The films of 2017 were sparse - particularly when it came to British films. It's no surprise that this was one of the worst years in American box office history, as there simply weren't any good films to see. But the year rounded out with a few surprise hits. Indie movies shined the brightest this year, with critical and box office hits like Get Out and Lady Bird. It was the smaller films that took on big subjects, with many independent films commentating on the world's most pressing social and political issues. The blockbusters of 2017 were stale and trite. Superhero franchise after superhero franchise clogged the cinema, but Christopher Nolan saved the reputation of studio films with his technically triumphant film Dunkirk. Although 2017 proved to be a slow and tiresome year - not just for films - there were a few shining gems that made their way through.
Here are my top 10 favorite films from 2017!
Best of 2017
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Dunkirk reclaimed the blockbuster this summer and reminded us all that, in the right hands, studio films can still be immaculate. Nolan crafted a superb film that evoked a wide range of emotions - fear, anguish, pride, strength, and courage. Dunkirk reminded us all of the peaks films can reach and proved to be one of the best cinematic triumphs of the year. And despite its massive scale and technically challenging production, Nolan never lost sight of the morality of story, transforming a large scale blockbuster into an intimate heroic tale. Nolan's film is not just a visual masterpiece, it's also an intimate and personal drama that will go down as one of the greatest war movies of all time.
Directed by William Oldroyd
Lady Macbeth, the debut film from theatre director William Oldroyd, follows a neglected wife, Katherine, as she enters into a love affair with one of the estate's workers while her husband is away. Oldroyd's film is dark, powerful, and brooding. The characters are complex and multi-dimensional; you feel a well of emotions for them, from hatred to sympathy to pettiness. Kathrine, in particular, is an untraditional protagonist, who defines the female lead. She's mysterious and elusive; you can't quite decide if she's a desperate woman seeking a better life or merely a psychotic narcissist. To top off this already flawless film, Oldroyd had compiled a cast that is absolutely superb. Florence Pugh and Cosmo Jarvis are electric together, each giving a performance that rocked the cinema. Oldroyd has created such an absolutely atmospheric, psychological, forceful film that brought me to a standing ovation when it finished.
Directed by Greta Gerwig
Each year, a slew of coming-of-age stories are released. Most of them lack any true prowess and are often sugar-coated for the preteen audience they are target towards. Lady Bird is the exception. Gerwig's standout film, featuring wonderfully poignant performances from Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf, captures beautifully the flaws and inadequacies of youth. Lady Bird is a gentle, kind-hearted, and provoking film, that will make reflect on every good, bad, and ugly moment of your teenage years. Lady Bird continues to reign as my favorite sentimental and charming film this year.
Directed by Jordan Peele
Get Out proved to be one of the best breakout hits from first time director Jordan Peele. Peele used his strengths in satire to create an entirely too real account of how the black community is treated in modern-day America. Get Out walks brilliantly the line between insanity and reality to create a perfect recount of the tensions between races. Peele's wild, but accurate, film is by far the most appropriate film to sum up the unnerving events of 2017. Peele has proven his place as one of the best directors of 2017.
Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
Of course, the film that is set to be acclaimed actor Daniel Day-Lewis's final film will attract attention. The collaboration between Day-Lewis and Anderson has always been admired and Phantom Thread is no exception. Not only did Phantom Thread live up to its content by being beautifully shot, but the storyline itself provided a striking and compelling look at the toxicity of masculinity. And, as everyone suspected, Day-Lewis marveled in his final role, leaving a being a strong legacy in the craft.
Call Me by Your Name
Directed by Luca Gaudagnino
What makes Gaudagnino's film so provocative, aside from its stunning story and fearless performances, is the full sensory experience brought about by the visuals. Through its stunning pallet and beautiful cinematography, Call Me by Your Name evokes a sense of longing, of nostalgia, of a romance untouchable by unadulterated beauty. Through its characters, it evokes a sense of familiarity - although this is life most of us have never lived, it's a life we can relate to: a life longing for love. Call Me by Your Name is the biggest breakout film of the year, and it wouldn't be surprising if it went home with gold this award season.
Directed by Paul King
Who would have thought that a children's movie would pan out to be one of the best films of the year? Paddington 2 not only surpassed the original in style and substance, but it also provided a thrilling and exciting moral tale from the nation's favorite bear. Paddington, in his typical fashion, is a joy to marvel at. His chaotic adventures - along with a devilishly funny Hugh Grant - is the perfect escape from our deteriorating world. But this little bear also is a reminder of the kindness and joy in the world - his unflinching positivity reminds you that, even in this destructive world, a little kindness and optimism will always save the day.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Directed by Martin McDonagh
A Martin McDonagh production always gains the acclaim it deserves, and Three Billboards is no exception. Like many of McDonagh's films, Three Billboards captures the beauty and struggles of humanity through dark humor and larger than life characters. What makes Three Billboards so rich is the bold and unforgiving humanity of its characters, its charming but also heartbreaking story, and its utterly truthful and raw performances. Three Billboards is the perfect mix between comedy and drama, as it wiggles into your heart and reminds you of the pure strength of human beings.
God's Own Country
Directed by Francis Lee
As a contrast to Call Me by Your Name, God's Own Country is a less of a romantic telling of a kindling love, but rather a brutal and honest telling of forbidden love in an unforgiving country. God's Own Country holds a mirror up to the culture of rural Britain, an often forgotten area of the country, and explores how the repression of a country stuck in the past haunts those living in the present. God's Own Country is a harrowing, yet beautiful, look those tormented by God's country.
Directed by Patty Jenkins
I'm not typically one to praise a superhero movie - actually, I'm the last person that would praise a superhero movie. But one can't deny the industry, and even social, the importance of Jenkins' Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman proved to Hollywood that a female directed film lead by a, quite literally, a strong and powerful woman can win over the box office and the critics. Jenkins and her Wonder Woman have set the precedent for future generations of women filmmakers and creators - proving that female stories by female artists are in demand.