In Depth

Daniel Day-Lewis: Six of his best performances

The only man to win three Best Actor Oscars has announced he is retiring from films

Cinephiles across the world are in mourning after Daniel Day-Lewis announced he is to "retire" from films.

The Anglo-Irish actor, who turned 60 in April, announced yesterday that his next film, Phantom Thread, which due out this year, will be his last.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest actors in film history - he is the only man to with three Best Actor Oscars - Day-Lewis is famous for his strict adherence to method acting and his ability to disappear into a character.

Here are six of his most unforgettable roles:

My Left Foot (1989)

After rave reviews for his performances in 1985's My Beautiful Laundrette and 1988's The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Day-Lewis was launched into international stardom with 1989 biopic My Left Foot.

His physically and emotionally challenging performance as Irish artist Christy Brown, who overcame severe cerebral palsy to paint with his foot, scooped him his first Oscar.

"This astounding young actor spares himself nothing," the Washington Post's Hal Hinson wrote.

With uncanny foresight, the critic also praised Day-Lewis for embodying his subject "way past the point where we expect most actors to stop".

In the Name of the Father (1993)

Four years later, another real-life drama brought Day-Lewis further acclaim.

In the Name of the Father tells Gerry Conlon's 15-year fight to clear his name, and that of his father, after they were wrongly imprisoned for an IRA bombing.

It is "stirring and exceptionally well acted", says Radio Times, with a "highly impressive" Day-Lewis as the petty criminal who becomes an inadvertent crusader against an appalling miscarriage of justice.

The Age of Innocence (1993)

This adaptation of Edith Wharton's novel about repressed passion in 19th-century New York represents an unusual choice of outing not only for director Martin Scorsese, but also for his leading man, whose portrayal of buttoned-down barrister Newland Archer is proof positive he is king of the slow-burn.

The actor "moves through the film on tiny ripples of sadness, compassion, and wit", Owen Gleiberman wrote in his review for Entertainment Weekly

Gangs of New York (2002)

In 2002, Day-Lewis lit up screens as larger-than-life gang boss Bill "The Butcher" Cutting in Gangs of New York, Scorsese's epic tale of 19th century New York's Irish-American underworld.

While the film itself received mixed reviews and is unlikely to rank among future tallies of Scorsese masterpieces, there is nothing second-rate about Day-Lewis's barnstorming performance.

His interpretation is "inspired by an intense ferocity", Roger Ebert wrote, and makes Bill the Butcher "one of the great characters in modern movies".

There Will Be Blood (2007)

"I drink your milkshake" is now a bona fide pop-culture catchphrase, but There Will Be Blood's milkshake-as-metaphor scene is just one of many unforgettable moments in Day-Lewis's towering performance as ruthless oil baron Daniel Plainview.

His interpretation of the role is "all the more superbly enjoyable for being so rare in an age of naturalism", said The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw, while Rolling Stone's Peter Travers called it "one of the great elemental performances in modern cinema".

The performance brought Day-Lewis his second Best Actor Oscar.

Lincoln (2012)

Day-Lewis' third and - for now - final Best Actor Oscar came for his performance in the title role of Steven Spielberg's wordy dramatisation of Abraham Lincoln's battle to convince Congress to end slavery.

Putting the US's most revered statesman on celluloid is no easy task, but he finds the humanity behind the icon. The "mesmerising" portrayal "offers proof of what magic can happen when an actor falls in love with his character", wrote the Denver Post's Lisa Kennedy.

"Even those used to the way he disappears into roles will be startled by the marvelously relaxed way he morphs into this character and simply becomes Lincoln," said the Los Angeles Times critic Kenneth Turan.


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