So another year, another top 10. This year I saw about 100 new releases with very few turkeys in the mix. What’s becoming increasingly note-worthy for me in terms of how I interpret and rate a film is the context and setting for viewing. Watching a film at home on the TV, be it from Netflix or another streaming source, is just never the same as the experience of watching with a real-life audience. So three cheers for cinemas!
Don’t forget that if you’re on Lettterboxd, you will find me here @wheatln2. And if you’re a film obsessive who isn’t on Letterboxd, what are you doing?
First of all, some disclaimers. Neither Michael Inside or The Levelling received a general release in Irish cinemas so have been left out, they’d both make the Top 10 if eligible. And I always feel wrong including last year’s big Oscar candidates, so Manchester by the Sea and Moonlight aren’t considered either.
So we’ll kick off with the nearly made its… The Red Turtle, My Life as a Courgette, The Farthest, The Big Sick, Wind River, Toni Erdmann, Wonder Woman, Elle, The Lost City of Z, The Sense of an Ending… and mother!
10. Paddington 2
It was always going to be a tough ask for the Paddington sequel to be as heart-warming, charming, and downright delightful but director Paul King delivered in spades. A classic for years to come.
9. Lady Macbeth
A film that will leave you cold, shivering and unsettled in the best possible way and forms a great double-act with My Cousin Rachel. The image of Florence Pugh as Katherine sitting on the couch in her finery is firmly implanted on my brain as one of the shots of the year.
Who knew that a farewell to one of 21st century pop culture’s favourite icons could be so tough to deal with? A heart-breaking and exhilarating way to say adieu to a character who has been with us for most of our adult lives and in a strong year for blockbusters this was the best action film of the year.
7. The Salesman
An Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film, which may have been propelled to victory by Donald Trump’s so-called “Muslim ban”. But putting that aside, The Salesman has a strong sense of moral conflict at its heart which stayed with me for days afterwards.
Due to being on holidays, I was a few weeks behind the pack on this, but Dunkirk was still worth the wait and the limited narrative and incredible 70mm visuals made this the year’s purest cinematic experience. Find the biggest screen possible for any future re-watches.
5. Baby Driver
It’s fun to look back on reviews of this from the summer when people hailed Kevin Spacey’s performance as the bad guy Doc. Of course hindsight means we’ll never look at him in the same way, but if you can manage to compartmentalise his performance Baby Driver is the most shamelessly enjoyable film of the year. Balancing romance, action and a perfect soundtrack is no mean feat – amazing what director Edgar Wright can do when he’s just left alone to work.
4. Blade Runner 2049
Seriously, did this have any right to be this good? Denis Villeneuve calmed a lot of nerves once those first reviews of Blade Runner 2049 came pouring in – this was a worthy and fitting sequel and tribute to Ridley Scott’s seminal Blade Runner.
A film missing from a lot of end of year conversations for some reasons. I’m a sucker for the Kathryn Bigelow/Mark Boal double-act (Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker are previous Best Of contenders), and they don’t disappoint here. They’re aided by terrific performances across the board from John Boyega, Will Poulter, Anthony Mackie and even our own Jack Reynor – and the gut-wrenching final act will leave you with huge questions about America’s criminal justice system.
2. Call Me by Your Name
The music. The sumptuous visuals. The fruit. The bicycles. The heart-break. Those shorts. That conversation.
1. Get Out
The film that made me feel the most exhilarated, emotional and excited in 2017. Jordan Peele marked himself as the year’s biggest break-out director with this reminder that white liberal people may well be the most racist folks of all.