Compiling this list of 2017 films has been an interesting task. There are usually a couple of films which miss the previous year’s deadline due to UK release dates, but it’s not often that so many of them make my ‘best of’ list. This year, some of my favourite films on this list may seem like old hat because they came and went with the Academy Awards earlier this year, having qualified with their 2016 US release dates. But they didn’t get UK release until 2017, so that’s why you’ll see them here.
The other observation is the number of films on my favourites list featuring LGBT characters – 2017 seems to have provided a lot of great storylines, and a lot of high-profile films.
Sadly, there are a handful of films I would have liked to have seen but which passed me by: The Florida Project, Good Time, The Beguiled, Get Out (this one mostly because I struggle with horror films and so chickened out) are among these.
A complete list of my 2017 viewing can be found here on Letterboxd or click on the titles to see my thoughts on the top ten.
Let’s start with a quick list of numbers 20 – 11:
20 – The Red Turtle
19 – Logan Lucky
18 – Logan
17 – Blade Runner 2049
16 – Stronger
15 – Aquarius
14 – Beach Rats
13 – Thor: Ragnarok
12 – After the Storm
11 – The Killing of a Sacred Deer
10 – Columbus
A very calm and beautifully shot film about guilt, grief, anger, despair, with two great performances from John Cho and Haley Lu Richardson.
9 – A Ghost Story
Starts out being about very personal grief and connection, and becomes about the nature of death, time and memory, and deals in vast themes, all featuring a man in a sheet.
8 – The Salesman
A peak at feelings of emasculation in the Iranian middle-classes as a husband fails to cope with an attack on his wife. Asghar Farhadi wins again.
7 – The Handmaiden
A beautiful, sometimes over-the-top creation – would we expect anything less from Chan-wook Park?
The awkward family dinner as only Xavier Dolan can.
5 – La La Land
Perhaps when we were all younger and full of future dreams the world appeared to us in Technicolor, much like the musicals of the 50s which director Damien Chazelle captures here. But he also asks us deep questions about those youthful dreams too.
Beautiful film with an impressive performance from Josh O’Connor – John’s evolution from angry, lonely young man to where he ends up is beautifully nuanced, and heart-breaking.
I know, Affleck is persona non grata, but it doesn’t alter the fact that I found this a heart-breaking study of guilt and grief.
First time since doing these lists that I genuinely can’t choose one of these over the other, so I’m having a joint first place this year.
Call Me By Your Name presents something incredibly 80s and yet also something timeless. It doesn’t matter whether the protagonists are straight or gay, this is a universal story about growing up, growing wise, feeling love and feeling pain.
Moonlight offers similar ideas, but in a very different setting. It’s accompanied by a beautiful score and gorgeous cinematography, with occasional shades of Wong-Kar Wai in tone – a sense of longing, searching and unrequited feelings permeates.
And as I couldn’t separate my top two, this means that Luca Guadagnino has topped my list for the second year in a row!
Don’t hold your breath for 2018 though Luca, as my discomfort with watching horror films might bar me from seeing the Suspiria remake due next year.