The year finally came to an end a few days ago. It’s rare to see a year so filled with quality content like 2017. Not only did several films become instant classics for new generations of film fanatics, it also marked an important step forward for representation of women, african-americans, and several other groups, both behind and in front of the camera, with many groundbreaking efforts that will surely be remembered for a long time and hopefully change the landscape of the film industry for the better.
It truly was an incredible year for filmmaking, so much so, that I decided to expand my list to the best 15 movies instead of 10 – and I still couldn’t fit amazing movies like ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’, or ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’.
Here’s my list.
After my first viewing of Christopher Nolan’s war epic, I can’t deny I felt a bit underwhelmed. The director has crafted many of my favorite movies ever, and is truly a master in his craft, and I felt ‘Dunkirk’ didn’t live up to them. But, having seen it again twice, I can say I appreciate it much more. It’s still flawed, especially concerning character development, but the film’s breathtaking war sequences are enough to make this truly special.
14. Wonder Woman
After a string of critical failures, DC really needed a win – and they got a huge one with Wonder Woman. Patty Jenkins delicate direction, filled with lush visuals, and inspired by other classics like the original Superman, gives the film a timely feel. Add on to that Gal Gadot’s star-making performance and Chris Pine’s incredible charisma in the role, ‘Wonder Woman’ stands out as being an amazing superhero movie that is groundbreaking not only for its great representation of women in film, but also for its incredible quality.
13. Get Out
Jordan Peele’s directorial debut is both hilarious and scary, without ever feeling jarring. That’s a great feat for a first-time director. Peele conjures up an incredibly original story that is incredibly imaginative, and giving everyone something to relate to. While some flaws emerge towards the third-act, the director nevertheless proves that he’s a force to be reckoned with, and a star filmmaker on the making.
12. The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)
Noah Baumbach created characters that feel so real and relatable with a script that would be criminal not to nominate at the Academy Awards. He also directs the film beautifully, and gets amazing performances from everyone, especially Dustin Hoffman and, most surprisingly, Adam Sandler, in what I feel is a an underrated performance that should be getting awards recognition.
11. Call Me By Your Name
Luca Guadanino directs a beautiful love story with impeccable visuals and with two incredible central performances. Not to be overlooked either is Michael Stuhlbarg, who I believe did one of the best acting jobs of the year. ‘Call Me By Your Name’ is a remarkable study of life, aided by James Ivory brilliant and thoughtful script.
Who would’ve thought that director M Night Shyamalan, who was once called the next Spielberg for his great first films (The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable) and later became a laughing-stock for his hilariously awful work (The Happening, The Last Airbender), would stage the biggest comeback probably ever seen by a filmmaker before? You can tell Split is made by a master – and with this, Shyamalan returns to horror and excels again, featuring suspenseful sequences that keep you on the edge of your seat. James McAvoy is also excellent as the lead, proving to be one of the finest actors working today.
‘Logan’ is the best superhero film since ‘The Dark Knight’. That’s saying a lot, since the former has been one of my favorite movies of all time, but the film earns its place: James Mangold crafted a brilliant swan song for Wolverine, played amazingly by Hugh Jackman, that is both heartbreaking yet hopeful. It’s an incredibly powerful movie, one that is sure to be remembered for years to come.
8. War for the Planet of the Apes
Probably the most underrated film on this list, Matt Reeves’ ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ ended the Apes trilogy with a breathtaking final chapter, bringing Caesar’s story to an end in spectacular fashion. Featuring amazing performances from both Andy Serkis and Woody Harrelson, unbelievable visual effects and a beautiful script, this film finally cements this trilogy as one of the greatest ones in recent memory. It also gives us hope for The Batman, which will be directed by Reeves.
7. All the Money in the World
Ridley Scott has made, in my opinion, his best film since Gladiator. Scott’s direction is masterful, and Kevin Spacey’s loss was Christopher Plummer’s win, as he gives an almost iconic portrayal of J Paul Getty. Riddled with controversy after controversy, the film is so good that it manages to overcome all that and become one of the year’s best films.
With ‘Coco’, Pixar has managed yet again to craft a poignant and beautiful film, showcasing its themes this time around of death and family with the backdrop of Mexico’s Day of the Dead. By the end, it’s hard not to be moved by Miguel’s journey, and this is all thanks to the brilliant mind of Lee Unkrich and company.
Probably the most controversial film on this list, ‘Mother!’ found a lot of people scratching their heads once the film was over. What did it mean? Some also argue that, even understanding beforehand the metaphor the film tries to explore, that Darren Aronofsky never quite executes it properly. I couldn’t disagree more. Aronofsky has made a classic piece of art for the ages, one that makes you think a lot. It also features Jennifer Lawrence in an excellent performance.
4. Baby Driver
Edgar Wright lets his mind loose with ‘Baby Driver’, which could probably be seen as the culmination of everything he’s been building up to. It features every trademark of the acclaimed director and applies it to a non-stop thrill ride that is both hilarious yet suspenseful. It’s a lot fun.
3. The Shape of Water
The pure concept of Guillermo Del Toro’s ‘The Shape of Water’ might instantly turn viewers off, but for those that remain, find out that Del Toro has made what I believe to be an instant classic, thanks to its timely feel. It features beautifully flawed characters and the director explores them and challenges them in every way possible, making the central love story one of the most beautiful probably ever put on-screen. The visuals elevate the storytelling even more. Meanwhile, Sally Hawkins, in my opinion, deserves that Oscar.
2. Lady Bird
‘Lady Bird’ is the most realistic film of the year, in that it feels that you’re a fly, watching real people interact. That is thanks to Greta Gerwig’s groundbreaking script, that showcases the difficult relationship between a mother and her daughter. Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf are both dazzling in their performances. You get engrossed in the characters and their journeys so fast that by the end you just wish it had kept going. It’s a beautiful, hilarious and powerful picture that will resonate with a lot of people.
1. I, Tonya
Craig Gillespie’s Scorsese-esque approach to Tonya Harding proves to be an amazing choice, as I, Tonya emerges surprisingly into my best film of 2017. Featuring jaw-dropping performances, incredible direction, an amazing screenplay all bases on a bonkers true story, it’s hard for me to find a real flaw with the film. It has a lot to say about the media manipulation, social classes, etc. It’s truly spectacular.