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« Box Office: The Post Widens, Proud Mary Aims, Paddington Returns | Main | "Paddington 2" Review »
Sunday
Jan142018

Harriet Sansom Harris in Phantom Thread

by Murtada

Embed from Getty Images

 

I let out a whoop when I first glimpsed Harriet Sansom Harris in Phantom Thread. I didn’t know she was part of the cast, but there she was drunkenly climbing stairs to meet Daniel Day Lewis’ couturier Reynolds Woodcock, as his wealthy client Barbara Rose.

It’s a comic gem in miniature...

The main characters talk about Rose before she’s introduced, and her drunk introduction makes a vivid impression. Barbara Rose becomes the catalyst that drives the relationship forward between Woodcock and Alma (Vicky Krieps), in a delicious subplot that we won't spoil. Harris is watchable every second on screen, economically delivering a full characterization with very minimal screen time. She's  always funny even when Barbara is sad and pathetic.

My admiration of Harris originally stems from her turn as the unscrupulous agent Bebe Glazier on Frasier.

She was a guest star for many years and, believe it or not, the funniest actor on that show. She also won a Tony Award in 2002 for her villainous Mrs Meers in "Thoroughly Modern Millie". This new featured role in a movie from one of the world's most acclaimed filmmakers should lead to many more parts if casting directors are wise. Wouldn’t it be great, if, for her next part, Harris gets a juicy supporting character like Lesley Manville’s in Phantom? Or maybe even a lead. One can hope.

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Reader Comments (7)

I also let out an (internal) whoop out when Harriet Sanson Harris appeared onscreen in "Phantom Thread". And I'd never ever seen her before. That's how immediately overwhelming I found her performance. From the moment she appeared mounting those stairs in a state of needy emotional disarray - looking for all the world like a some sort of intense incarnation of Maureen O'Sullivan ( but plump, 60-ish and hypnotically off-kilter), I couldn't take my eyes off her. I know her screen time's brief, but I'd still nominate her for a supporting actress Oscar this year. What a range of emotions she packed into those few minutes. I found the movie as a whole a real surprise. Based on the subject matter and the trailer, I'd expected it to be pretentious and smugly inaccessible. Instead it turned out to be immersive and compelling. Wonderful visuals - and oh that Jonny Greenwood score. Lush and expressive. Screenplay and performances are topnotch. How is Vicky Krieps not a front-runner in the Best Actress category this year? All in all, the picture's a triumph and - with little time to work her wonders - Ms Harris emerges as an impressive part of that triumph.

January 17, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterKen

Stole every scene she was in on Frasier

January 17, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterReady

I had the pleasure of seeing her play Amanda Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie a decade ago. Easily the best performance in a Williams play I've taken in.

January 18, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterm_a_honey

She was terrific as Mrs Jankis in Christopher Nolan's 'Memento', one of all-time favourites.

January 31, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAndy B

Agreed! This movie just got interesting! I love HSH in every thing she has ever done, including Desperate Housewives!

February 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan Groce

I only saw her in Addams Family Values and of course Desperate Housewives where she did such an impression, but what a huge smile appeared on my face when i saw her appear onscreen. And her part, as short as it is, is so great she just has a blast playing it... I adored the movie as a whole, but her particular scenes were a particular joy to watch.

February 15, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterClement_Paris

Loved her in her two scenes. She and Robin Bartlett should do something together - she's another one who occasionally shows up and is always a wow no matter how brief.

March 2, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

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