The Best Films of 2017: A Look Back at the Year in Cinema
2017 was a year of incredible movies that left audiences mesmerized and entertained. I have compiled a list of the year's best films featuring a diverse range of genres and styles. From the futuristic world of Blade Runner 2049 to the harrowing wartime drama of Dunkirk, the superhero blockbuster Logan, and the anime gem No Game No Life Zero, we've got something for everyone. Join us as we revisit the year's most unforgettable cinematic experiences.
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1. Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Cast: Harrison Ford, Ryan Gosling, Ana de Armas
Genre: Action, Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi
In Blade Runner 2049, the film delves into a future where replicants, bioengineered humans, coexist with humans, albeit not without tension. Officer K, played by Ryan Gosling, is a replicant assigned to track down rogue replicants, but as he uncovers a long-buried secret, he embarks on a journey that challenges his understanding of identity and humanity. The visually striking neo-noir world created by director Denis Villeneuve and cinematographer Roger Deakins becomes the backdrop for a mesmerizing exploration of complex themes, including memory, purpose, and what it truly means to be human.
Ryan Gosling delivers a nuanced performance as Officer K, a replicant who grapples with his own sense of self and purpose. Harrison Ford’s reprisal of his role as Rick Deckard is also the best part, providing a satisfying link to the original film and adding depth to his character’s arc.
“Dying For The Right Cause. It’s The Most Human Thing We Can Do.”
The film’s pacing may be slow for some viewers, but it allows for ample time to fully immerse oneself in the world and characters. The score by Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch is also a standout, complementing the film’s visual and thematic elements with haunting and memorable music.
Blade Runner 2049 may not have been a commercial blockbuster, but it stands as a cinematic achievement in its own right. It artfully builds upon the foundation laid by its cult-classic predecessor, delving even deeper into its thematic exploration. The film challenges audiences to contemplate the profound question of what it means to be human, making it a thought-provoking and unforgettable sci-fi masterpiece.
2. Dunkirk (2017)
Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Fionn Whitehead, Barry Keoghan, Mark Rylance
Genre: Action, Drama, History, War
Dunkirk is a movie about survival, both on a personal and national scale. It showcases the horror and brutality of war while at the same time highlighting the bravery and selflessness of the people involved. It is a movie that explores the human condition in a time of crisis, and it does so with depth and complexity that is rare in modern cinema.
Men my age dictate this war. Why should we be allowed to send our children to fight it?
The film follows the story of the evacuation of British and French troops from the beaches of Dunkirk during World War II. The story is told from three different perspectives, each taking place over a different period. This unique narrative structure adds a layer of complexity to the movie, as the viewer is forced to piece together the events as they unfold.
Dunkirk is a technical marvel with stunning cinematography and an immersive sound design that transports the viewer right into the heart of the action. The aerial dogfights are breathtaking, and the beach scenes are haunting and beautiful.
Christopher Nolan’s direction is masterful, as he weaves together the various storylines with precision and skill. The ensemble cast, including Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, and Cillian Murphy, deliver powerful performances that bring the characters to life.
Dunkirk is an impressive war movie and a true masterpiece in filmmaking. Christopher Nolan’s direction, Hans Zimmer’s powerful score, and outstanding cinematography combined to create an unforgettable experience that immerses the viewer in the chaos of the evacuation. With its stunning visuals, intense action, and emotional depth, Dunkirk is a film that will be remembered for years as one of the best war movies.
3. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)
Director: Martin McDonagh
Cast: Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell
Genre: Crime, Drama
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” is a black comedy-drama directed by Martin McDonagh, starring Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, and Sam Rockwell. The movie centers around a grieving mother, Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand), who takes matters into her own hands to solve the unsolved case of her daughter’s murder. In her attempt to seek justice, she puts up three billboards criticizing the town’s police department for their lack of progress in solving the case.
The movie’s setting is a small town in Missouri, which adds to the story’s charm. McDonagh has perfectly captured the essence of a small town where everybody knows everybody and their lives are intertwined. The town’s residents’ complexities and contradictions are portrayed with such accuracy that it feels as though one is living there. The film also sheds light on police brutality and racism in small towns.
Frances McDormand’s performance as Mildred Hayes is breathtakingly beautiful. She delivers a raw and powerful performance that leaves the audience in awe. Her character is unapologetic and fierce, and McDormand plays her role with such intensity that one can’t help but feel her pain and rage. Sam Rockwell’s performance as the racist and violent Officer Dixon is equally impressive. He transforms his character from a one-dimensional antagonist to a complex character with a tragic backstory.
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” is a film that will leave you speechless. It’s a movie that will make you laugh, cry, and think about the complexities of human emotions. McDonagh has expertly crafted a film that addresses important social issues while still being entertaining. Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell’s performances are exceptional, and their chemistry on screen is palpable.
4. Call Me by Your Name (2017)
Director: Luca Guadagnino
Cast: Armie Hammer, Timothée Chalamet, Michael Stuhlbarg
Genre: Drama, Romance
The film is an adaptation of Andre Aciman’s novel of the same name. It tells the story of a summer romance between 17-year-old Elio (Timothée Chalamet) and Oliver (Armie Hammer), a 24-year-old graduate student who comes to work as an assistant for Elio’s father. The story is set in Northern Italy, in the picturesque town of Crema in 1983, and the lush, sun-kissed landscapes provide the perfect backdrop for the film’s themes of first love, sexuality, and personal growth.
“Is it better to speak or die?”
The relationship between Elio and Oliver is at the heart of the film and is beautifully portrayed by the two lead actors. The film handles the topic of homosexuality with sensitivity and nuance, and the chemistry between Chalamet and Hammer is palpable and convincing. The father-son relationship between Elio and his father (Michael Stuhlbarg) is also a film highlight. Stuhlbarg delivers a powerful monologue towards the end of the film that is both moving and memorable.
The film’s soundtrack is also noteworthy, featuring songs by Sufjan Stevens that perfectly capture the film’s mood and add to its emotional impact. The orchestral score by Oscar-winner Robin van Helden is also excellent, creating an atmosphere of summertime longing and bittersweet memories.
Call Me By Your Name is a visually stunning and emotionally powerful film that explores the themes of love, loss, and first love. The film’s breathtaking landscapes and the use of a single 35mm lens provide a unique and captivating viewing experience. It deserves its place among the best romantic films. The film is a testament to the power of first love and its impact on our lives.
5. Kizumonogatari Part 3: Reiketsu (2017)
Director: Tatsuya Oishi, Akiyuki Shinbo
Cast: Hiroshi Kamiya, Takahiro Sakurai, Maaya Sakamoto
Genre: Animation, Action, Drama
“Kizumonogatari Part 3: Reiketsu” is the concluding chapter of the Kizumonogatari series, a prequel to the popular anime TV show “Bakemonogatari.” The story follows the protagonist, Araragi, as he battles with a group of powerful vampires and tries to save the life of the girl he loves, Hanekawa.
The movie is not for kids but for grown-ups who enjoy dark and complex storytelling. It explores themes such as love, betrayal, redemption, and mortality. The movie does not shy away from showing graphic violence and nudity, making it a mature and intense viewing experience.
The animation and visuals of the movie are nothing short of spectacular. The film is a series within a series, and it provides a deeper understanding of the characters and their motivations. The story is a visual treat, with stunningly beautiful animation and a unique art style that adds to the movie’s overall appeal.
One of the most impressive aspects of the film is its use of symbolism and metaphors. The movie is not just a story but also a work of art. Using metaphors and symbolism is a clever way of conveying complex emotions and ideas that are difficult to put into words. It adds depth and complexity to the story and makes it a thought-provoking experience.
The movie is a must-watch for fans of the Monogatari series. It ties up loose ends and provides a satisfying conclusion to Araragi’s backstory.
“Kizumonogatari Part 3: Reiketsu” is a masterpiece of storytelling and animation. It’s a movie that is not afraid to explore complex themes and emotions and does so in a way that is both entertaining and thought-provoking. The film is a visual treat, with stunning animation and a unique art style that adds to its overall appeal. If you are a fan of the Monogatari series, then this movie is a must-watch.
6. Logan (2017)
Director: James Mangold
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen
Genre: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi
“Logan” is an original superhero movie that serves its own story, even for those who haven’t watched the X-Men series. The movie follows an aging Logan, played by Hugh Jackman, who is taking care of an ailing Professor X in a world where mutants are on the brink of extinction. Logan’s quiet life is upended when a young girl with similar powers appears, and he must protect her from the forces that want to use her for their own purposes.
Nature made me a freak. Man made me a weapon. And God made it last too long.
The movie is more for adult audiences, with its emotionally mature storytelling that explores themes such as aging, mortality, and the consequences of violence. The film is a rare action flick in which the quiet moments are as compelling as any of the fights. It’s not just one of the best superhero movies ever – it’s a damn-fine cinematic representation of the human condition in all its agonizing forms.
Jackman said this was the hardest Wolverine movie he had ever trained for. It shows in his performance, as he brings a level of intensity and depth to the character that we haven’t seen before. The movie is a fitting finale for the movie’s greatest mutant, and it’s clear that Jackman has given his all to the role.
“Logan” is a masterpiece of superhero storytelling that transcends the genre. It’s a movie that explores the human condition with depth and nuance, and it’s a fitting finale for the movie’s greatest mutant. Jackman’s performance is nothing short of extraordinary, and the movie’s Western influences make it a unique and compelling viewing experience.
7. The Night Is Short, Walk on Girl (2017)
Director: Masaaki Yuasa
Cast: Gen Hoshino, Kana Hanazawa, Hiroshi Kamiya
Genre: Comedy, Romance
The Night Is Short, Walk on Girl is a bizarre and surreal film that delivers a unique experience that won’t be for everyone but is definitely worth watching for its creativity and refreshing approach to storytelling. The film follows a young woman who goes out for a night of partying, getting drunk and exploring the city. Along the way, she meets a series of strange and interesting characters, including a man who is desperately in love with her and a mysterious man who keeps appearing throughout the night.
It’s about living without letting your feet touch the ground. Then you can fly.
The animation is fluid and sharp, with artfully composed scenes that are visually stunning and, at times, disorienting. The film’s pacing is deliberate and often meandering, which may frustrate some viewers who prefer a more structured narrative. However, those who appreciate the film’s dreamlike quality and are willing to go along for the ride will be rewarded with a truly unique and unforgettable experience.
The Night Is Short, Walk on Girl is a refreshingly unconventional film showcasing Japanese animation’s creativity and ingenuity. It’s not for everyone, but for those willing to embrace its weirdness, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding experience.
8. The Shape of Water (2017)
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Cast: Sally Hawkins, Octavia Spencer, Michael Shannon
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Romance
The Shape of Water is a visually stunning film with a period setting that transports you to a different era. The film features a beautiful blush color palette that adds a unique touch to the visual experience. Guillermo del Toro has directed a wonderfully weird love story that plays like an adult fairy tale. The story follows a mute woman named Elisa, played by Sally Hawkins, who falls in love with a creature, sparking an unexpected interspecies romance.
Sally Hawkins is terrific in her silent role, using her expressive face to convey Elisa’s journey into love and the complications that arise. The chemistry between Hawkins and the creature is remarkable, making the romance seem both believable and poignant. The underwater scenes are especially breathtaking, adding another layer of beauty to the film.
The Shape of Water had an approximately $19 million budget, and Doug Jones spent three hours every day getting into the creature costume. He said it was nothing compared to previous outfits he wore in other Guillermo del Toro films. The film has won multiple awards, including Best Picture at the 2018 Academy Awards.
The Shape of Water is a fantastical delight that captures the audience’s attention from beginning to end. Guillermo del Toro has created a unique and compelling love story that is both charming and poignant. The film’s blend of genres and strong performances make it a standout work of art. If you’re looking for a little different and wonderfully weird movie, then The Shape of Water is a must-watch.
9. Lady Bird (2017)
Director: Greta Gerwig
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts
Genre: Comedy, Drama
It’s not important to be right. It’s only important to be true.
Lady Bird is a 2017 coming-of-age drama film directed by Greta Gerwig. The movie has been nominated for five Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay. The film stars Saoirse Ronan as the titular character, a high school senior in Sacramento, California, who is navigating the turbulent waters of adolescence and preparing to leave her hometown for college. One of the film’s central themes is Lady Bird’s tumultuous relationship with her mother, played by Laurie Metcalf.
One thing that sets Lady Bird apart from other coming-of-age movies is its focus on the mother-daughter relationship. Lady Bird and her mother have a complex and often fraught relationship, and the film does an excellent job of exploring the dynamics of this relationship. The film’s portrayal of the mother-daughter bond is heartbreaking and heartwarming, and Gerwig’s script gives both characters plenty of room to grow and evolve.
Lady Bird is a standout coming-of-age movie that is both funny and poignant. Greta Gerwig’s direction and Saoirse Ronan’s performance elevate the film above the typical teen movie fare, and the film’s exploration of the mother-daughter relationship is powerful and relatable.
10. The Post (2017)
Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Sarah Paulson
Genre: Drama, Thriller
…from the majority opinion: ‘In the First Amendment the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors.’
The Post (2017) is a powerful and timely film directed by Steven Spielberg, with an all-star cast including Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks. The movie follows the true story of The Washington Post’s decision to publish the Pentagon Papers. This classified government report revealed the truth about the US involvement in the Vietnam War. The film also highlights the importance of freedom of speech and the role of journalists in uncovering the truth.
The performances in this movie are truly outstanding. Meryl Streep gives an incredible performance as Katharine Graham, the first female publisher of a major American newspaper, who must navigate the political and social pressures of the time. Tom Hanks also shines as Ben Bradlee, the executive editor of The Washington Post. The chemistry between Streep and Hanks is electric, and their scenes together are a joy to watch.
The film is a masterclass in storytelling, as Spielberg expertly weaves together the political and personal struggles of the characters. The tension builds throughout the film as the stakes get higher, and the viewer is left on the edge of their seat as the fate of The Washington Post hangs in the balance.
The Post is not just a historical drama; it is also a reminder of the importance of a free press and the need for journalists to have the freedom to uncover the truth, even when it is inconvenient or uncomfortable for those in power. With brilliant performances from Streep and Hanks and expert direction from Spielberg, this film is a true masterpiece that will leave a lasting impact on the viewer.
11. I, Tonya (2017)
Director: Craig Gillespie
Cast: Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, Allison Janney
Genre: Biography, Comedy, Drama, Sport
I, Tonya is a biographical sports film based on the life of figure skater Tonya Harding, who rose to infamy in the 1990s for her alleged involvement in an attack on her rival Nancy Kerrigan. Directed by Craig Gillespie, the film stars Margot Robbie as Tonya Harding, with Allison Janney as her abusive mother LaVona, and Sebastian Stan as her ex-husband Jeff Gillooly.
The movie’s unconventional storytelling and documentary-style interviews allow the audience to see multiple sides of the story. The film takes us through Tonya’s upbringing and her difficult relationship with her mother, who is depicted as physically and emotionally abusive. The movie also highlights Tonya’s success as a figure skater, despite coming from a working-class background.
The skating scenes in I, Tonya are incredibly well done, with some of the skating sequences performed by Margot Robbie herself. The film accurately portrays the competitive world of ice skating and the pressures that come with it as Tonya battles with the judges’ bias against her and her unconventional style.
I, Tonya is a compelling and entertaining film that sheds light on the tumultuous life of Tonya Harding. It’s a mix of comedy and drama that allows the audience to sympathize with Tonya and understand the circumstances that led to her downfall. Margot Robbie and Allison Janney give outstanding performances that are both funny and heartbreaking. The film’s use of music and pop culture references from the ’80s and ’90s add to its nostalgic charm.
12. No Game No Life: Zero (2017)
Director: Atsuko Ishizuka
Cast: Alexandra Bedford, Jessica Boone, Ricardo Contreras
Genre: Anime, Drama, Romance, Fantasy
No Game No Life: Zero is a prequel movie to the popular anime series No Game No Life. This film explores the creation of the world of games and takes a different tone than the original series. It delves deeper into the lore and history of the world and the characters, making it a must-watch for fans of the series.
The movie will take you on an emotional rollercoaster, making you feel happy, sad, and hopeful. The mature and important message of the film is handled very well, and the characters are insanely creative and weird. The storyline is unique, and it’s just fun to watch. The film successfully balanced being explanatory without losing the context of the world and the characters.
The movie’s pacing is mostly good, with great cinematography and directing. The characters are fun, and the story is engaging. However, some parts of the film feel rushed due to too many time jumps, leading to a rushed romance.
Despite its flaws, No Game No Life: Zero is still an excellent movie that fans of the series will love. The film expands upon the world-building and backstory of the original series while still retaining the same creative and entertaining spirit. The characters are charming and likable, and the plot is engaging and emotional.
13. Phantom Thread (2017)
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Cast: Vicky Krieps, Daniel Day-Lewis, Lesley Manville
Genre: Drama, Romance
Phantom Thread is a mesmerizing film exploring the intricate dynamics of a relationship between a husband and wife. The story is set in the post-war London of the 1950s and revolves around Reynolds Woodcock, a dressmaker who is obsessed with his work, and his muse Alma, who becomes his lover and then his wife. Reynolds is a controlling and demanding husband who wants everything done his way, while Alma is a strong-willed woman who refuses to be just a muse for her husband.
Daniel Day-Lewis gives an outstanding performance as Reynolds Woodcock, the eccentric and perfectionist dressmaker who is haunted by his past. He brings a level of nuance and subtlety to the character, making him both fascinating and repulsive. Vicky Krieps, who plays Alma, is equally impressive, bringing a fierce and independent spirit to the role that makes her a perfect match for Reynolds.
Phantom Thread is also a visual feast, with stunning cinematography and art direction that transports the audience to the glamorous world of high fashion in the 1950s. The costumes, designed by Mark Bridges, are some of the most beautiful and intricate seen on screen in years. They are not just costumes but works of art that play an integral part in the story.
One of the most interesting aspects of Phantom Thread is the way it explores the power dynamic between Reynolds and Alma. At first, it seems like Alma is just another one of Reynolds’ muses, but as the story unfolds, it becomes clear that she is much more than that. She challenges Reynolds in ways that he never expected, and the result is a fascinating and often darkly funny exploration of the complexities of human relationships.
Phantom Thread is a haunting and beautiful film that explores the intricacies of human relationships and the power of obsession. With stunning performances from Daniel Day-Lewis and Vicky Krieps, as well as gorgeous costumes and art direction, it is a film that will captivate and enthrall audiences for years to come.
14. Get Out (2017)
Director: Jordan Peele
Cast: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Get Out is a 2017 horror-thriller film that marks Jordan Peele’s directorial debut. The film revolves around an African-American man who visits his white girlfriend’s family and finds himself in a twisted reality of hypnosis, neurosurgery, and abduction.
The film delivers a profound and thought-provoking commentary on modern racism, cultural appropriation, and the liberal facade. The audience is taken on a journey filled with twists and turns, but the screenplay keeps the viewers engaged and invested in the story.
The film is a masterclass in tension building and suspense, with Peele’s direction being nothing short of exceptional. The music, cinematography, and sound design all contribute to the unsettling and eerie atmosphere the film creates.
Get Out is a brilliant and thought-provoking film that delivers an important message about racism, cultural appropriation, and the liberal facade. Jordan Peele’s directorial debut is a triumph, and the film’s clever screenplay, standout performances, and impressive direction make it a must-watch for any horror or thriller fan.
15. The Disaster Artist (2017)
Director: James Franco
Cast: James Franco, Dave Franco, Ari Graynor
Genre: Biography, Comedy, Drama
The Disaster Artist explores the friendship between Greg Sestero and Tommy Wiseau and their quest to make a movie. The story is based on Sestero’s memoir, which recounts his experiences working with Wiseau on The Room. James Franco plays the eccentric Tommy Wiseau with impressive nuance and authenticity, while his younger brother Dave Franco portrays Sestero. The on-screen chemistry between the two Franco brothers adds a remarkable quality to the film. Their performances were hilarious and moving, providing an insight into the true nature of friendship.
The Disaster Artist manages to be a film within a film, delving into the intricacies of the making of The Room. It is a fascinating look at the creative process behind a notorious cult classic, offering a glimpse into the world of filmmaking, the challenges faced by artists, and the lengths some people will go to make their dreams a reality. The film showcases the behind-the-scenes struggles that were encountered during the production of The Room, highlighting the absurdity and humor of the situation.
The film’s production design and costumes successfully recreate the look and feel of the original film. The attention to detail and the care taken in reproducing certain scenes from The Room is impressive.
The Disaster Artist is a delightful and entertaining film that explores the true meaning of friendship, perseverance, and creative expression. It is an impressive directorial effort from James Franco, who also delivers a brilliant performance as the eccentric Tommy Wiseau. The film manages to be both a tribute to The Room and a fascinating look at the creative process behind filmmaking. The Disaster Artist is an outstanding film that will appeal to a broad audience with its humor, heart, and affection for its subject matter.
16. Baby Driver (2017)
Director: Edgar Wright
Cast: Ansel Elgort, Jon Bernthal, Jon Hamm
Genre: Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller
Baby Driver is an adrenaline-fueled ride with a unique and memorable lead performance from Ansel Elgort. He plays a getaway driver who uses music to block out his tinnitus and drives the crew of bank robbers to safety. The film’s soundtrack is integral to the storytelling, with each scene perfectly synced to the music. The movie features a stellar supporting cast, including Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, and Lily James.
What sets Baby Driver apart from other action films is its heart. The central romance between Baby and Deborah (Lily James) is sweet and charming, and their scenes together provide a welcome respite from the non-stop action. The film also explores Baby’s traumatic past and the toll that a life of crime has taken on him.
The action scenes are expertly choreographed, and the car chases are some of the most exciting and innovative in recent memory. The film’s climax, set to the tune of “Tequila,” is a standout sequence that showcases Edgar Wright’s talent for blending music and visuals in unexpected ways.