For the love of Chris Evans’ sweater

Photo+courtesy+of+L.L.+Bean.

Photo courtesy of L.L. Bean.

Sadie Dallas, Deputy Arts & Culture Editor

This previously ran in our December 2021 print issue.

2019’s Knives Out is a great movie for many reasons. Not since the release of the Clue movie in 1985 has there been a better comedic murder mystery set in a gothic mansion. If Clue’s cast is star-studded, then Knives Out’s is star-bedazzled. There’s Ana De Armas, who can do no wrong in my eyes (except for when she dated Ben Affleck, but that’s an opinion for another day), and Jamie Lee Curtis, who is just so great at everything that it makes you want to buy Activia. But there is one true scene-stealer in the film, and it’s Chis Evans’ sweater. 

The beige Aran sweater, so simple yet so appealing, is only actually in a few scenes of the movie, yet it lives in my mind rent-free. It joins the ranks of the most coveted movie costumes, alongside Kiera Knightly’s green dress from Atonement and Audrey Hepburn’s sleep mask in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. But why is a plain old sweater so enchanting? 

Now I think I should mention that I’m not a Chris Evans fan. He’s just not my type. Maybe this is because I don’t care for Marvel movies, so to me, he’s not Captain America, he’s the guy with the really intense eyebrows in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. But when he wears that sweater… that’s a different story. That sweater stirs something inside of me. I get the Hallmark protagonist-ian urge to wear Fair Isle mittens, bake pies, and accidentally fall in love in a scenic town somewhere. Perhaps the allure of this woolen wonder comes from how it alters the audience’s perception of Evans’ character. 

In the film, Ransom Drysdale is a sassy, greedy jerk. The spoiled grandson of successful writer Harlan Thrombey, around whose death the movie revolves, Ransom is the outcast of the family. But how could a sassy, greedy jerk wear such a sweater? A sweater that appears so warm and inviting? That’s just it! The sweater is part of the ruse. When the rest of the family is in a frenzy over their inheritance, Ransom cozies up to Marta, Harlan’s beloved nurse. By virtue of director Rian Johnson’s ingeniously written mystery, Ransom’s plan is not totally clear until the very end, and the sweater diverts attention away from his true deviousness. In one very important scene, Ransom gains Marta’s trust by rescuing her from the family and taking her to a diner, where she confesses her big secret. This is where the sweater theory comes into play. Marta doesn’t seem to question his motives, despite Ransom being set up earlier as the worst person in the family, and the audience doesn’t either because we are too caught up in pondering the thread count of the perfectly proportioned, cream-colored garment he is wearing. He is literally a wolf in sheep’s clothing. 

Or maybe I’m reading too much into it. Whether it’s a stroke of brilliant costuming or a happenstance occurrence, the sweater has amassed a loyal fanbase of mesmerized viewers and I am one of them. We can only hope for a similarly compelling piece of clothing in Knives Out 2