My Favorite Films of 2017
Before the Oscars, I thought it was finally time to share my top ten of the year. 2017 was one of the best years in film in recent memory. Out of the top ten, four of the movies were from first-time feature length directors, and the diversity of the work inspires hope in me that I will be watching and witnessing unique voices making great, compelling work in the future.
10. Get Out
Dir. Jordan Peele
Starring Daniel Kaluuya, Alison Williams, Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford, Lil Rel Howery, Betty Gabriel, Keith Stanfield, Marcus Henderson, Stephen Root
While I really enjoyed this movie, I feel a bit protective about it because I want Jordan Peele to create more interesting and better movies than this one. It still feels like a first time filmmaker made this, even though it is so accomplished, but I am so glad that a movie like this exists.
Dir. Kogo Nada
Starring John Cho, Haley Lu Richardson, Parker Posey
Another debut feature that is so accomplished. If you are a fan of Ozu, Kogo Nada takes so many cues from him, not the least of which is his fascination with place and unique spaces, both literal and figurative.
8. Phantom Thread
Dir. Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Vicky Krieps, Lesley Manville
I will have to rewatch this, but this was by far the most lush and well-crafted film I saw this year, from a director I have admired for a long time.
Dir. Julia Doucournau
Starring Garance Marallier, Ella Rumpf, Rabah Nait Oufella
A nicely inventive horror movie with some interesting things to say about young womanhood and sexuality while still being a visceral, thrilling experience.
Dir. Darren Aronofsky
Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfeiffer, Ed Harris, Kristen Wiig
Definitely the most WTF movie I saw last year, and still one of my most memorable moments when a cashier warned me about a particularly upsetting scene towards the end of the movie.
5. It Comes at Night
Dir. Trey Edward Schults
Starring Joel Edgerton, Carmen Ejogo, Kelvin Harrison, Jr., Riley Keough
This movie works equally well as metaphor and post apocalyptic survival tale, as it plumbs the deepest, darkest recesses of fear and nihilism. It’s not exactly a fun ride but definitely a highly artistic one. Do not expect this to play like a traditional horror movie.
4. Lady Bird
Dir. Greta Gerwig
Starring Saoirse Ronan, Leslie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Beanie Feldstein, Lucas Hedges, Timothee Chalamet,
I was not a Catholic school girl in Sacramento, but I did go to high school around the same time Lady Bird did and so much of this film resonated with me.
3. Killing of a Sacred Deer, The
Dir. Yorgos Lanthimos
Starring Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Barry Keoghan, Alicia Silverstone
I love Lanthimos’ twisted, dark vision of humanity because it yields interesting as hell morality plays like this film. Barry Keoghan will always be the creepy, vengeful kid from this movie no matter what other great roles he plays in the future.
2. Good Time
Dir. Ben Safdie, Josh Safdie
Starring Robert Pattinson, Ben Safdie, Jennifer Jason Leigh
So dark, yet so thrilling, with a grimy aesthetic that mirrors early 80’s films, especially those of Michael Mann. It’s also probably one of the most searing examinations of white privilege I have ever seen without being explicitly didactic.
1. On the Beach at Night Alone
Dir. Hong Sang-Soo
Starring Kim Min-hee, Seo Young-hwa, Kwon Hae-hyo, Jung Jae-young, Song Seon-mi, Moon Sung-keun
A film I never expected to lif
ke because I thought the real like affair between director Hong Sang-Soo and actress Kim Min-hee would overshadow the film. Instead, Hong and Kim confront it head on and makes an intensely emotional yet thoughtful drama that leaves their souls bare and vulnerable.