We’re officially closing the book on last year with The 26 Best Movies of 2017! Be sure to check out the rest of the Annual Retrospective posts, if you haven’t already. There’s a few movies that I didn’t get to watch and might have made the cut, such as: L’Insulte (The Insult), Нелюбовь (Loveless), Testről és Lélekről (On Body and Soul), Aus dem Nichts (In The Fade), War For The Planet of the Apes, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Detroit, Stronger, Personal Shopper, and Good Time. I’m confident at least some of these would be in my Top 15. ?
As always, take the ranking with a gigantic grain of salt. This year I feel almost as strongly about my first pick as about my last, so this was excruciating to rank. I’m taking this opportunity to showcase some great alternative and fan made posters, so I hope you have fun scrolling through my favourite movies of 2017!
The 26 Best Movies of 2017
directed by Taylor Sheridan
starring Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen
26. A bleak and straightforward crime drama with a shocking and silent underlining reality. Not without its flaws, but with a strong lead in Renner and not an ounce of pretentiousness, it’s an important recalling of events that is well worth a watch. Just be prepared for the worst of feelings, because Sheridan does not even attempt to soothe the pain.
John Wick: Chapter 2
directed by Chad Stahelski
starring Keanu Reeves
25. Cooler than you, cooler than me, cooler than everybody – that’s John Wick. The sequel does not fail to thoroughly entertain, with stylish visuals and an engrossing pace. And Keanu Reeves is as impossible to look away from as ever.
directed by Nacho Vigalondo
starring Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis
24. Not sure what I was expecting going in, but this was not it. A creative and clever take on monster movies (if you can call it that?) that will make you want to punch every man within 10 miles. Seriously, every single guy is this movie is either an asshole or an idiot. It’s divisive, but I’m on the side of those who enjoyed it. Anne Hathaway was pretty great, as were Sudeikis and Stevens – as idiot assholes.
directed by Dee Rees
starring Carey Mulligan and Jason Clarke
23. This should’ve gotten way more hype. It’s one of those movies where you can say it’s a well made drama and that isn’t a backhanded insult. Mulligan is everything, as always, but really everyone in this gives solid performances. Yes, the overall theme is familiar, but for once you care about the characters because they’re actually complex and human. It looks great, and that ending is perfect.
Guardians of The Galaxy: Vol 2
directed by James Gunn
starring Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana
22. Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2 is again a colourful ride of mindless fun, in the best way possible. Loveable characters and seriously hilarious bits (my favourite part was Drax and Mantis) have me easily forgiving its flaws. The soundtrack is not as iconic as the first one, but the visuals remain psychedelic and I love it.
directed by Sofia Coppola
starring Colin Farell and Nicole Kidman
21. So, turns out, I loved The Beguiled! I can see why many don’t but, I was completely engrossed by the actors, the hot tension yet languid pace, the sense that something bad was sure to happen. And the cinematography is absolutely stunning – I now officially consider it a shameful snub.
directed by Julia Ducournau
starring Garance Marillier and Ella Rumpf
20. Another divisive one but eh, you know that’s my thing. Raw is not one to rewatch but its first viewing is impossible to forget. It’s disgusting and unsettling yet balanced in its chaos, and superbly acted. If you sit through it and really see it, it will also give you plenty to think about.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
directed by Martin McDonagh
starring Francis McDormand and Sam Rockwell
19. I’m glad I watched this one before the controversy. I loved the dark humour, the anger, the wrong attitudes and the harsh words. McDormand, Rockwell, Harrison and Dinklage all worked amazingly together, and I’ll take all the open endings I can get.
directed by Patty Jenkins
starring Gal Gadot and Chris Pine
18. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a good superhero that has that classic comic feel. Wonder Woman breaks the mold with a powerful female superhero, while everything else about it is a trope done right. The origin bit, the light humour, the quirky side characters, the villain (though it is the weakest link), the epic slow motion, the big battle, the emotional conflict and the ultimate overcoming. You’ve seen it all before, but rarely done this right.
directed by Craig Gillespie
starring Margot Robbie and Allison Janney
17. Some more dark and twisted humour against a backdrop of pain and fierce ambition. I really liked the creative, irreverent and fast-paced editing, and everyone involved – especially Margot Robbie in an absolute killer performance, and of course, Allison Janney and her bird.
The Shape of Water
directed by Guillermo Del Toro
starring Sally Hawkins and Michael Shannon
16. Del Toro’s latest was a delight to watch, and with just enough twists and turns to keep me guessing how it would end. It has a lot of heart, a gorgeous production, and even though some characters felt lazily written, Sally Hawkins was such a force that not much else mattered.
The Meyerowitz Stories
directed by Noah Baumbach
starring Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller
15. It’s Baumbach, so you get a film driven by dialogue, odd but real situations, and family dynamics. In all that, The Meyerowitz Stories excels. Everyone in it is outstanding, and Adam Sandler gave one of my favourite performances of the year.
Una Mujer Fantástica
directed by Sebastián Lelio
starring Daniela Vega and Francisco Reyes
14. An honest, unflinching and unpretentious portrayal of a transwoman and the phobia of those around her. A phobia that ranges from eye rolling yet understandable ignorance, to shockingly vicious prejudice. Daniela Vega was the perfect fit for the part.
The Florida Project
directed by Sean Baker
starring William Dafoe and Brooklyn Prince
13. When done right, I absolutely eat up this time of realist movies – and Sean Baker did it right. We plunge into the seedy but human world of a motel and its inhabitants, just outside Disney World, through the eyes of a child. Everything about it felt authentic, from the wonder of the kids to the tragic truth behind it.
Blade Runner 2049
directed by Denis Villeneuve
starring Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford
12. I adore the original and this sequel did not disappoint. Leaving behind 80s overtly dramatic moments, Blade Runner 2049 is the perfect modern revamping of a cult classic. It’s visually stunning, and with an indulgently slow pace and quietness to it that leaves room for absorption and reflection, and surely speaks to fans of the original.
directed by Greta Gerwig
starring Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf
11. Greta Gerwig’s solo directional debut is a heartfelt coming of age story, mother-daughter relationships, and everything in between. It felt real and was superbly written, giving equal charm and intensity to the little and big moments that make up life. I’m sure I’ll like it even more upon a second viewing. Ronan and Metcalf were everything.
directed by Darren Aronofsky
starring Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem
10. Yes, I’m one of those people who liked mother!. I can thoroughly enjoy a movie driven by feelings, relying heavily on symbolism and general mindf*ckness. Aronofsky’s latest was just that, and regardless of interpretations, it played out like my worst nightmare. I loved how claustrophobic it was, how the tension built and built until you could barely stand to watch another minute. It’s like a cross between Tree of Life and Eden Lake. Amazing camerawork, and honestly, Jennifer Lawrence was freaking incredible here.
directed by William Oldroyd
starring Florence Pugh and Cosmo Jarvis
09. Another neglected amazing female performance, within a dark, twisted tale of love and murder – you know these are magic words for me. The silence and simplicity of it can fool you at first, but in the end they just make Lady Macbeth all the more disturbing.
directed by Christopher Nolan
starring Fionn Whitehead and Tom Glynn-Carney
08. Not your average war movie, Dunkirk puts aside protagonists and egos and instead presents a collective front of characters that shines in its seeming anonymity. You see them as any soldier, any captain, any civilian. And as such, we suffer and hope right along, in an intimate portrayal of fear in the context of war. Meticulously composed, with a soundtrack as powerful as its moments of silence, Nolan’s latest is a stunning and engrossing film that deserved away more than it got.
A Ghost Story
directed by David Lowery
starring Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara
07. Another odd one. It’s slow, and quiet, but if you can see it, you’ll feel it. And again, that I did. A Ghost Story starts out intimate and a bit scary, then becomes a tale of grief, though ultimately not from the person you think. What you can see from Affleck’s face is good, and Rooney Mara is incredible, as always. I’d say I could watch her silently eat a pie for 10mins, but that actually happened. The score was one of the year’s best, and the cinematography was also so great here – those last scenes? Stunning.
The Killing of a Sacred Deer
directed by Yorgos Lanthimos
starring Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman
06. Alright, the last of the kooks. By god, this movie is insane. Yorgos Lanthimos is like the polar opposite of Wes Anderson. Instead of quirky smiles, you get odd, wooden frowns. Near expressionless dialogue. And in Killing of a Sacred Deer, blood and violence, too. It’s sick, dark, perverted. Absurd. Brilliantly acted. I’m not sure I can recommend it – but I loved it.
directed by Jordan Peele
starring Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams
05. While the next movie was the most surprising in terms of how much I like it, Get Out had THE BEST twist of the year. Going from a strange comedy to full on horror without losing its humour is a master’s feat from Jordan Peele. It manages to excel on both extremes, so much you won’t know whether to laugh or scream sometimes. On top of that script, is an eerie score, and a great ensemble to bring it all to life.
The Disaster Artist
directed by James Franco
starring James Franco and Dave Franco
04. Biggest surprise of the year for me, hands down. Because this was… really weird. Not the movie itself, but Wiseau and his life – what?! The Disaster Artist is odd and silly, strangely hopeful, and kinda brilliant. It’s a riot. And Franco was unbelievably good in it. That’s about as many words as I can put together to describe it right now, because – what?!
directed by James Mangold
starring Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart
03. I don’t think I’ll soon forget the feeling I had walking out of Logan: finally, a comic book hero gets the full human character treatment. There are few things more appealing than a broken down hero (sounds sick, but it’s the truth), and Logan here is in the absolute deepest sh*t you can imagine. And he’s angry, so angry. But also tired, and sad. And kind. And heartbroken. He’s flesh and blood, kicking ass but getting his ass kicked too. There’s a lot of blood actually – and swearing, drinking. It’s not pretty, but it’s damn near perfect.
directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Vicky Krieps
02. It’s hard to say, or even know, what I feel about Phantom Thread. It’s a magnificent movie, brilliantly acted, it looks great, you can see and feel how good it is. But it’s like it exists alone, by itself; as if it doesn’t care, nor need me, for it to be grand. I wasn’t invited to liked it, maybe just empathise a bit with Alma in her feelings towards the insufferable annoyance that is DDL’s character. But even she turns her back on me at some point – which was when I decided that yes, I truly love this movie. I just don’t think it loves me back.
Call Me By Your Name
directed by Luca Guadagnino
starring Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer
01. Any of the movies in my Top 4 could’ve been here. But CMBYN is undoubtedly the most quiet and emotional charged of the bunch, so I didn’t want it to go by silently. It boasts those hot, summery visuals, but paired with an old time feel that turns up the nostalgia. Brings you back to those summers that are just another season of the year, yet feel a world apart. It’s a romanticised yet movingly real story, and you can’t help – well, I couldn’t – but be infatuated with it. Chalamet and Hammer were perfect and alluring, and goddamn it was hot – and awkward. But that’s part of the charm.