This year, I have watched 547 films (25 released this year and 264 for the first time). My most watched director was Steven Spielberg and my most watched actor was Tom Hanks.
And here are my top 10 films of 2017. This list changes constantly so you can view a constantly updated list on my Letterboxd page.
Whilst this film brilliantly rounds-up Wolverine’s character and his trilogy of standalone films, it feels completely different to any other X-Men film in almost every way possible. That’s because of how down-beaten the world and all of the characters involved have ended up. Wolverine is rotting away and Professor X is losing his sense of control in a world where there seems to be no hope left, as it soon strikes home that things are more doom and gloom than a saving-the-world celebratory party.
It may not be the setting for these characters that you were expecting to see, but the bleak future world feels very much like the natural progression of the X-Men story. Detailed and visualised brilliantly, it works incredibly well as a backdrop to Wolverine’s current personal confrontations. It is violent, gritty and full of gore, exploring some heavy states of mind along the way. But it is this character-driven narrative that allows for two phenomenal and compelling performances from Jackman and Stewart, with both of them giving a heartfelt, touching and dignified farewell to their iconic characters.
9. Hacksaw Ridge
What an amazing true story. One of true bravery and human strength which is handled incredibly well. The story of Desmond Doss could have easily come across as preachy but it definitely doesn’t. Instead, it is inspiring and passionate. Mel Gibson proves himself to be a great director. The quality of this film is exceptional. It looks amazing and is balanced incredibly well; there’s not too much backstory or too many explosions, it’s just great storytelling. Andrew Garfield gives a phenomenal performance and proves that he’s one of the best actors around at the minute.
Review to come.
7. Thor: Ragnarok
Whoever gave this job to Taika Waititi deserves a medal. Somehow, his out-there comedy style and brave improvisational methods suit this superhero world so well that this third instalment in the Thor franchise quickly took its place as my favourite Marvel film. Thor has always been my favourite Marvel superhero, but this film could have gone in any direction after the somewhat forgettable second instalment. And with the MCU picking up the pace with its recent ensemble films, this character instalment needed to make an impact. And that, it most definitely did.
6. Call Me By Your Name
Loved, loved, loved this. I think I will be watching it on repeat for the foreseeable future. It’s taken me a good while to enjoy Armie Hammer’s performances, but after The Man From UNCLE, I was quickly convinced otherwise. And now this! I am a new fan. And Timothée Chalamet! I can’t wait to see more from him (although with maybe fewer peaches involved). This is such a beautiful and romantic story. I especially love the support of Elio’s family, which I think really makes this to feel so delicate. I could watch the closing scene of Elio staring into the fire forever. Absolutely beautiful!
5. The Handmaiden
From the director of Old Boy, Park Chan-Wook uses the power of narrative to tell an unpredictable story of passion and betrayal. It will leave you feeling shocked by its maze-like structure, impressed by its compelling exploration of gender and social class, inspired by its beauty, and also uncomfortable in its lustful perversions.
On first viewing, the complex plot will ensure that you’re unable to take your eyes off the screen, as twist after twist takes you on a psychological journey that you will instantly want to watch again, even with its 145-minute length. The story unfolds in a way that leaves you speechless, but it only improves on repeat viewings as you begin to see the ways that the intricately intertwined layers of dark subplots and conspiracies unravel.
4. The Greatest Showman
The Greatest Showman took the world by storm at the end of 2017. Whilst it didn’t get off to a great start, word of mouth meant that everybody was wanting to go and see this musical on the big screen by early 2018, many of those seeing it more than once and even participating in the Sing-A-Long special screenings. Soon enough, The Greatest Showman became a must-see phenomenon, making its way to become the fifth-highest grossing live-action musical of all time.
I’ve always been a fan of musicals and of the talent that is Hugh Jackman, so this was always a film that I was going to call a babysitter in for so that I could have a night out and enjoy it as soon as possible. Yet I didn’t quite expect to love this film as much as I did. Walking out of the cinema, however, it was obvious that everybody in the room had had an amazing experience.
3. La La Land
For me, La La Land will always be a film that I adore. It is powerful storytelling at its best, combined with beautifully orchestrated music and songs, and characters who are difficult to forget. What I love most of all is the score. It has such a distinguishable score that even a few seconds of a song would make you connect the music to this film. More instrumental than musical, Damien Chazelle has created some beautiful melodies as his love for Jazz radiates throughout his masterpiece.
Alongside the amazing performances from Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, as well as their beautiful vocals and sharp dance moves, La La Land is also a love letter to old musicals and it’s lovely to see all of the references and idolisations.
2. Blade Runner 2049
The original Blade Runner is a film that most regard as a classic and many people regard as one of their favourites. It’s certainly one of mine. So if you’re going to reboot one of the best science fiction films around, then you want one of the best directors of this decade, and Denis Villeneuve is definitely amongst them. You’d also want Ryan Gosling as the leading man, so the news of this film seemed quite promising. It just had to live up to that and not be the failure that I think many of us were expecting.
With such talent both behind and in front of the cameras, Blade Runner 2049 is one of the few films that is just as good as its predecessor. It has everything that was so great about the original – including Harrison Ford – but enough originality to make it stand out on its own accord, too. It’s a gorgeous film with a brilliant story – one that I actually understood 90% of – and is a perfect example of why science fiction is quite possibly the best genre of film that there is.
I love this film even more, every time that I watch it. The several stories come together so well and I love how we only see this story of war from one side, our side. The method of storytelling is just phenomenal and they are each so impacting, especially against Hans Zimmer’s incredible score.
Both the young cast of fresh talent and the older cast of British acting icons are fantastic and are a perfect ensemble for this inspiring, brave, heroic, and historical story. That’s it, I’m giving it a full five stars because the quality of film-making just cannot be faulted.