Here we are again. We have reached the end of another year and it is time to look back at the movies of the last 12 months to identify the best releases of the year. Unlike other lists of this type which flood the internet, newspapers and magazines, mine has been compiled at the end of the year to make it an accurate reflection of my viewing experience over the entire 12 months of 2017.
I realise that many such lists are meaningless and often put together by people who are servants to personal preferences, a particular political/social ideology or industry influences, so a list such as mine should come as welcome relief because it is devoid of influence from any individual, organisation or ideological framework. It is derived purely from the truth of the viewing experience and the quality of the product that has been presented on screen.
It would be impossible for me to have seen every film released this year so this list is drawn from the movies that I have seen in cinemas in 2017 (regardless of when they were initially released). New releases, festival screenings, re-releases, previews or retrospectives; if I saw it in a cinema in 2017, it is eligible for inclusion in this list. Films viewed on DVD, television or via streaming or online platforms are most definitely not considered.
This list is compiled using the reviews and ratings that I posted on Letterboxd in the days following each screening. Given that there will be many movies with the same or similar ratings, I also take into account the way in which a film has continued to resonate with me long after I saw it, which always suggests that there is something particularly prescient or powerful about a particular production.
Ultimately, my list cannot be any more or less ‘correct’ than anybody else’s, but it is probably more genuine than most. However, the reality is that there are some movies that are just so good that they simply cannot be overlooked or ignored.
The films are not ranked in any particular order as all of the films listed in this group of ten are outstanding and attempting to narrow the order into some kind of sequential evaluation of merit seems a little pointless. They are all excellent and they all deserve to be celebrated and admired. No doubt there are those who will disagree with my choices and that is fine because those people absolutely have the right to be wrong.
Only films viewed in a cinema by me in 2017 have been considered. Release dates are irrelevant and should never be considered for such lists. This is about the best movies I saw in a cinema in the last 12 months. It also, obviously, precludes any films released in 2017 that I am yet to see.
So, my Top Ten movies of 2017 (in no particular order) are:
Edge of Seventeen
Manchester by the Sea
Ingrid Goes West
Of course, these are not the only great movies released this year and there are plenty more for which justification for inclusion could easily be mounted. The compilation of such a list necessitates the absence of some very good films to arrive at a final ten. Therefore, here are 10 others worthy of mention that could quite easily have been included as one of the final ten:
The Killing of a Sacred Deer
20th Century Women
The Florida Project
Just to be Sure
With the good comes the bad and this year, like every other, there were some real stinkers. The particularly bad releases in 2017 that I had the misfortune to see include Will Ferrell’s diabolically unfunny The House, the unintentionally humorous Tupac biopic All Eyez on Me and Kong: Skull Island, the latest instalment of a franchise in which each new chapter sinks deeper into the murky depths of mediocrity.