Top 10 Films of 2017
2017 already feels like lightyears ago and here I am just dropping my Top 10 Films of 2017. Bear with it because like my all-time favorite motto, it's better late, than never! 2017 has been one of the toughest years when it comes to politics, filmmaking, and personal growth. What we all dealt with in our personal lives, seemed to be reflected in our cinema to truly remind us the most important aspects of life: love, death, family, and of course, social media. The latter, I'm only semi-joking. So without further ado, here are my Top 10 Films of 2017!
Phantom Thread // Dir. Paul Thomas Anderson
Paul Thomas Anderson's Phantom Thread is a feast for the eyes, ears, and our dark, dark soul. Shot on 70mm, Phantom Thread is an engrossing, peculiar, yet shockingly humorous character study of renowned dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock and his muse, Alma, played by a riveting Vicky Krieps. Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood works his magic on the score, creating an elevated and moody piece that casts a spell on the audiences from start to finish. It's sad to say that this is Daniel Day-Lewis' last film before he retires, but knowing that Phantom Thread is his swan song, this is the perfect film to go out with a bang! // Trailer Reaction
Gook // Directed by Justin Chon
There was no better time for Justin Chon's Gook to come out than last year when it was the 25th anniversary of the LA Riots. The topic of the LA Riots is always a touchy one for many Korean and Black Americans alike but I'm glad that Chon made a film that involved both parties especially because the racial tension between Korean business owners and the Black community has persisted for many decades. In gritty yet idealistic fashion, Chon brings the truthful, poignant, and dynamic sides of how Koreans and Black Americans' lives intertwine for the good and bad. As a daughter of a Liquor Store owner, watching this film was everything I experienced and wanted to see on screen.
The Florida Project // Dir. Sean Baker
Sean Baker has been one of my favorite independent American directors for many years because he dares to tell stories of marginalized voices and communities in a way that's never been shown on screen before. Just when I didn't think he could one up himself from Tangerine (Review), his latest film, The Florida Project, is truly one for the books. In the pov of a six-year-old girl named Moonee, we get to revisit and witness childhood in all it's bitesize friendships, mischievous adventures, and heartbreaking revelations, all in the backdrop of a gritty yet pastel fantasyscape right behind Orlando, Florida's Disneyland.
Lady Bird // Dir. Greta Gerwig
No matter how many coming-of-age films that I see, I still feel deeply impacted by their seemingly trivial characters and stories. Greta Gerwig's directorial debut film, Lady Bird, was like seeing my own teenage years on screen, play by play, and I'm not even catholic! Lady Bird's tumultuous relationship with her mother, erratic behavior, and love for her hometown of Sacramento, brings to life so many poignant and key moments in a teenage girl's life. Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf's performances will make you ugly cry and remind you too much of all the times you gave your mom shit and how she still loves you even after all that.
Ingrid Goes West // Dir. Matt Spicer
As someone who is just as obsessed with social media as anyone else living in this digital age, I felt personally attacked by the film. It was so accurate in it's portrayal of the LA socialite and our social media habits that this supposedly "satirical" film was jarring. Aubrey Plaza has never been better as the mentally ill fan girl who just wants to have friends. Ingrid Goes West's screenplay is painstakingly humorous while the direction is razor-sharp, making this film, easily one of the best films of the year. // Trailer Reaction + Review
Get Out // Dir. Jordan Peele
There is no bigger movie that came out in 2017 than Jordan Peele's Get Out. Jordan Peele has brilliantly made a film about racism like it's never been seen before. Its social and cultural commentary shows the everyday micro aggression that Black people face on the daily in a palpable, jarring, and disturbing way. The film takes you beyond to the darkest places where your nightmares are born and trust me when I say, I didn't sleep a wink the week I saw it. Every performance, dialogue, and action catered to the story in precise execution, all adding up to an earth-shattering, soul-shaking, can't-believe-your-fucking-eyes climax!
Columbus // Dir. Kogonada
It's only natural that revered film essayist, Kogonada's directorial debut feature is a breathtaking meditation about spaces and the people in it. It's sure enough an ordinary type of story about everyday people but with Kogonada's meticulous direction and Cinemtographer, Elisha Christian's zen like camerawork, it's a transcendental and spiritual experience you never knew you needed. I adore films that focus on a certain places and people and in this case, it's the architecture mecca of Columbus, Ohio, to show the quiet beauty of the messiness of life.
Baby Driver // Dir. Edgar Wright
Edgar Wright has been consistently making outrageously breathtaking films with his singularly iconic vision since day one. We all know his work from Hot Fuzz and The World's End (review) but he takes Baby Driver to a whole different level, one that taps into all our senses to have us tingling from head to toe by the end of the film, especially the heart. I've never felt so emotionally and physically energized and drained after watching a film but that's what Baby Driver will do to you! It's a spectacular feat that is drenched in intense details, fully formed characters, and a banger of a soundtrack. All hail Edgar Wright for making another outrageously grandiose film that gives other car films a run for its money. // Full Review
Call Me By Your Name // Luca Guadagnino
Like coming-of-age stories, the summer romance genre is one that's been done many times over: boy meets boy, they fall in love, they break-up, the end. But what Luca Guadagnino's adaptation of Andre Aciman's book of the same name does, is bring a commonplace story to a very culturally and social-economically specific world that oozes with luxury, intellect, and above all, A LOT OF EMOTIONS. Timothée Chalamet as Elio is so painstakingly beautiful, I couldn't help but weep. It's as if you are falling in love and experiencing heartache for the very first time and with the accompaniment of Sufjan Steven swoon-worthy soundtrack, you bet I was in shambles by the end of the film.
The Shape of Water // Dir. Guillermo del Toro
It's truly an arduous task to surpass the beauty of an iconic film like Pan's Labyrinth but Guillermo del Toro does it again with The Shape of Water. One of the most incredible aspect of this film is that it was made by Guillermo del Toro, who wholly appreciates monsters and the outsider perspective and it shows. It takes the classic fairy tale formula and spins it on its head to create another instant classic that's filled with luscious cinematography, heartfelt score by Alexandre Desplat, and a breathtaking ending that will engrave itself into your soul. It's an understatement when I say, The Shape of Water is one of my favorite films of the year. Not only does it show you the necessary power of fighting for what you love but also that love is singularly one of the most powerful tools, we as humans have. // Full Review