Make no mistake about Paul Thomas Anderson‘s Phantom Thread being a very good film. But not by the measuring stick of Joe and Jane Popcorn. It’s a high falutin’ critics’ film, and the other day a critic friend mentioned that Phantom Thread is “the kind of film that makes people hate the critics whose reviews convince them to see it.”
By that standard the Boston Society of Film Critics is about to earn a fair amount of enmity for naming Phantom Thread as 2017’s Best Picture.
Even by an elite-quill-pen perspective giving the year’s top prize to Phantom Thread strikes me as very peculiar. It assembles its own meticulous realm with deft and intelligent brush strokes and delivers superb performances, for sure, but it’s no one’s idea of a satisfying film that really pays off. To call it a better film (more moving or satisfying, more cannily reflective of real-life) than Lady Bird, Call Me By Your Name or Dunkirk is just perverse. What is the BSFC trying to do, get attention for themselves? Demonstrate that no one can be weirder or more anal?
Other BSFC winners:
Best Actor: Daniel Kaluuya for Get Out. Wells reaction: Seriously? A good-looking guy who gave an okay performance in a clever social-metaphor horror flick. Nobody at Gold Derby has listed Kaluuya as a Best Actor contender. Nobody at all. Gary Oldman, Timothee Chalamet, Daniel Day-Lewis, James Franco and Tom Hanks — get with the program, Beantowners!
Best Actress: Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water. Wells reaction: Not Saoirse Ronan…seriously? Okay, your call.
Best Supporting Actor: Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project. Wells reaction: Fine.
Best Supporting Actress: Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird. Wells reaction: Fine.
Best Director: Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread. Wells reaction: Again, a very perverse call.
Best Screenplay: Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird. Wells reaction: Agreed.
Best Cinematography: Hoyte Van Hoytema for Dunkirk. Wells reaction: Good call.
Best Foreign Language Film: Ruben Ostlund‘s The Square, which won everything at the European Film Awards the other night.