Yep, 2017, not 2018
Like I did last year, when I made a list for my favorite films of 2016 instead of 2017, this year I’ve compiled a list for 2017 instead of 2018. I do this because there are still plenty of films for me to check out that have come out in 2018. Last year I’d only seen about 40 films of 2017 around this time, while now I’ve seen about 100. There are still plenty of films for me to see, though I feel like there’s a very small chance that my top 5 will change.
It can be hard to figure out in what year a film’s technically been released. Some premiered at festivals in 2016, but only got their wide release in 2017, and some have been screened at festivals in 2017, though have been released in 2018 for the rest of the world. Because of this inconvenience, I’ve decided that either the film must’ve had at least a limited release in the USA before the end of 2017 to earn a spot on this list, or if it’s a foreign film, it is the release date it had in the country of origin that counts.
A Few Indies and Foreign Films That You Might’ve Missed
There are always a ton of films that go under the radar for a lot of people. That’s why I’ve decided to include this segment, where I recommend some films that you might not have heard of. Here I’ll list the films that have less than 10 000 votes on IMDb and the foreign ones that didn’t make my list but are worth checking out. If I see another smaller film that I think is worth your time, I’ll update this list.
- Bad Genius
An incredibly fun Thai film about a group of teenagers trying to cheat their way into the San Francisco University that’s both more enthralling and tense than it sounds.
- The Desert Bride
It’s far from perfect, though still an endearing story about kind people being kind to each other, and who doesn’t want to watch that?
- Sweet Virginia
Jon Bernthal is a badass, Christopher Abbott is an asshole, it’s suspenseful and enjoyable, is there anything else you need to know?
- Our Souls at Night
It’s a very sweet and heartwarming story that’s certainly not one to miss, featuring two lovely performances from Robert Redford and Jane Fonda, who both have incredible chemistry.
- The Square
Even though this one has most definitely already gotten all the attention it deserved, it’s still one of my favorite films of last year, mostly because of some gorgeous cinematography and hilarious satire.
With some fantastic writing and two wonderful performances, Una makes for an excellent film, that mostly lacks in its sound design and editing.
What baffles me the most is that Belgium sent in Le Fidèle for the Oscars, which was ok at best, instead of this one, which shows us a realistic depiction of the life of troubled teenagers brought via Fien Troch’s documentary-esque approach.
- The Hero
While it’s got its fair share of clichés and one bad performance, The Hero is still worth a watch because of some decent cinematography, Sam Elliot’s fantastic performance and the chemistry he has with the rest of the cast.
It’s the themes that Sylvio deals with about success, the road to it, the problems it brings, how it affects friendships and your own mental state, and it’s how the film presents these themes that is its best aspect, together with an extremely fleshed out character for an anthropomorphic gorilla which you’ll start to care for as the film progresses and as life continuously keeps on punching him in the face.
- Winter Brothers
It is a very unique, Danish film that uses its uneven tone and contrasting elements brilliantly to portray the world as the protagonist sees it. The film really feels like a timeless piece of art, and it’s one that’s certainly not to miss.
- Princess Cyd
What’s remarkable about this film is the cinematography, the layered characters, and how it handles homosexuality, which is comparable to how Call Me By Your Name did it. It’s a nice film that’ll leave you with a good feeling at the end, and come on, who doesn’t want that?
My Top Five and Some Honorable Mentions
Before we get to my top five favorite films of 2017, let me mention some other films that I really liked in no particular order. As with the independent and foreign films, if I watch a film that I really like, I’ll come back and add it to the list.
Ingrid Goes West
It Comes At Night
The Disaster Artist
The Florida Project
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
The Shape of Water
Blade Runner 2049
The Meyerowitz Stories
The Death of Stalin
Super Dark Times
Before I Fall
Better Watch Out
And now, finally, my top 5 favorite films of 2017.
I do not understand how The Killing of a Sacred Deer didn’t get any Oscar nominations. Yorgos Lanthimos should’ve at least been nominated for best director, for being able to create such an unsettling, disturbing, yet intriguing and hilarious, atmosphere. It’s truly one of the most fucked up hilarious pieces of film that I have seen that also simultaneously got under my skin and put me at the edge of my seat. Yorgos produced a technical marvel, though he wasn’t the only one deserving of an Acadamy Award nomination. Colin Farrell deserved one for best leading actor and Nicole Kidman one for best actress. However, the best actor in The Killing of a Sacred Deer most certainly is the young Barry Keoghan, who gave a creepy performance that scared the living shit out of me, as he delivered his absurd lines in a deadpan manner with an underlying sense of craziness. He’s also proven that he isn’t just a one-hit wonder with his performance in 2018’s American Animals.
I love practically everything Taylor Sheridan makes. Coincidentally Wind River takes up the same spot that Hell or High Water did last year, another film by Sheridan. Wind River is an absolutely masterfully crafted film, filled to the brim with brilliant scenes, rich characters, and powerful performances. The film is very grounded in its approach, which gives the dark story more weight. It’s an emotionally heavy film, but a very relevant one, as it deals with rape, among others, and it handles these darker themes with absolute care to portray them in a realistic manner. Because of the emotional impact it had on me, I really think that this film deserves a spot on my list.
Call Me By Your Name is a film that really subverted my expectations on practically all levels. It’s far from your average “gay”-flick since in this film, homosexuality isn’t the main focus of the film and it doesn’t portray it in a cliché way, but rather in a realistic one. It’s the relationship between Elio and Oliver that’s at the core of it all; sure they are two dudes, but it doesn’t matter. It’s about the romance between two people, it’s about two people falling in love, and it’s incredibly beautiful. Luca Guadagnino managed to capture that summer feeling wonderfully with gorgeous cinematography that often depicted detailed and colorful sets. His directing style felt very minimal, though this made it more effective. The writing was brilliant as well, creating these two fantastic characters that felt like two real people, though this feeling was also enforced by the two lead performances and the chemistry the actors had. Additionally, the score is also something that may not go unnoticed. Sufjan Stevens’ music suits the film perfectly, and ever since I have seen the film, I have not stopped listening to Sufjan’s music.
It’s one of those films that managed to touch me on an emotional level very few achieve to do. Saoirse Ronan is fantastic as the titular character, Greta Gerwig’s writing was phenomenal as she created a whole bunch of unique fully rounded characters in which everyone is able to recognize a piece of themselves. Gerwig’s directing wasn’t anything special, though it didn’t need to be. It would’ve taken the attention away from the wonderful dialogue and character interactions taking place. It’s one that lays close to my heart so definitely check it out if you somehow still have to.
I mean, I did my 5000-word philosophy thesis about this, were you expecting anything else? It’s a deeply profound film that touches on a lot of themes about death, the afterlife, our existence, and time, among others. The soundtrack is hauntingly beautiful, and one that I return to quite often. The song I Get Overwhelmed is one of the best pieces of music written for a film and it’s coincidentally also featured in one of my favorite scenes of the film. The cinematography is gorgeous, the directing daring, the editing slow, yet meaningful… It’s an all-around amazing film and one that’s on my mind at least once a day. If you’ve not yet seen it, please do, because it’s an experience that you do not want to miss.
And those were my favorite films of 2017, what were yours? Let me now! If you want to know my opinion on a certain film not mentioned in this post, just ask me about it in the comments and there’s a small chance I’ve seen it. I hope I was able to give you a few film recommendations!