Daniel Day-Lewis: His Best Films According to Critics

Known for his devotion to acting, as well as the passion and investigative work he goes through to build his characters, Daniel Day-Lewis is considered one of the greatest actors in film history. Retired since 2017 after delivering one of his most superb performances, but also one of the most demanding in El Hilo Fantasma – 97%, the British-Irish actor concluded a career full of exceptional work.

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Daniel Day-Lewis He was born on April 29, 1957 in London, England, and his sensitivity to interpretation was not a mere coincidence, in fact, his family was linked to the world of the arts: his maternal grandfather, Sir Michael Balcon, was a major British film producer, his father, Cecil Day-Lewis, was a poet of Elizabeth II and her mother, Jill Balcon, is a theater actress of Jewish origin. He attended the National Youth Theater before being admitted to the prestigious Bristol Old Vi drama school, while his film career began in 1971 with a brief appearance in the movie Sunday Bloody Sunday as a teenager.

After working in various trades such as cabinetmaker, his acting career would take another course when in 1982 he obtained his first role as an adult actor in Gandhi – 88%, which was followed by several roles in theater and series for the BBC until in 1985 he was consecrated with two very demanding characters: the homophobic London punk who develops a relationship with his old friend from school in My Beautiful Laundrette – 100%, and that of the heartthrob from An Indiscrete Romance – 100%.

After demonstrating his dramatic range and commitment to acting, the actor continued to choose demanding roles, including The Unbearable Lightness of Being, My Left Foot – 97%, The Last of the Mohicans – 94%, In the Name of the Father – 94% or The Age of Innocence – 80%. His works also include those he did under the orders of Paul Thomas Anderson: Bloody Oil – 91% and The Phantom Thread – 97%.

With a compact filmography compared to other actors of his generation such as Tom Hanks who has appeared in dozens of films, Daniel Day-Lewis has established himself as one of the best actors thanks to his rigorous selection of projects, in fact, he is known as one of the most selective actors in the film industry. However, the actor has made history by being the only one to have won the Oscar three times as a leading actor, as well as one of the three actors who have won the statuette three times; these he won for My left Foot, Bloody oil y Lincoln – 90%.

It is impossible to summarize the importance of an actor like Daniel Day-Lewis, that is why, below, we share his best films according to the opinion of the critics.

An Indiscreet Romance – 100%

Lucy Honey Church (Helena Bonham Carter), a young English woman from a good family, is traveling in Florence, accompanied by her cousin and escort Charlotte Bartlett (Maggie Smith). At the boarding house where they are staying they meet the eccentric Mr. Emerson (Denholm Elliott) and his son George (Julian Sands), who kindly lend them their rooms so that the ladies can enjoy a window overlooking the city. Lucy falls in love with George, but Charlotte prevents the romance from flourishing. Upon her return to England, Lucy becomes engaged to Cecil Vyse (Daniel Day-Lewis) without knowing that George will arrive in the countryside, causing a catharsis in her.

Although it is a film for the full show of a young Helena Bonham Carter, the counterpoint to this story fell on Day-Lewis, whose performance was recognized with the awards for Best Supporting Actor from the NYFCC and the National Board of Review. In your review for The Guardian, Catherine Shoard stated:

It’s incredibly fresh and eye-catching cinema: poignant, entertaining, intoxicatingly romantic, and socially fierce; nothing less than a whirlwind for your soul.

My Beautiful Laundrette – 100%

Omar (Gordon Warnecke), a young Englishman of Pakistani origin, begins to run his uncle’s laundry with the help of Johnny (Daniel Day-Lewis), a former classmate, the typical English hooligan who does not want to work and dedicates himself to threaten immigrants. In addition to running the laundry, Omar and Johnny resume the friendship that united them when they were students. Their relationship as lovers deeply in love scandalized their respective families. Directed by Stephen Frears, My Beautiful Laundrette is one of the best LGBT-themed films, while for the actor, what was his third feature film won him the New York Film Critics Circle award for Best Supporting Actor. In your review for The country, Fernando Morales placeholder image highlighted:

Story full of wit, subtlety and sense of humor. Very good from the first to the last minute.

My left Foot – 97%

Based on an autobiographical account by the Irish painter and writer Christy Brown (1932-1981). Afflicted with cerebral palsy, thanks to his tenacity and the unconditional support of his mother, Christy Brown managed to break down all the barriers that prevented his integration into society. A moving example of self-improvement and striving to achieve dreams. With My Left Foot, Day-Lewis won his first Best Actor Oscar, in fact, his performance was described as vibrant, moving and masterful. The staff of Variety He pointed out the following about Jim Sheridan’s film:

The brilliant performance of Daniel Day-Lewis and the good work of the supporting cast make it excellent.

The Phantom Thread – 97%

In postwar London in 1950, the famous couturier Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) and his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville) are at the forefront of British fashion, dressing royalty and every elegant woman of the time. One day, the single Reynolds meets Alma (Vicky Krieps), a sweet young woman who soon becomes his muse and lover. And his life, until then carefully controlled and planned, is altered by the irruption of love. The constructive and destructive power of love was portrayed by Paul Thomas Anderson in this film which is so far Daniel Day-Lewis’s last film after announcing his retirement from acting. His sober, overwhelming and fascinating work was recognized with an Academy Award nomination for lead actor. In your review for Screendaily, Tim Grierson noted:

Day-Lewis’s fragile and restrained performance leaves room to express Reynolds’ growing desire for Alma.

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In the name of the Father – 94%

Belfast, 70s. Gerry (Day-Lewis) is a thug who does nothing of profit, much to the chagrin of his father Giuseppe (Pete Postlethwaite), a quiet and educated man. When Gerry faces the IRA, his father sends him to England. Once there, by whims of chance, he is accused of participating in a terrorist attack and sentenced to life imprisonment with “the four from Guildford.” His father is also arrested and imprisoned. In prison Gerry discovers that his father’s apparent fragility actually hides a great inner strength. With the help of a dedicated lawyer (Emma Thompson), Gerry sets out to prove his innocence, clear his father’s name and reveal the truth about one of the most regrettable legal errors in recent Irish history. Taking the controversial theme of terrorism to give it a broader appeal, Jim Sheridan elaborates what is for many his masterpiece, while Day-Lewis delivered one of his most solid and impeccable works. In your review for Empire, Kim Newman noted:

The flawless performances of Day-Lewis and Postlethwaite do more than a dozen articles to mark an unforgettable reflection on the errors of justice.

The Last of the Mohicans – 94%

In 1757, on the banks of the Hudson River, the French and English fought for dominance of the region. While the French have the support of the natives, the English recruit white settlers. Hawkeye -Hawkeye- (Daniel Day-Lewis) is a white man who was adopted by the Mohican Indians. After saving Cora Munro (Madeleine Stowe) and her little sister Alice (Jodhi May), daughters of a British officer, from an ambush by the ferrets, he accompanies them to the English strongman William Henry, who is under siege by the French and the ferrets. In Michael Mann’s film, the actor exploited his bodily abilities to build this heroic character. In your review for The New York Times, Janet Maslin said:

Day-Lewis’ fierce and graceful body language says so much more than words.

Bloody oil – 91%

Texas, early 20th century. A story about family, greed and religion. Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) moves to a miserable city with the purpose of making his fortune, but, as he grows richer, his principles and values ​​disappear and he ends up dominated by ambition. After finding a rich oil field in 1902, he became a wealthy tycoon. When, years later, he tries to take over a new site, he has to face the preacher Eli Sunday (Paul Dano). An adaptation of Upton Sinclair’s novel “Oil,” written in 1927, this was the actor’s first partnership with director Paul Thomas Anderson. Qualified as a masterpiece, this epic gives us one of the best performances of the actor. In your review for BBC, Neil Smith assured:

It works best as an exciting vehicle for the fierce majesty of its star and her ability to disappear into the roles she plays.

Lincoln – 90%

In 1865, as the American Civil War draws to a close, President Abraham Lincoln proposes an amendment outlawing slavery in the United States. However, this poses a great dilemma: if peace comes before the amendment is passed, the South will have the power to reject it and maintain slavery; if peace comes later, tens of thousands of people will continue to die at the front. In a race against time to obtain the necessary votes, Lincoln faces the greatest crisis of conscience of his life. Steven Spielberg’s portentous directing, as well as Day-Lewis’s strong and compelling performance, combine to produce a witty and Lincoln-worthy portrait. In your review for Variety, Peter Debruge accentó:

Although historians will surely find reason to argue over trifles, each election Day-Lewis makes lends dignity and gravity to America’s most revered figure.

The Age of Innocence – 80%

New York, 1870. Newland Archer (Daniel Day-Lewis), a gentleman from New York high society, is engaged to May Welland (Winona Ryder), a young woman of his own social class. But his feelings change when he meets May’s unconventional cousin, Countess Olenska (Michelle Pfeiffer). From the beginning, she will defend the difficult position of the Countess, whose separation from an authoritarian husband has made her something of an outlaw within her own social class. A captivating work in which Day-Lewis and Pfeiffer give free rein to the desire to build this work on the restrictions of freedom. In your review for The country, Luis Martinez qualified:

With a steely pulse, a larger work fiercely contained in its spectacular display emerges.

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