2017 was another very special year at the movies for yours truly – especially with getting to attend TIFF for the first time, this was a “before and after” year if I ever had one. As the world finds new ways to be unbearable, filmmakers haven’t been a stronghold for reflecting that awfulness while reaffirming our human resolve. I can’t remember a year where a film’s compassion could be felt so acutely. As ever, the movies were both an escape and a mirror. The running themes in the year’s best films are the terrible times we live in writ large and a reactionary, hard-won empathy, as if the movies were speaking to one another – a salve for the burns, or kindred spirits in tearing things down to build them back up again. How can one say that it’s a downer for the movies when they count for more these days?
And yet the complaints persist that the year was a disappointment. If you argue that this was an underwhelming year for film, the counterpoint remains to simply see more movies. From the inescapability of Star Wars – The Last Jedi taking massive creative risks to delights under the radar like Princess Cyd, the rewards are everywhere whether you actively seek them out or you can’t seem to avoid them. Even Netflix has made some of the year’s best accessible to so many, even if it has blurred the lines of the TV vs. film divide.
Missing among my list below that were the most difficult to omit: the potency of Mudbound‘s character insight, the blasé gutsiness of Staying Vertical, the soul of A Fantastic Woman, the cozy/prickly ambition of Okja, and The Post‘s timely righteousness. Major players of the year that I have regrettably missed at this time include Phantom Thread, Loveless, The Breadwinner, and Félicité. Onto the top 15 films of the year…
Continue reading “The Best Films of 2017”