2017. Timothee Chalamet and Tiffany Haddish helped to boost the sales of peaches and grapefruits, as Barry Keoghan staked his claim to be the new face of Heinz Spaghetti.
Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone immersed themselves in a City Of Stars, with Zac Efron and Zendaya looking to Rewrite The Stars.
In Ansel Elgort we found a Baby Driver. For Jennifer Lawrence however, she was merely driven up the wall by Javier Bardem.
All jokes aside, Annette Bening also uttered these words of wisdom.
‘Having your heart broken is a tremendous way to learn about the world’.
For me. Cinema has been as much about being entertained and escaping from reality, as it has been a form of catharsis. A wonderful art form that has continued to broaden my horizons. In an exceptionally difficult year, my selections have helped me laugh. To smile. To feel. Most importantly. To heal.
To all the terrific talents who were involved in these films. Thank you. X
Here are my Favourite Films Of 2017:
*IN ACCORDANCE TO 2017 UK RELEASE DATES*
Thor: Ragnarok (Taika Waititi)
Beach Rats (Eliza Hittman)
Their Finest (Lone Scherfig)
Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool (Paul McGuigan)
Girls Trip (Malcolm D. Lee)
The Levelling (Hope Dickson Leach)
IT (Andres Muschetti)
20 – THE BIG SICK (Michael Showalter)
Inspired by his own real-life romance with screenwriter Emily V. Gordon. Kumail Nanjiani anchored a whip smart culture-clash rom-com, fighting for his big break in stand-up, whilst staving off staunch Muslim traditions through his romance with Zoe Kazan. In a year light on quality offerings within this well-worn genre. A big tick for The Big Sick.
19 – THE LOST CITY OF Z (James Gray)
Assured direction from James Gray coupled with gorgeous cinematography by Darius Khondji. ‘Z was an exquisite exploration of 1920’s Bolivia, as Charlie Hunnam’s renowned British explorer looked to uncover an ancient Amazonian city. A vigorous and absorbing throwback to the adventures we rarely see now in the modern era.
18 – MOTHER! (Darren Aronofsky)
Easily one of the most controversial and divisive offerings of the year. Yet you simply couldn’t take Darren Aronofsky’s latest at face value. The obsessive god-like figure of Javier Bardem’s writer clashing with Jennifer Lawrence’s ‘Mother Nature’, building to an audacious third act that is tough to shake. A compelling journey.
17 – WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES (Matt Reeves)
A mere reminder of the majestic motion-capture work of Mr Andy Serkis. This threequel was a soul-stirring conclusion to one of the great franchise revivals of recent years, instilling a desperation often associated with historical war dramas, underpinned by a stunning Michael Giacchino score.
16 – GET OUT (Jordan Peele)
Full of satirical bite about white privilege and the racial tensions that shamefully remains ingrained in the American landscape. Jordan Peele’s hypnotic (quite literally!) directorial debut exposes the horrors of such prejudice, whilst embracing the genre tropes to create an unnerving cinematic experience.
15 – THE FLORIDA PROJECT (Sean Baker)
Upgrading from his trustee I Phone (Tangerine) to a sumptuous 35MM aesthetic. Sean Baker provided us with an achingly authentic deconstruction of the childhood fairytale outlook, grounded in the harsh realities of a primary coloured hotel run by a brilliant Willem Dafoe. Sublime.
14 – 20TH CENTURY WOMEN (Mike Mills)
A luscious labour of love of the 1970’s and his own mother, littered with fiercely intelligent performances from Annette Bening, Elle Fanning and Greta Gerwig. Mike Mills’ 20th Century Women was a tender and thoughtful tale of finding common ground within the generational gaps, that evoked vivid nostalgia without constantly pushing the button for cheap thrills.
13 – BABY DRIVER (Edgar Wright)
Inevitably tainted by the scandal of Spacey. But it can’t take away from the crisp choreography and craftsmanship on display by Edgar Wright here, as he navigates us through this exhilarating homage, set to a toe-tapping soundtrack. All the Cornettos to Ansel Elgort please!
12 – LOGAN (James Mangold)
Seventeen years as the adamantium-clawed mutant. Back in March, it was finally time for Hugh Jackman to say goodbye to the character Wolverine and what a blistering finale we were provided. Intertwining western motifs with the R-rated blood-soaked thrills fans had been craving. Good luck replacing him Marvel with that new Fox deal…
11 – STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (Rian Johnson)
Recently given the keys to a new trilogy. The pressure was certainly on Rian Johnson to build on the well-received efforts of J.J Abrams (The Force Awakens). Graceful in its tributes (Carrie Fisher’s General Leia). Compelling in its escalating conflict (Daisy Ridley’s Rey/Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren). ‘The Last Jedi was a scintillating and stacked instalment, that refused to play by the rules.
10 – LADY MACBETH (William Oldroyd)
Boasting a formidable performance by leading lady Florence Pugh, who clearly relished toying with the audience’s emotions as the titular character. William Oldroyd’s Lady Macbeth was an immense period drama, that was truly chilling in its calculation and subversion.
9 – GOOD TIME (Benny and Josh Safdie)
If ever there was a film that deserved a wider release in 2017. It was this pulsating offering from the Safdie Brothers, which unearthed an urgent and career-best performance from Robert Pattinson. An intoxicating neon-lit crime thriller, that thrives on chaos.
8 – BLADE RUNNER 2049 (Denis Villeneuve)
From the outset. I suspected the clinical approach of Denis Villeneuve would be a seamless fit for this world, initially built by Ridley Scott and Harrison Ford. So it proved. Serving us an astonishing continuation to its much-loved original from 1982, predominantly through a game Ryan Gosling, without dialling down its mesmerising dystopia and rich themes.
7 – MOONLIGHT (Barry Jenkins)
With an impeccable three-act structure, chronicling the stunning coming-of-age story of Chiron, taking a considered approach to coming out which was raw and resonant. Moonlight was a vital work from director Barry Jenkins and a shining example that less can often be so much more..
6 – DUNKIRK (Christopher Nolan)
Through Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan stripped away the narrative excess of his previous work, to create a lean and immersive ‘race-against-time’ war machine. Filled with nail-biting tension that is accentuated by an unrelenting Hans Zimmer score. Superior in the subtlety of its performances, with Fionn Whitehead, Kenneth Branagh and Mark Rylance worthy mentions. Magnificent.
5 – CALL ME BY YOUR NAME (Luca Guadagnino)
From the sun-kissed beauty of its gorgeous setting to the sizzling chemistry between Timothee Chalamet and Armie Hammer. All the way to a sublime double musical offering from Sufjan Stevens. Call Me By Your Name was a film that simply overflowed with beauty. If the central romance didn’t break your heart, Michael Stuhlbarg’s beautiful father to son speech likely did.
4 – THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER (Yorgos Lanthimos)
A frightening depiction of familial dysfunction, fused with the peculiar humour we’ve come to expect from its Greek director. Who knew a version of Ellie Goulding’s Burn could be so creepy!? ‘Sacred Deer was sensational, giving us an unforgettable softly-spoken menace in Barry Keoghan, as Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell wrestled with their consciences in riveting fashion.
3 – LA LA LAND (Damien Chazelle)
A feverish debut with ‘Whiplash’. It was a case of the ‘difficult second album’ for Damien Chazelle with La La Land. How he exceeded expectations. An irresistible tribute to the glittering Golden Age of Hollywood musicals, with a golden couple at its core in Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. I could happily watch those ‘A Lovely Night/Planetarium’ dance sequences on repeat. Simply dazzling.
2 – A MONSTER CALLS (J.A Bayona)
An adaptation of the Patrick Ness novel, which i will now forever have a deep personal connection to and draw strength from. A Monster Calls may be a fantastical feast at first glance with its fondness for mythical watercolour tales. But it’s the skilful handling of a boy’s (Lewis MacDougall on outstanding form) struggle to grasp the extent of his mom’s (Felicity Jones) illness, that truly stays with you. Incredible.
1 – GOD’S OWN COUNTRY (Francis Lee)
The 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK, it’s been fitting that there has been many superb LGBTQ cinematic offerings this year.
Yet Francis Lee’s rapturous romance, starring a stellar pairing in Josh O’Connor and Alec Secareanu stood tall above all. Lazily tagged as a ‘British Brokeback’, God’s Own Country was a bracing piece of cinema filled with an unwavering sense of hope and optimism, often found lacking in the queer cinema canon. It may begin in isolation, but how it takes your breath away in its open picturesque spaces. A fitting message for a society that suddenly seems obsessed with building fences and walls. My film of 2017.