I struggled to come up with a single word to describe this year. So much of 2017 for me was consumed by politics and the uncomfortable, but necessary, conversations we are only now starting to have regarding race, gender, beliefs and power. Through it all cinema was both my source of escapism and a place for reflection. Whether it was continuing personal projects by exploring films directed by women, seeking out more films about the black experience, or supporting more Canadian filmmakers, there was no shortage of things to watch in 2017. While there were many works that impacted me on some level, here are the films that stuck with me the most.
One of the most divisive films of the year, Darren Aronofsky’s dizzying allegory gets better, and crazier, with each repeat viewing. It is one of those films where its flaws are as interesting as it successes.
11) The Big Sick
There are certain romantic comedies that just hit you in that emotional sweet spot. I fell hard for this film, and I’m kicking myself for having waited so late in the year to finally catch up with it.
10) Blade Runner 2049
A sequel that no one wanted, but I am glad it is here. One of the most visually stunning films of the year, Denis Villeneuve provided an immersive experience that reminded me why I love going to the cinema.
Similar to Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049, much of my love for Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk comes from the theatrical experience of seeing it in 70mm. I cannot remember that last time my body was so tense while watching a film.
Despite the simplicity of its narrative, Coco brought out the kid in me. Its approach to memory, culture and family was a pure delight.
7) Faces Places
Speaking of delightful, Agnès Varda and JR’s documentary Faces Places left a huge smile on my face. The film is a joyous reminder that life is full of interesting stories, and that our tales are just as fascinating as those who we admire.
6) The Shape of Water
A romance that feels as magical as the classic films it draws inspiration from. Guillermo del Toro’s latest film reminds us that the true monsters are not those who look different from us, but rather those who let power overshadow their humanity.
5) The Florida Project
Sean Baker’s follow-up to Tangerine is a profound and moving film. Offering a captivating look at America’s new homeless population, on the outskirts of the most magical place on earth no less, this film has lingered in my mind for months.
4) What Will People Say
I was fortunate to see Iram Haq’s stellar film at TIFF, it is still making the rounds on the festival circuit, but here is hoping this film will hit theatres in the new year. Her look at an American teenage girl unjustly stuck within the tightening grips of her Pakistani heritage packs one heck of an emotional punch.
3) I, Tonya
Filled with brilliant performances, Craig Gillespie’s darkly comedic biopic walks a delicate tightrope. It manages to offer a surprising amount of compassion for its subject; while simultaneously laughing at the absurdity of the Nancy Kerrigan fiasco and questioning our obsession with celebrity
2) Call Me by Your Name
To put it bluntly, Luca Guadagnino’s sun-kissed romance is nothing short of a masterpiece. A powerful tale of the awkwardness, joys and pains that come with love, this film is a masterclass of in storytelling and emotion.
1) Get Out
I have watched Jordan Peele’s Get Out three times now and I find it more chilling with each subsequent viewing. Working as both as a horror film and a scathing social commentary, Peele has crafted a film that we will be talking about for years to come.
Honourable mentions: Mudbound; Sweet Country; Black Cop; Wonder Woman; Gook; Thor: Ragnarok; Star Wars: The Last Jedi; The Disaster Artist; The Force; The Post; Jane; Professor Marston & the Wonder Women; Ava; Molly’s Game; A Skin So Soft; Bodied; The Lost City of Z; Kedi; Mama Colonel; Waru; The Square; Loveless; The Beguild; Cardinal; Unarmed Verses; Marlina the Murder in Four Acts; Step; Let it Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992; The Work; Okja; John Wick 2; Last Men in Aleppo; Logan