Now the year has officially finished I can fill out my end of year list. With more films watched this year than I have ever done (probably! Seeing as this is only the second time that I have counted but it definitely seemed like I watched more than ever before!) I have managed to see some fantastic films throughout the year.
Some notable mentions about films that have been well received but I haven’t managed to see during this year include: Call Me By Your Name, God’s Own Country, Loving Vincent, Detroit, Lady MacBeth. I shall be endeavouring to put these right as soon as I can in 2018, time permitting.
And then there are some films that haven’t made this shortlist but that were still held in high regard (by me at least), just not quite high enough to break into this final list:
mother! – Still not sure whether this is amazing or just divisive.
Personal Shopper – A fantastically minimal film, showcasing what Kristen Stewart can do when given the chance. Changed my opinion of her completely.
The Bad Batch – Ana Lily Amirpour returned and in some style too.
And so on to the list, numbers 20-11
20. Wind River
19. Free Fire
12. Get Out
11. A Ghost Story
Phew, and with those out of the way we are now onto the big guns, the ones that have hit the hardest, blown senses the most and wrung maximum emotion out of me over the last 12 months……..
This is actually one that I saw in 2016 at the Cambridge Film Festival but couldn’t include it in last years list as it didn’t get a general release until early in 2017 but it has stuck with me ever since. Some really great performances, especially from Affleck and newcomer Lucas Hedges help elevate it above the norm but also a superb script and direction from Kenneth Lonergan. I’ve not managed to rewatch this film and it is for good reason. The gut-punch in the middle of this film hit me so hard at the time and then the end scene with Michelle Williams and Casey Affleck was just heart-rending.
Bringing it up a few notches, OK a load of notches, we get the return of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Bright, brash, enthralling and highly entertaining, this sequel to one of my favourite films of all time managed to take the original premise and run with it in the right direction. A breath of fresh air in the crowded superhero space. A-holes!
8. La La Land
Another early 2017 film that has managed to stay within my top 10 for pretty much the whole year. Having loved Whiplash, Damien Chazelle took the intensity way down but the music way up. Glorious music, bubblegum scenery, ok dancing but with no shortage of emotion. It hasn’t helped that I’ve had the happy-go-lucky opening refrain in my head for the last week or so!
A huge undertaking to try to follow one of the greatest sci-fi films with a very belated sequel. Denis Villeneuve has been on my radar for a while now and he hasn’t let me down yet. Add to that Roger Deakins’ faultless visuals and amazing worldview, some decent acting (with Harrison Ford’s best effort in recent years) and it is a visual, visceral treat.
6. Baby Driver
A hyper-kinetic sonic blast of a film. Had me tapping my feet and bobbing my head along with the soundtrack and was totally engaged with the characters. Really impressive film-making from Edgar Wright.
A very welcome shot in the arm for this Marvel franchise (and my favourite character). Taika Waititi’s direction and choices are superb throughout, as are the performances from his cast. Can’t wait to see this one again.
Raw is so out there in relation to the rest of the films in this list. Julia Ducournau’s impressively directed coming of age film which does so well to tie in themes of burgeoning sexuality, freedom, choice and carnality blew me away. Hugely impressive performances from the main young leads Garance Marillier, Ella Rumpf and Rabah Naït Oufella help to make this film something special.
The most amazing experience I had in a cinema this year. I have not been put on edge by a film as much as this one, particularly the audio which was awesome (in the original sense of the word). Nolan’s attention to detail and control over his audience is astounding.
Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous film! Impeccably acted and wonderful storytelling transposing Sarah Waters’ Fingersmith to Japanese-occupied Korea. Park-Chan Wook can turn his hand to almost anything and I’d watch it, but The Handmaiden really does show off his ability perfectly.
Nothing has come close, for me, to the emotion of this film. Having seen it what seems like an age ago, it has stayed with me and remained top of this list since. Top notch acting from all involved, a fantastic script and glorious cinematography give this everything it needs to end up at Number 1. Subsequent rewatches have just confirmed to me how good this film is.
Thanks for watching. Let me know what your favourite films were from 2017 (or provide a link and I’ll check them out!).
Onwards and upwards, 2018 you’ve got your work cut out!