Boston Society of Film Critics names ‘Phantom Thread’ best movie of 2017

Daniel Day-Lewis stars in “Phantom Thread.”
Laurie Sparham/Focus Features
Daniel Day-Lewis stars in “Phantom Thread.”

“Phantom Thread,” a brooding, masterful romantic drama about the relationship between a British couturier (Daniel Day-Lewis, in what he has said will be his last film performance) and his muse (Vicky Krieps), was named the best movie of 2017 by the Boston Society of Film Critics on Sunday.

The film, which will be released in Boston and elsewhere on Christmas Day, also won awards for director Paul Thomas Anderson and for Jonny Greenwood’s neoclassical musical score. It’s the mark of an unexpectedly strong year for the medium, though, that no one movie dominated the group’s awards and that “Phantom Thread” won best picture only after seven rounds of balloting in which it vied closely with Jordan Peele’s “Get Out,” Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water,” and several other movies.

Get Out,” a horror parody that also functions as sly, provocative social commentary, came out early in the year to critical and commercial success; the Boston critics named the film’s lead player, Daniel Kaluuya, best actor of 2017 and honored Peele with the David Brudnoy Award for best new filmmaker. The only other film to win more than one award was “Lady Bird,” which won best supporting actress for Laurie Metcalf’s performance as the teenage heroine’s fraught mother and best screenplay for director Greta Gerwig’s script.


Sally Hawkins was named best actress for playing the mute cleaning lady in love with a fish-man in del Toro’s swooning romantic fantasy. The critics gave their best supporting actor vote to Willem Dafoe as a paternal motel manager in “The Florida Project.” The award for best ensemble cast went to “The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected),” which featured Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler, Dustin Hoffman, and Emma Thompson in a Noah Baumbach family farce.

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The prize for best foreign language film went to “The Square,” Swedish director Ruben Ostlund’s art-world satire, a winner of the top prize at the 2017 Cannes film festival. The Boston critics’ foreign-language award is given in honor of Jay Carr, the late Boston Globe movie reviewer. The editing award, given in honor of the late indie-film cutter Karen Schmeer, went to “A Ghost Story,” in which director David Lowery gracefully interweaves different planes of existence and different digital frame rates into the same shot.

A new award, Retrospective of the Year, was created and named for David Pendleton, the beloved Harvard Film Archive programmer who died of cancer last month. Fittingly, it went to a Pendleton series, “The Complete Jean Renoir,” at the HFA.

Pixar’s “Coco” was named best animated film of 2017 by the Boston critics, and “Dawson City: Frozen Time,” a poetic work of archival history from filmmaker Bill Morrison, was awarded best documentary. Hoyte Van Hoytema’s camerawork for Christopher Nolan’s war epic “Dunkirk” was awarded best cinematography.

Additional films that figured strongly in the voting included the coming-of-age drama “Call Me By Your Name” and the arch Tonya Harding bio-pic “I, Tonya” (both opening Dec. 22), Steven Spielberg’s Pentagon Papers film “The Post” (opening in January in Boston), the French AIDS drama “BPM (Beats Per Minute),” and the scruffy indie crime film “Good Time.”


Special commendations were given to the Brattle Theatre for spearheading a new theatrical print of the 1973 Boston classic “The Friends of Eddie Coyle” (all earlier film prints having been lost); to musicians Martin Marks, Robert Humphreville, and Jeff Rapsis for their work accompanying silent film screenings throughout the Boston area and beyond; and to the Waltham-based, artist-run film collective AgX Boston.

The Boston Society of Film Critics, currently 20 members strong, was founded in 1981. Sunday’s meeting marked the organization’s 37th year of awards voting. The full list of winners can be found at

Ty Burr can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @tyburr.