pool of pale yellow butter, crumpled mushrooms dug up from the earth and the soothing stream of tea poured at breakfast time.

phantom thread
Photo : Laurie Sparham / Focus Features

In Phantom Threadim电竞官网-, eating and drinking together can be ravenous and romantic at times, as in the rumble of conversation during dinners which take place in the perfect corner booth of a dimly lit restaurant, or kisses savoured in the doorway of a pub on the walk home. But just as often it is the stage for poisonous behaviour: screaming matches over glasses of red wine, unwelcome guests crashing a meal or plates abandoned mid-argument.

It captures the romantic, frustrating, boring and profound moments that happen over food, and all of the humdrum of life that the dining table witnesses. Watching it you feel ravenously hungry throughout and truly well fed by the end.

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