The new year means it’s time to compile (in no particular order) 2017’s best films. From the apocalyptic to the intimate, these 10 movies offered a variety of cinema experiences.
Martin McDonagh’s Moving New Comedy
The Shape of Water
Guillermo del Toro, the visionary mastermind behind Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy, returns with his most luminous and openly emotional work yet. Sally Hawkins is brilliant as a mute cleaning woman at a 1960s government laboratory whose life is transformed when she falls in love with the lab’s unusual test subject.
Working from Brian Selznick’s beloved novel, filmmaker Todd Haynes has crafted an enchanted tale of two deaf children, one in the 1920s, the other in the 70s, whose lives are mysteriously and magically interconnected.
A Quiet Passion
Anchored by a stunning performance from Cynthia Nixon, Terence Davies’ searing drama about legendary poet Emily Dickinson captures a passionate inner fire that burned wildly in opposition to the limits that 19th-century society, and her own family, attempted to impose upon her.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Playwright/filmmaker Martin McDonagh turns his unique blend of scabrous wit and human empathy on small-town America in this darkly funny tale of a mother (an amazing performance by Frances McDormand) whose willingness to do anything to get justice for her murdered daughter unleashes comic chaos on a sleepy Southern town.
With typical chutzpah, filmmaker Darren Aronofsky packs the entire history of human civilization into this mad biblical allegory about a poet (God) and his wife (Mother Nature) caught in an endless cycle of mutually assured destruction.
Cinematic provocateur Ruben Östlund follows up his acclaimed Force Majeure with this wildly extravagant satire about a museum director whose impulsive decision to take drastic action to recover his stolen phone triggers a cascading series of crazy events that playfully reveal the contradictions of modern liberal European society.
Call Me By Your Name
Working from a script by James Ivory (A Room With a View, Howards End), filmmaker Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love, A Bigger Splash) brings his formidable visual style to the story of an Italian teenage boy in the 1980s who experiences a life-changing sexual and emotional awakening when he falls in love with a brash American scholar.
Fantastic performances by Tracy Letts and Debra Winger highlight this surprising comedy about a longtime married couple, both about to run off with other people, whose plans go astray when they suddenly fall back into desire with each other.
The Florida Project
Sean Baker’s impressionistic portrait of a young mother and her daughter trying to survive on the fringes of Disney World is one of those rare works that manages to capture the extremes of life, from delirious joy to heartbreaking catastrophe.
This dazzling adaptation of Deborah Ellis’ best-selling novel tells the story of a young Afghan girl whose decision to cut her hair and pretend to be a boy during the Taliban’s reign propels her on an extraordinary adventure.