With the Oscars drawing 2017 in film to a close in just a few hours, I’ve decided to make a list of my personal favourite films of 2017, along with my final predictions for a very memorable awards season.
10. Beauty and the Beast
Picture credits: Disney
This film was one of the highlights from the earlier half of the year. While it certainly had it’s flaws, as I discussed in an earlier post, it stayed memorable because of it’s enchanting music and visuals, as well as how true it stayed to the original.
Christopher Nolan has a solid track record for delivering grand, epic films, and Dunkirk is no exception. In fact, I’d even call this one of my favourite movies of his yet. The visuals are of course crisp and spectacular, and every action sequence is impeccably crafted. I did feel however, a slight disconnect with the characters, though that seems to be a trend with me and Christopher Nolan films, which is perhaps why this wasn’t as memorable as it should have been. Still, definitely a cinematic achievement in many ways.
8. The Shape of Water
Probably the most memorable romance film of the year, The Shape of Water is definitely not a film to be missed. With a story that feels strange yet familiar at the same time, this film redefines the fairytale genre with a Cinderella who is as complex as she is quietly radiant. The whimsical, dream-like quality of Sally Hawkin’s portrayal of protagonist Elisa certainly elevates the film. The amazing supporting cast and fantastical visuals coupled with the Cold War era plot blend fantasy with a very brutal realism, making this film’s message on oppression especially important in the Trump era.
7. blade runner 2049
A large part of what places this film so highly on my list is the amazing cinematography by Roger Deakins, which gels almost perfectly with Denis Villeneuve’s style of slow-simmering tension with its constant overhang of gloomy and dark lighting. That alone made for an entrancing near 3-hour long experience. It helps that the characters are also highly memorable, especially Joi and Luv. Perhaps the one slightly stale character is the protagonist, K, who does seem like your typical anti-hero in many ways. A nice twist towards the end regarding his true identity does add an immediate complexity to his character though, which I found nice.
6. The Big Sick
The Big Sick is my favourite feel-good movie of the year, which offers a simple yet touching and often hilarious story. I found particularly memorable the portrayal of the two family’s matriarchs, whose love for their children permeate throughout the film despite clear conflict throughout, making this film truly heartwarming. Definitely a very re-watchable movie that’s very deservingly nominated for Best Original Screenplay at this year’s Oscars.
5. Call Me By Your Name
A quaint, beautiful film that makes you daydream about living in the bliss of 1980s Italy, Call Me By Your Name is a coming-of-age film that explores sexuality and love through the often sweet and electric relationship between the film’s two main characters. I’m glad director Luca Guadagnino didn’t make the film overtly explicit, which keeps the undeniable charm of the movie intact. The film is also filled with genuine and heartfelt moments that stay with you long after it’s over, such as the touching monologue by Elio’s father to his son about love, and the ending shot of Elio staring, heartbroken into the fire at the loss of his love. A large part of the film’s emotional punch must of course be attributed to breakout Timothee Chalamet, who navigates Elio’s turbulent thoughts and emotions with such care.
4. Paddington 2
I absolutely adored the first Paddington movie for its quirky British charm, lovable characters and amusing and often hilarious sequences. While sequels don’t exactly have the greatest track record in Hollywood, this one holds its own against the first, with yet again another wacky and interesting villain to boot. With never a dull moment and a fair share of both laughs and tears, this is one movie that anyone can watch and enjoy, and enjoyed it so much I did, which is why it’s my 4th favourite film of the year.
3. Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman is a near perfect superhero film. With a winning, three-dimensional lead who is so much more than the action hero she is, along with actions scenes that left me with chills and goosebumps throughout the film, Wonder Woman is hands down my favourite superhero movie of the year. The scene in the trenches may be the most iconic movie scene in all of 2017, and will surely remain iconic for many years to come. The one reason why this film isn’t any higher is because of the slightly fuzzy last act, where it sort of reverts back to typical superhero fare. Nevertheless, easily one of the must-see cinematic experiences of 2017 for me.
This hasn’t exactly been the strongest year for animated movies (Boss Baby, The Emoji Movie etc), but Pixar is back at the top of their game with their annual offering. For 2017, it was the incredibly moving and visually stunning Coco, which made everyone ugly-cry happy tears with its emotional wallop of a story. I’d been slightly hesitant at first because it reminded me strongly of a previous animated hit, The Book of Life, which I found good but not great. Here however, Pixar created a world I never wanted to leave, and left a strong message about family that I’m sure resonates with just about everyone. The constantly gripping story, along with a gasp-inducing twist towards the end makes this one truly a film to remember.
1. Lady Bird
What makes Lady Bird my favourite film of the year is the incredibly clever screenplay by Greta Gerwig, a highly relatable and moving plot, and a certain untouchable beauty in the relationships portrayed in the film, particularly the mother-daughter one. The relationship between Lady Bird and her mother is the most affecting one I’ve seen in any film this year, because behind their conflictive exterior, it is filled with so much love. The scene where Lady Bird’s mother Marion drives off in her car at the airport was the most powerful and poignant film scene in all of 2017 for me, and truly affected me at a much deeper level than I’d felt from any other film in the year. On the whole, Lady Bird is simple yet indescribably beautiful, and certainly feels like the perfect coming-of-age film (Rotten Tomatoes definitely agrees).
Now that I’ve listed my favourite films of 2017, here are my predictions and picks for some of the bigger categories at the upcoming Oscars.
Predicted Winner: The Shape of Water
Personal Pick: Lady Bird
Predicted Winner: Guillermo Del Toro, The Shape of Water
Personal Pick: Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
Predicted Winner: Gary Oldman, The Darkest Hour
Personal Pick: Timothee Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name
Predicted winner: Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Personal Pick: Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
Best Supporting Actor
Predicted winner: Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri
Personal Pick: Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Best Supporting Actress
Predicted winner: Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Personal Pick: Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Best Original Screenplay
Predicted winner: Get Out
Personal Pick: Lady Bird
Best Adapted Screenplay
Predicted winner: Call Me By Your Name
Personal Pick: Call Me By Your Name
Best Animated Feature
Predicted winner: Coco (obviously)
Personal Pick: Coco (obviously)
3 ‘surprise’ predictions:
Daniel Day-Lewis wins for Actor
Mudbound wins for Adapted Screenplay
Get Out wins Picture
In a perfect world:
Laurie Metcalf wins for Supporting Actress