Best & Worst Movies of 2017 – Part 1: The Best

Another year in the movie books, and of course now is the time to look back over the films we’ve loved and loathed this year. Kicking things off on a nice positive note (and to keep you all waiting for the inevitable rants where my worst list drops!), here’s my top 20 films of the year. 

Disclaimer: I go by UK release dates, so yes there’s some on here that had their American release in 2016, and I’ve chosen to leave off the 2018 releases that I have been fortunate enough to see already at London Film Festival.

20. Wonder Woman

No one is more surprised than me to see a DC film on my best of the year list, and whilst we will undoubtedly cover the shower-of-shit that is Justice League on another list (spoiler alert!), Wonder Woman finds a firm place just at the bottom of my Top 20. It dropped out a couple of times, but after witnessing a superhero film done very, very badly, it led me to reflect on just how many things Wonder Woman got right. Sure it has a generic villain and ends in an unnecessary CGI-fest, but Gal Gadot is just extraordinary as the Amazon warrior and some of the action scenes are totally unforgettable. When the male-gaze of Justice League unfortunately undid some of the great work on this character, it is advisable to head back to Wonder Woman and remember that DC films can be great. Roll on Wonder Woman 2
Read my full review here

19. A Monster Calls
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Having actually seen this at the tail-end of 2016, this film has proved to have remarkable sticking power, and following its DVD release, I continued to think about it and how much it affected me. I absolutely adored the book, and the film manages to be the perfect companion piece to this. It is a devastating and difficult watch, but the earth-shattering emotion and genuinely honest portrayal of grief make this an important and necessary film for anyone who has ever loved and lost. 
Read my full review here

18. Logan
FINALLY an R-rated Wolverine movie, and boy is this film something! Of course the action is as bloody and brutal as expected, but Logan is also contemplative, emotional and deeply affecting. Hugh Jackman excels at playing the world-wearied Logan, and his on-screen relationship with Patrick Stewart’s Professor X is particularly touching. Newcomer Dafne Keen as X-23 is utterly astonishing, giving an incredibly accomplished performance with little to no dialogue. Visually this film is particularly striking as well, the barren landscapes lending themselves particularly well to a superhero movie which is like no other!

Read my full review here.

17. Patriots Day

Retelling true events which are still in recent memory, and being one that is particularly close to my heart, Patriots Day was almost a guaranteed win. Add in to the mix that this is the third collaboration between director Peter Berg and star Mark Wahlberg and it has all the makings for success. Not only is this another winning movie for this duo, but it is easily my favourite of their collaborations, and it makes my top 20 of the year. Despite knowing how it pans out, this film is unrelentingly tense and full of action, whilst also making time for genuine emotion. It never veers too wildly into the cheesy or over-patriotic territory which was wise, and it absolutely holds up to repeated watches. 
Read my full review here.

16. Brigsby Bear
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One of the genuine surprises of the year, this film wasn’t even on my radar until I started to see the early festival buzz. With it playing at the London Film Festival, I jumped at the chance to see it a little early, knowing full well that it would have a very limited release once it did come out. It might’ve been a festival favourite but it is very much a 2017 movie and it easily finds a place on my list. I’ve never been so surprised by a film before and I’m already dying to watch this one again. Funny, quirky, unique, and genuinely heart-warming, Brigsby Bear is a delight. 
Read my full review here.

15. Baby Driver
This film has slipped a couple of places over the course of the year as I struggled to distance it from the comments made by one its stars, Kevin Spacey. It would be unfair to completely write-off this film however and of course being unaware at the time, this film was nothing short of amazing and deserves its place on the list of 2017’s best. With a pounding, constant soundtrack, the marriage of visuals and sound is totally seamless; Baby Driver is a non-stop injection of pure adrenaline and one of the most joyful cinematic experiences all year. 
Read my full review here.

14. Get Out
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Being the total wimp that I am, I was unable to go and see this film at the cinema, but the buzz did not escape me, and in the comfort of my own home, I was finally able to see what all the fuss was about. Granted I don’t have much to compare it to, but Get Out has to be one of the best horrors in recent years; simultaneously a biting social satire, a dark comedy, and a horror. Get Out is the film that can do it all, and there’s hope that it might even pick up some awards, it would certainly be deserving! 

13. The Florida Project
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One of my favourites that I caught at LFF this year, I jumped at the chance to go and see this again on its limited cinema release and I remembered all the reasons why I fell in love with it. With breakout performances from newcomers Brooklyn Kimberley Prince and Bria Vinaite, and a wonderfully honest performance from Willem Dafoe, Florida Project is a charming and unique take on the coming of age genre, never shying away from hardships whilst also encompassing childhood joy. Perfection. 
Read my full review here.

12. Thor: Ragnarok
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For reasons unknown I didn’t put this one in my most anticipated of the year, but once the trailers rolled in, this quickly climbed the ranks. Having been burned by the previous Thor offering, the trailers promised a refreshing change of pace, and enough colours to make the Guardians jealous. In a year which also gave us MCU entries Spider-Man: Homecoming and Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2Ragnarok easily ended up being the best. Taika Waititi brings an abundance of humour which perfectly suits the tone of the character. This film also climbed the ranks of my favourite MCU films and I think the only way is up after a couple more watches.
Read my full review here.

11. Moonlight
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One that now feels so long ago it is hard to believe it was in 2017, Moonlight has proved to have immense staying power, taking home the big prize at the Oscars and continuing to mesmerize outside of the cinema. Moonlight is one of the most quietly beautiful films of the year and it exudes that timeless quality making it an easy film to revisit. 
Read my full review here.

10. Call Me By Your Name
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It is perhaps appropriate (albeit unintentional) that this film follows Moonlight in my list, because the two films could not be further apart in terms of their portrayal of sexuality and coming to terms with what this means and looks like. Whilst Chiron in Moonlight is anguished by his developing feelings and feels constricted by those around him, Elio in Call Me By Your Name has the freedom to explore and experiment. With the backdrop of a sun-drenched Italy, this is perhaps one of the most beautiful films of the year, its slow pacing emulating the lazy summer days vibe. Timothee Chalamet who plays Elio is utterly extraordinary and by the end you’ll be a broken and sobbing mess. Armie Hammer is quite rightly in the conversation also for supporting actor nods, and he is also excellent here, although it is very much Chalamet’s film. Gorgeous, sumptuous, tender, and heart-achingly poignant, Call Me By Your Name is a very special film indeed.
Read my full review here.

9. Blade Runner 2049
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Slotting in just before the film festival madness kicked off for me, I unfortunately didn’t get round to reviewing this film, and this is possibly a blessing in disguise as I am still very much unpacking it, and counting down the days until I can watch it again at home. What I do remember however is that this film is absolutely stunning, thematically rich, and far from ruining or in any way taking away from the original, it in fact manages to be a perfect sequel, matching the tone of the original and elevating the big ideas that it sought to cement. Few sequels will be as accomplished as this one, and it is easily just as good as the original; high praise indeed!

8. Dunkirk
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One of my most anticipated of the year, there was a lot riding on Christopher Nolan’s latest but in the end, it far surpassed all the exceptionally high hopes I had for it. Wondering how Nolan would tackle a war film, it is perhaps a more conventional narrative than some of his other films, but that doesn’t stop him from interweaving three separate timelines, taking place in land, sea, and air. Setting out its parameters at the start, there are times when the action is non-linear, when we see things happen for one set of characters that has yet to happen for another and vice versa, yet somehow it all ties together and makes for one of the most powerful films in recent memory. It is a masterclass in tension and storytelling, and one which has every potential to be considered as my favourite Nolan film once I’ve had some more time to digest it.  
Read my full review here.

7. Paddington 2
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Were it not for my top 5 being pretty much locked in, this little bear could’ve appeared a lot higher on this list, and whilst admittedly some of those spoken about already are objectively better films, I had more fun with this film than most of the others I saw put together. Paddington 2 is the cinematic equivalent of drinking a mug of hot chocolate, whilst curled up in your favourite armchair with your cosiest slippers on. It is just so bloody lovely and anyone who disagrees probably doesn’t have a soul. 
Read my full review here.

6. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
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I won’t be getting into the variable response to this film, and I think I’ve raved about it enough already, but for me, The Last Jedi is one of the year’s best. Director Rian Johnson takes the series in brave and exciting new directions, and this is perhaps one of the only Star Wars movies that has truly kept me guessing from start to finish. Johnson also opens up the galaxy to unparalleled opportunities and how this particularly trilogy will end is still anyone’s guess. Whilst not perfect, The Last Jedi is utterly stunning to look at, and manages to encompass both elements of the original trilogy, and be something completely different. You’ll hear many opinions, but I loved it! 
Read my full review here.

5. A Ghost Story
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It shows the staying power of a film if I am still thinking about it 4 months later, and having only seen it the once in the cinema. The imagery and poignancy of this film stuck with me for such a long time afterwards and I struggled to shake the overwhelming sense of sadness that this film portrayed. Taking an unexpected, melancholic, and exceptionally beautiful look at grief and mourning, A Ghost Story is a small film with huge, world-altering ideas. You won’t even know how much it has affected you until it is all over, and it’ll make you feel things you never knew you had in you. Simply amazing. 
Read my full review here.

4. The Handmaiden
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Having missed it at BFI’s Flare festival, and again when it was showing at the Prince Charles Cinema, I finally managed to see this film in May and straightaway it found a place in my top films of the year. I feel like this one wasn’t seen by many, perhaps put off by the long run time, but The Handmaiden is just an exquisite piece of film making. Full of twists and turns, double crossing and deceit, this film changes its mind at every turn yet it always feels coherent. It is so precise and beautiful in its execution, intimately shot and with palpabale and believable chemistry. This isn’t one to watch with your Nan, but it is an extraordinary film that is well worth the considerable time you’ll spend watching it. 
Read my full review here.

3. La La Land

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What is left to say about this film that hasn’t been said already? Anyone who has had a conversation with me this year knows how much I loved this film, and whilst it lost out on the big prize at the Oscars (less said about that the better!), it still received much praise…and a fair amount of hate as well which always seems to be the case whenever anything is popular! From the gorgeous cinematography, to the effortless direction, the chemistry of the leads, and the iconic songs, La La Land can easily stand alongside some of the musical movie greats, simultaneously being current and classic. It is a perfect film and one I will never get bored of watching. 
Read my full review(s) here and here

2. The Red Turtle
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I’m a huge fan of anything Studio Ghibli, but even I went into this one a little sceptical. The animation style was very different and it marked the first film from the hallowed studio not to be directed by a Japanese director. In the capable hands of veteran short film director Michael Dudok de Wit, The Red Turtle proved to be a magical and captivating experience, easily able to stand with the Ghibli greats. It is on the hand a beautifully simple story, and on the other hand a complicated allegory of life, death, and everything inbetween. The Red Turtle is the film gift that keeps on giving and in many ways it is inseparable from my #1 slot and so close are they that if you ask me again in half an hour, my order may change again!

Read my full review here.

1. The Disaster Artist
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Of course it is! My #1 film of the year is The Disaster Artist, a film I still can’t believe exists because it feels like all my dreams have come true. As a huge fan of “disasterpiece” The Room, and having obsessed over the book (of the same name) on which The Disaster Artist is based, this only didn’t feature on my most anticipated list last year because I think I was still in denial that it was even happening. What was once “my thing” in the dark corners of the internet (I actually watched The Room for the first time in 2009, not 2015 as my blog post erroneously states), was now the subject for a major movie and one which to my delight was already getting some awards buzz. I had what was undoubtedly my favourite cinema experience of the year watching The Disaster Artist, in my second home and home of The Room, the Prince Charles Cinema in London’s Leicester Square. I was in “my seat”, the one I always sit in to watch The Room and the audience was lively and packed full of people who loved it just as much as I did. After a second (more restrained) watch, I started to appreciate this film as a whole. From the staggering performance by James Franco, to the painstaking recreation of classic scenes from The Room, this film was everything I wanted and more. Easily the funniest film of the year, and with so much more depth than I had expected from it. Time will tell whether this does win any big awards, but you heard it hear first, Franco will get an Oscar nomination for this. In a roundabout way, Tommy Wiseau is getting awards attention. What a world we live in! 
Read my full review(s) here and here



3 thoughts on “Best & Worst Movies of 2017 – Part 1: The Best

Add yours

  1. That’s an amazing list! I love love loved La La Land, Thor: Ragnarok, Moonlight and Wonder Woman so much, I can’t even ❤ ❤ I've to watch The Disaster Artist so bad but ugh, I hope it'll be possible soon!

    Liked by 1 person

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