Best of 2017

The 25 Best Films of 2017

Don’t trust anyone who likes to end the given year by saying “it was a bad year for movies”. They’re both wrong (obviously) and also, clearly, haven’t seen enough. The riches are there and sometimes you just have to look for them. What 2017 had going for it is that it offered up substantial stories in both it’s independent efforts while also being a banner year for blockbuster spectacle. What’s so delightful about our list this year is how clearly and amalgamation and expression of the year we had. Escapism reigned supreme in many areas, but so did films that asked us to turn inwards, introspective films that asked the hard questions for the right reasons. There’s a lot to love here (and also a lot we loved that couldn’t make the list). At the very least this list should help offer some suggestions to help get you through the last two days of the hellscape of a year we’ve all endured (be proud, we made it). What made your list?

25. Colossal

Colossal shouldn’t work. On paper, its basic premise of melding a Sundance-style coming home dramedy with an over-the-top kaiju film doesn’t seem like it would ever make it to production. In fact, it seems like one of the asinine pitches you would hear at the studio in The Player. It’s expected that this inner-monster allegory about substance abuse would be obvious and hokey. Fortunately, all of the pieces fall into place just so, striking a tonal balance that creates one of the most interesting films about the consequences of addiction in recent memory. If you’re willing to give into the film’s batty premise, Colossal is an absolute blast. It is a brilliant dark comedy that manages to be insightful and surprisingly funny for a movie that speculates about such affecting subject matter. The film is unlike anything else 2017 has to offer, and it continuously allows both Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis to play against type and flex muscles we didn’t even know they had. It’s rare that a movie is able to tick off this many boxes without having them negate one another. [Brian Thompson]

24. Raw

Julia Ducournau’s debut feature is a strikingly assured horror film that deserves to be recognized as more than “2017’s fucked-up French cannibal movie.”  As a torture-porn averse filmgoer, I had no plans to even watch this film until I happened upon this interview with Ducournau in The Independent. In it, the first-time director reacts to the publicity surrounding Raw: “They said it was a shocker, or torture porn but it’s not even in the same family of cinema. I started reading headlines that made no sense. Headlines reading ‘waves of people fainting in theatres’. I’m sorry, I think it’s bullshit. It’s a shame because some people might be scared to see the movie, when they could have handled it well. And some people who are actually expecting torture porn are going to be disappointed.” Ducournau’s astute horror philosophy and general disposition pushed me to brave the Raw viewing experience, and boy was I glad that I took that chance. Because it turned out to be the furthest thing from torture porn: brilliant horror cinema from an out-of-the-gate auteur. While the film unquestionably features several seriously disturbing images, its purpose lies not in provocation but in a complex exploration of young female sexuality and independence. Raw is a misleadingly smart piece of genre work whose inevitable cult status is incredibly well-deserved. [Eli Fine]

 

23. I, Tonya

Who could’ve expected such a ferocious film from the director of Lars and the Real GirlI, Tonya is an absolute firecracker of a movie, viscerally bringing us into the abuse-ridden life of figure skating’s greatest super villain. While it walks a precarious line of sometimes playing the physical abuse leveled at Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie) by her mother (Allison Janney) and husband (Sebastian Stan) for comedic effect, its sharp writing constantly reminds us just how horrific it was to live within her own circle of hell. Robbie, Janney, and Stan all deliver the performances of their careers here. Completely disappearing into their characters, they strike the perfect balance between exaggeration and authenticity. There are so many moments in this movie that should be completely miscalculated and, like a skating trick gone wrong, send the film falling to its knees with broken bones. However, helmer Craig Gillespie creates a beautiful comedic/dramatic alchemy here based around the most scummy parts of human nature. In some ways, his extended performance driven sequences feel like the best work of David O Russell, but with a more self-reflexive tone. It’s an absolute gem that will hopefully be discovered more as awards season heats up. [Michael Fairbanks]

 

22. mother!

In a year dominated by controversial indie smash hits like Get Out and ground-breaking tentpole blockbusters like Wonder Woman and The Last Jedi, no one film inspired as much ire, confusion, and anger as Darren Aronofsky’s mother! There was no middle ground: you either loved it or you HATED it. The one thing you couldn’t feel was indifference. Borrowing equally from Judeo-Christian theology and modern-day feminist anxieties, mother! tells the story of a solitary couple (Javier Bardem, Jennifer Lawrence) living in an isolated cabin in the woods who receive a number of odd, increasingly violent visitors. Many decried the film’s graphic destruction of Lawrence’s character as misogynistic torture porn. Even more dismissed Aronofsky’s unwillingness to explain his dense allegorical narrative as sneering pretentiousness. (What WAS that yellow powder, anyway?) Perhaps they’re right. But the true strength of mother! is its urgent need to be decoded, and as such it opens itself to endlessly contradictory interpretations. But if one can detach oneself from the need to understand it, the film reveals itself to be a masterclass of cinematic technique. Only Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk rivals it for its meticulously constructed plotting, kinetic chaos, and stomach-churning tension. A symphony of shock and awe, mother! may have single-handedly revived the Hollywood art film. [Nathanael Hood]

21. Brigsby Bear

One of the most criminally underrated films of 2017, Brigsby Bear premiered to audiences during the 2017 Sundance Film Festival this past January where Sony Classics acquired the distribution rights. Offbeat and heartfelt, the film is directed by Dave McCarthy who offers Mark Hamill a role suitable for his considerable talents prior to his re-introduction as Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.  The cast is an embarrassment of riches which, along with Hamill, includes Kyle Mooney, Beck Bennett, Claire Danes,Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Greg Kinnear, Kate Lyn Sheil, Ryan Simpkins, Matt Walsh and Michaela Watkins, making it one of the most interesting ensembles of 2017. Hamill delivered one of his finest supporting performances of the year aside from a role in the lesser known Star Wars: The Last Jedi.While it’s easy to say that Brigsby Bear is the feature film equivalent of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, this film is so much more than that.  Mooney’s James is stolen at the hospital shortly after his birth by Ted (Hamill) and April (Jane Adams). Ted creates Brigsby Bear as a way of schooling for James given the amount of mathematics and other teaching lessons involved. Full of heart, Brigsby Bear is one of the best comedies of 2017. [Danielle Solzman]

 

20. It Comes At Night

As with so many plague and zombie films beforehand,  It Comes at Night emphasizes that the true terror of an apocalypse can ultimately be humanity itself. Thanks to a desire for self-preservation, all of the characters involved in the story make sound decisions that continuously escalates the everbearing sense of tension. The lack of exposition given behind the events preceding the outbreak (or the “virus” in general) immediately creates a backdrop for the unexpected. Much of what is given is purely metaphorical but any additional information may remove what makes the movie so effective. Lead by the always reliable Joel Edgerton, It Comes at Night succeeds where The Walking Dead has all too often stumbled by showing that the end of the world may not be as black and white as we think. [Matthew Goudreau]

19. Columbus

Columbus is the antithesis of the modern blockbuster. Languid where bigger movies are fast-paced, full of long pauses where other films might fill up the silence with jokes and quips, Columbus demands your attention from each and every perfectly-composed frame. The nominal story of the relationship that arises between Jin (John Cho) and Casey (Haley Lu Richardson) as they explore the Modernist beauty of Columbus, Indiana, Columbus is about the way a place can affect an mind that appreciates architecture and its history, and what kinds of emotions and memories and thoughts can fill those spaces. The long, meditative silences in Columbus are as initially as forbidding as the stark lines and empty windows of the Saarinen and Pei buildings that populate landscape of the film. But after all, the bigger the windows in a room, the more the light gets in. (To paraphrase Leonard Cohen) [Deborah Krieger]

18. Okja

Plenty of films have tried to get me to rethink my eating habits, but Okja is one of the very few to have actually done it. Writer-director Joon-ho Bong has a history of taking deceptively simple topics and digging deeper to bring us stories as humorous as they are insightful. Okja could’ve been a very simple tale about a girl trying to save her super-pig from the corporation who created her, with some help from some animal rights activists. Okay, maybe not so simple, since Joon-ho Bong also manages to make familiar stories new again, and do it with truly spectacular characters. Okja boasts the likes of Tilda Swinton as an evil CEO, Jake Gyllenhaal as a corporate stooge, and Paul Dano and Lily Collins as activists. Then there’s the super-pig Okja herself, one of the most lovable creations CGI has ever brought us, with enough action to make Okja entertaining rather than preachy. Bong also never lets us forget the movie’s inherent darkness. Some characters may get their happy ending, but it’s soon clear that not everyone will. Yes, the feels are strong with this one. [Andrea Thompson]

17. Thor: Ragnarok

When we had three Marvel films slated for 2017, I knew that Thor: Ragnarok would be my favorite as the year approached simply by knowing who the director would be: Flight of the Conchords’ mastermind, Taika Waititi. With his brilliant sense of humor paired with with writers who penned the previous two Thor films, ‘Ragnarok’ takes the absurdity of the lore of Asgard by flipping the film’s tone, and basking in it’s oddities instead of playing for drama (clearly an effort that fell flat in 2013’s Thor the Dark World). The resulting film has a tone and vibrance that is memorable and exhilarating with some of the best staged action sequences in an MCU movie to date, I’d argue, and utilizing the absurdly evil Hela in a way that makes a yet another boring Marvel villain at least entertaining. This more Guardians-esque tone also provides true opportunities for Hemsworth’s Thor and Ruffalo’s Hulk to convey personalities and charm apart from what we’ve seen in the past which boiled down to “I’m a god with a cape” and “I’m a green god with more muscle than that other guy.” I hear a lot of Marvel fans are feeling a bit down on this movie, but I take 2017’s humor filled MCU films as a reprieve from what’s to come, especially if Civil War’s dramatic tension is to be exponentially increased by the time May rolls around the corner. [Evan Griffin]

 

16. Coco

There are so many things that tie human beings together such as family, music and the fear of being forgotten and Pixar knows how to pick at these notations and make a good story out of it. The storytellers over at Pixar know how to pull at the viewer’s heartstrings, even at the very beginning of their any of their films. However, their new film, Coco, was truly unlike any of their past films.The film highlights such a beautiful and important aspect of the Mexican culture, which is the Day of the Dead. The way that Pixar presented the Day of the Dead and what they think the realm of the afterlife looks like was just so visually stunning and jaw-droppingly beautiful. Also, with the talk of diversity and inclusion at an all-time high, Coco definitely showed to a global audience how beautiful, enriching and vibrant the Mexican culture is. This animated film had so much elegance, heart, and soul that you couldn’t help but cry in the end.  As a die-hard Pixar fan, Coco was truly the breath of fresh air that animation needed. [Camille Espiritu]

 

15. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

“This isn’t going to go the way you think,” Luke Skywalker implores upon Rey on Ach-to. There hasn’t been a more accurate statement to describe Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, the second installment of the new “Star Wars” trilogy. While its predecessor, The Force Awakens, relied heavily on nostalgia, The Last Jedi paved a new frontier for future films. It’s a think piece in blockbuster form, using failure as a dominant theme in the film. The Last Jedi takes a lot of unexpected turns, killing off significant characters as if they were cheap background extras and allowing many of our heroes to make egregious mistakes. Many fans were very unhappy with the choices that Rian Johnson made we believe he gave the franchise the breath of fresh air it desperately needed.Instead of making it primarily about the action and lightsabers, Johnson creates a character-driven spectacle. Everyone has a task they must overcome, and most (if not all) fail in the process. It’s no surprise why this film is so divisive. It’s uncomfortable and gives us real stakes to invest in. And those stakes lead to iconic moments such as the battle in the throne room or Holdo’s moment of heroism in hyperspace . The Last Jedi shows what happens when an artist is given room to work his magic instead of falling victim to studio interference with a prime example of what blockbuster filmmaking can become. [Yasmin Kleinbart]

14. The Big Sick

While primarily a love story, The Big Sick manages to play with a number of different themes. One the strongest is the immigrant experience, particularly how second generation immigrants can be caught between two vastly different worlds. Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon do an amazing job in portraying both the great love and great tension in Kumail’s relationship with his parents. In less adept hands, their point of view would be ignored and painted as dated backwards thinking but in The Big Sick it’s clear that Kumail’s parents want they believe is best for him and are desperate for him to accept at least one of the traditions that is very important to them.The tension comes to a head in one of the most powerful scenes I experienced this year. Confronted by his parents while in a particularly emotional time, Kumail lashes out and lists all the secrets he’s kept from his parents. In his final attempt to get his parents to understand him he asks them “Why did you bring me here if you wanted me not to have an American life?” It’s a line that has stayed with me since watching the movie and one that I’m sure will resonate with many people across the country. The Big Sick shows how the best way to bridge cultural and generational divides is through empathy and understanding, something that we should extend to both strangers as well as the people we think we know best. [Jose Cordova]

 

13. Good Time

Good Time isn’t just grungy white-knuckle crime fiction. The Safdie brothers gather the greatest concerns of contemporary America and plots them into his bizarre 99-minute Manhattan odyssey about a sly but immoral conman, his mentally ill brother and a failed bank heist which send the two of them on a nose-dive. The Safdie’s New York is a nocturnal hub for the disaffected 99%. For the bleach blonde, morally bankrupt Connie Nikas (a career-best for Robert Pattinson) the growing divisions between race and sex, and expanding wealth inequality in the country become excuse enough to deceive and con his way out of bad situation. Of course, the greatest con here is Connie himself, who convinces himself he somehow exists above the disorder.

Although the Safdie’s film is rife with toxic relationships, Good Time posits something genuinely optimistic in its depressing state of things. Charting Connie’s desperate trek through New York City, from lower SoHo to the Upper East side, we’re reminded through his encounters with similarly lonely, pitiable souls how cooperation, communion and companionship become the only viable avenues for survival in the cruel, devastated inner-city. [Gary Shannon]

 

12. Mudbound

Criminally overlooked in many award nomination lists and on several critics’ best movies of the year lists, Mudbound is a visual and storytelling masterpiece. Director and co-writer Dee Rees is able to balance two seemingly separate stories before intertwining them masterfully. While other films attempt to broach the subject of race and racial politics within the climate of the United States, Rees is able to do it far better than others. Mudbound provides very distinct points of view without losing the film’s core; there’s also no sugar-coating of racism to make certain audiences comfortable. The film centers on two families who are tied together by land, but separated by the idea and practice that black lives are lesser than white ones and the societal consequences, like the inability for black farmers to own land, that spiral from this hateful notion. Mudbound is able to capture the complicated nature of the film’s events by centering the layered friendship between Ronsel Jackson (Jason Mitchell) and Jamie McAllan (Garrett Hedlund). Rees is a talented director and her choices in the film, focused more on characters than on plot, provide a window into the characters’ lives that’s so full of depth it’s captivating as much as it is intense. Mitchell and Hedlund shine in their respective roles, providing the film with pathos, while the remaining cast–which includes Mary J. Blige, Hap Morgan, Jason Clarke, and Michelle Williams–all do an outstanding job in supporting roles. Besides being strong in storytelling, Mudbound is also visually beautiful. It’s a powerful film with powerful moments and should be seen by all. [Mae Abdulbaki]

 

11. Baby Driver

Edgar Wright’s heist musical Baby Driver is a work of pure cinematic artistry, down to every precisely choreographed frame and stunt set to the year’s best soundtrack, to top things off. It tells the story of an introverted getaway driver named Baby (played by Ansel Elgort), who cruises Atlanta to the literal beat of his favorite tunes, a form of “synced” escapism from his reluctant participation in an increasingly dangerous criminal underground occupied by often subtle and unforgettable characters. In one beat, Baby Driver is fast, smooth, and articulate, the equivalent of a spectacle-driven page-turner. In the next, it’s a slow romantic burn owned by the wide-eyed Deborah (played by Lily James), the equivalent of a B-side you can’t get out of your head. It’s not enough to say that Baby Driver is superbly edited, shot, and guided by Wright’s distinct, effortless vision. It’s really a love letter to music from the likes of a visual auteur, complete with a stunning breakdown of what’s actually possible when you go full-throttle on sight and sound. [Jon Negroni]

 

10. Wonder Woman

The superhero cinema took a big leap this year thanks to the premiere of several productions that have dazzled critics and audiences. One of those great productions was the (long-awaited) premiere of Wonder Woman, starring Gal Gadot and directed by Patty Jenkins. It’s one of the best films of 2017 for a simple reason: it has enough values, both plot and aesthetic, to be one of the most attractive proposals of contemporary superhero cinema. Wonder Woman manages to put aside the usual superhero elements and focuses on a double story of equal success: adventures in a war context between Gods and a romantic side story with a good handful of comic relief moments, all of them which help the characters of Diana Prince and Steve Trevor grow and possess a perfectly functional dramatic relationship.The narrative of the film works almost perfectly: a classic adventure with a pretty endearing group of warriors, leaving Gal Gadot a lot of space to shine with her own light, making her the absolute owner of the story. [Cristina Moreano]

9. Dunkirk

War films can be an emotional and sometimes unsettling experience for audience members. They can be violent, shocking, and painfully emotional. For a long time, there has been few war films with no bloodshed that still packs the same punch as Saving Private Ryan. The magnificent Christopher Nolan accomplishes just that. Dunkirk is the breathtaking story of the strategic rescue of numerous Allied troops from the beaches of Dunkirk after Germany invaded and cornered them. Of all the World War II films I’ve seen, this has to be the most unique. You are introduced to different groups of people throughout the film and you are led to believe that they are all happening simultaneously. As the story proceeds on you begin to see that they are in a jumbled timeline of events which all come crashing together by the end of the film. I loved that this was a war film with extremely little violence and a runtime of 96 minutes that kept my complete attention more than a three-hour gory depressing war film usually does. Tom Hardy is incredible like he always is and Harry Styles held his own. Dunkirk is a film for fans of all genres, possessing the ability to transport any and all viewers to those horror stricken beaches. [Tyler Carlsen]

 

8. Three Billboards outside Ebbing Missouri

Just as first-time film director Jordan Peele shocked the world with his genre-breaking debut Get Out, Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson left audiences astonished with their career-affirming performances in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, decorated filmmaker Martin McDonagh’s sixth silver screen venture. McDormand breaks hearts, barriers, expectations, and a few bottles as Mildred Hayes, a single mother mourning the loss of her teenage daughter Angela (Big Little Lies’ Kathryn Newton), whose murder seven months prior drove her to outrage and immense grief — but failed to do the same to the people of her small Missouri hometown. Harrelson’s William Willoughby, the Ebbing chief of police, is the push-pin in Mildred’s map of pain: his nonchalance and ostensible lack of drive to bring Angela justice (and her killer to their final judgement) leads Frances to publicize her anger in three audacious messages across three abandoned billboards on the fringes Ebbing.

Turbulent and triumphant in turns, peaking in moments of true black comedy and dipping low into the sincerity and sourness of true sorrow, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a searing cinematic treat. [AJ Caulfield]

7. The Shape of Water

Pain. Empathy. Sensuality. Fantasy. Love. There is always a sense of tormented luminosity in Guillermo Del Toro’s oeuvre, since his first notable work – 1993’s Cronos – up to today; an urge to uncover the beauty behind the beast, but also to reveal what is truly monstrous in us regular humans. That quest has led Mexico’s favorite nerd to tell us stories about heroic outcasts, fascistic fairylands, and this time, a trans-species, multi-dimensional story of Love forbidden. We can say that The Shape of Water is Del Toro’s first adult film; the rest of his brilliant filmography has raised concerns related to his childhood traumas and anxieties, but here, he tackles themes of sex – specifically, the sexual and power dynamics we develop as couples –, prejudice, otherness, and above all, trust. The film shares the tension and high drama of Cocteau’s Beauty and The Beast while offering a whole new aesthetic world, a visual and sonic universe that is every part as spellbinding, and most importantly, completely true to Del Toro’s vision. [Leonel Manzanares]

 

6. Blade Runner 2049

Perhaps due to its patience testing runtime or the poor box office results, Blade Runner 2049 hasn’t had the longevity it was once predicted to. A shame, since it’s one of the most visually stunning films of the year as well as exciting in it’s mediated pace. Urgency shoots electricity through every scene as we’re once again acquainted to a world which has become seemingly passionless, where large corporations run supreme and replicants are either forced to “retire” or “retire” their own kind. It’s a devastating reality to watch and even when a glimmer of hope is granted to us, it’s quickly grabbed back in one of the most unsettling “gotcha” moments of 2017. The ending moments are beautifully heartbreaking as we watch a poor soul try and both atone for what he’s done in the past while also committing an act of grace that showcases his humanity. Ryan Gosling who, shockingly, didn’t get talked about enough in the follow up to the film, is understated, calm and collected (until he’s not) and the vulnerability and star quality he brings to each role of his makes us care. This is far from being sheer visual spectacle (though it succeeds in that regard) but a mediation on what it means to be human, to have a soul and to exist in a world where those lines are growing ever diminished. [Ally Johnson]

5. Logan

A large reason for the “X-Men “movies being anywhere as good as they are is Hugh Jackman’s career-defining role as our favorite berserk mutant, Wolverine. But it was always disappointing that for a character all about wielding blades, healing any wound, and being fueled by rage, the movies never really allowed for the character and Jackman to really let loose. But Logan did. With Jackman finally stepping away from the character, he was given one last reprisal of this great role and given an R-rated, free reign. The action sequences are viscerally bloody, excitingly angry, and beautifully cathartic. The character is allowed to be as gruff and coarse as we all imagined he was underneath the PG-13 barriers. If that was all Logan cared to deliver, that alone would have been enough to make it an enjoyable movie. Instead it chose to take bold steps to present an “X-Men” story where most of the X-Men themselves are dead, dying or forgotten. Unflinchingly bleak, decay is everywhere in the movie, from many of the barren sets to even Logan himself, who is now slowly withering away from illness when he was once defined by his near-immortality. There’s many sad moments, and the narrative of children raised in Mexico fleeing brutal regimes while trying to cross a border is unfortunately very poignant in our current political climate. But rather than wallow in this sadness, Logan aims to also be an inspirational piece about fatherhood and raising new generations, exemplified with the stunning performance of Dafne Keen as young – but also equally carnage-inducing – Laura. It was a story all about finding what things you really love and fighting like hell to protect them. If that wasn’t a perfect credo for 2017, then I don’t know what is. [Alex Suffolk]

 

4. The Florida Project

In a year as bleak, miserable and overwhelming depressing as 2017, Sean Baker’s wonderfully bittersweet The Florida Project was a warm, inviting hug of a film. So filled with wit, passion, feeling and fine attention to backdrops and detail that it somehow seemed almost effortless in its dreamy, splashy, hopeful-but-melancholy approach (though, of course, no movie this good isn’t a labor of love), Baker’s marvelous, magnificently heartfelt follow-up to the similarly spectacular iPhone-shot Tangerine is a radiant, effervescent display of natural talent, warmly-realized characters, fantastically vibrant (and tackily colored) locations and assuredly approachable filmmaking. Performed brilliantly and confidently by newcomers Brooklynn Prince and Bria Vinaite and seasoned talents Caleb Landry Jones and especially Willem Dafoe, giving quite arguably the performance of his career in this very fine film, while also shot gorgeously on 35mm by Alexis Zabe, The Florida Project is equally heartwarming and heartbreaking, transcendent and grounded, in its casually nostalgic look at childhood, impoverishment and hoping and dreaming outside the walls of the most magical place in the world. It’s a sad film. It’s a tragic one too. But Baker recognizes the prolonged failure of these burned Southern characters while also celebrating their triumphs and adversities — often in spite of it all. It’s a rich, magnificent, wonderful balance that makes The Florida Project one of the best, brightest and most meaningful films of 2017. [Will Ashton]

 

3. Lady Bird

Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird isn’t just the best movie of the year, it’s the best movie of the last five years. I might be biased, considering I was a teenage girl who lived in Sacramento. But what Gerwig taps into is nothing short of real. Everyone from the young woman that Saorise Ronan’s “Lady Bird” is, to her needling mother Marion (a hopefully award-winning Laurie Metcalfe), to the boys Lady Bird likes, feel like people you knew…and maybe still do. Lady Bird conjures up emotions about high school you thought you’d gotten over, only to have them searingly brought back to life – with a Dave Matthews soundtrack, no less. [Kristen Lopez]
 

2. Call Me By Your Name

“Call Me by Your Name ventures into a realm of romantic and sexual possibility in some sunny territory referred to only in the film as “somewhere in Italy.” Luca Guadagnino is a master of lavish and seductive tones but, guided by André Aciman’s source material, the Italian director unveils a sensitivity lacking in his previous flashier, more impersonal erotic fantasies. Forging a convincing romantic and sexual relationship between a precocious but still immature seventeen-year old and a charming academic, 24 years old, is no easy feat. Guadagnino and screenwriter James Ivory imposes a challenging scenario of modern love, a dubious concept fraught with ethical and psychological demands, and somehow manages to intelligently address both in a way that also satisfies the emotional core of the film.” [From Our Review]

 

1. Get Out

Look, there’s only one explanation for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association nominating Jordan Peele’s directorial debut in the “musical/comedy” category: the voters watched the first 45 minutes of the movie, fell asleep, and then woke up for the final Rod Williams joke. Then it would be understandable that the HFPA would mistake this for a drawn-out Key & Peele sketch, which Get Out most certainly is not. On top of being one of the best horror/thrillers of the new millenium, Get Out is just the right amount of crazy creativity thrown on top of a pitch-perfect depiction of modern racism in America. Peele’s script reveals that black people are now seen by patronizing white people as prizes to be won in sport, through sex or brain surgery. It makes sense that a blind art dealer is looking to have the eyes of Chris (Golden Globe-nominee Daniel Kaluuya), as he sees the truth behind all the smiles and handshakes he gets at his girlfriend’s house. The world saw the truth too ($252 million at the global box-office), too bad the HFPA didn’t have room for it to be taken seriously. [Jon Winkler]

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