Best Films of 2017 by Colin Free

This post was written by Colin Free on January 1, 2018

It’s time again for my annual awards. Eligible films are those that were released in the UK for the first time in 2017.

 

This year, I have 203 eligible movies, and there are fewer notable omissions than usual, though I do still need to catch up with Toni Erdmann, The Fits, The Dinner, Maudie, Good Time and Better Watch Out…

 

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT

This is a category for films that, whether or not they were well received critically, I expected to like. The Berlin Syndrome, Lost City of Z and Mudbound all turned out to be a slog to sit through, but there were 2 clear of the rest. A long awaited sequel to a great film that was just plain ordinary and an attempt to reboot my favourite horror franchise that was a real misfire:

Runner Up: T2: Trainspotting

Winner: The Mummy

 

MOST OVERLOOKED

Every year, there are a few films that are both unseen by audiences and overlooked by critics. This year, the 2 obvious choices are a Netflix distributed thriller and a documentary that was for fans of the musical genre it covered:

Runner Up: 6 Days

Winner: Lost in France 

 

 

 

 

MOST UNDERRATED

There have been a decent clutch of films that were given short shrift by critics, but I thoroughly enjoyed.  The Hitman’s Bodyguard, Sleepless and Unlocked were all a lot of fun and will feature in another category. The top 2 turned out to be 2 of my favourites of the year and the third in the top 3, one that I will be sure to revisit…

Home Again

Runner Up: Miss Sloane

Winner: Patriot’s Day

 

 

 

 

MOST OVERRATED

It seemed that more than normal this year, there have been films that either scooped up a lot of awards and / or received rapturous reviews that I just didn’t get. Hacksaw Ridge and Lion fall into the former category and Mother!, Lost City of Z, The Love Witch, Lady MacBeth and My Cousin Rachel the latter. The last 2 of those were fine but hugely overpraised. Of the top 3, 2 were huge hits and warmly received and one was a critical darling that left me cold:

3: Logan

Runner Up: Wonder Woman

Winner: A Quiet Passion

 

 

 

 

BEST REMAKE / REBOOT / SEQUEL

It wasn’t a vintage year in this category but one example of each stand out. Jumanji: Welcome to the Welcome was a late surprise and much more enjoyable than the original film, Paddington 2 was an utter delight, and the best remake…

Winner: Murder on the Orient Express

 

WORST REMAKE / REBOOT / SEQUEL

There were a number of poor to ordinary films in this category…Daddy’s Home 2, T2: Trainspotting, Whisky Galore, Flatliners and Annabelle Creation but only one was unwatchably bad…

Loser: We Still Steal the OId Way

 

 

BEST POPCORN MOVIE

After a poor year last year, there was hot competition in this category. As mentioned elsewhere, Hitman’s Bodyguard, Sleepless, Unlocked, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle were thoroughly enjoyable and I think I laughed more at Snatched than anyone else. I can’t decide whether Baby Driver belongs in this list, so that leaves two ahead of a strong field…

Runner Up: Kong: Skull Island

Winner: Happy Death Day

  

BEST SCORE

It didn’t seem such a strong year for scores, though. I liked La La Land (Justin Hurwitz), Prevenge (Pablo Clements and James Griffith) and A Dark Song (Ray Harmon) but 5 others really stood out:

5. Anne Dudley – Elle

4. David Holmes – Logan Lucky

3. Mica Levi – Jackie

Runner Up: Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross – Patriot’s Day

Winner: Hans Zimmer – Dunkirk

 

BEST DOCUMENTARY

This is another category that has come back with a strong selection this year. I am Not Your Negro, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power and Risk all covered important subjects that should be seen. My top 3 all moved me in different ways…

3. Kedi

Runner Up: Lost in France

Winner: Tower

 

 

 

 

 

BEST SINGLE SCENE / SEQUENCE

There were a number of scenes from films released very early in the year that still linger in the memory such as Lee in the morgue in Manchester By the Sea and the extended texting on a train sequence in Personal Shopper. The year’s top 2 documentaries provided Walter Kronkite’s moving monologue in Tower and the superb rendition of Mogwai Fear Satan in Lost in France. The funniest scenes were Ted Wallace describing a CEO in Hippopotamus, Daniel Craig explaining his explosives in Logan Lucky and Kumail talking to Emily’s Dad about 9/11 in The Big Sick. All the flying sequences in Dunkirk are worth a mention as is Catrin walking amongst the mannequins during an air raid in Their Finest. That leaves this top 5

5. The ending in Clash

4. Mark Rylance avoiding the German plane in Dunkirk

3. The last 15 minutes of La La Land

Runner Up: Lee and Randi meeting in the street in Manchester By the Sea

Winner: Michael Stuhlbarg tells Timothee Chalomert to live his life well in Call Me By Your Name

 

 

 

BEST SCREENPLAY

In a year where there were impressive scripts by a veteran, David Hare for Denial, and a newcomer, Hope Dickson Leach for The Levelling, my top 5 are:

5. Mark Boal – Detroit

4. Cristian Mungiu – Graduation

3. Taylor Sheridan – Wind River

Runner Up: Hirokazu Koreeda – After the Storm

Winner: Kenneth Lonergen – Manchester by the Sea

 

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Although I admired the work of a lot of cinematographers this year, such as Robert Richardson for Live by Night, Linus Sandgren for La La Land, James Laxton for Moonlight, Philippe Le Sourd for The Beguiled, Ahmed Gabrfor Clash and Felix Wiedemann for City of Tiny Lights, three efforts stand out:

3. Ben Richardson – Wind River

Runner Up: Hoyte Van Hoytema – Dunkirk

Winner: Roger Deakins – Blade Runner 2049

 

WORST PERFORMANCE

The year was notable for some bad performances from people who are usually fine: Aldon Ehrenreich in Rules Don’t Apply, Emma Watson in The Circle, Sienna Miller in Live By Night, Connie Nielsen in Stratton, Margot Robbie in Goodbye Christopher Robin and Abbie Cornish in 6 Days. However, all of those were overshadowed by:

6. Ana de Armas – Overdrive

5. Charlie Hunnam – King Arthur

4. Caleb Landry Jones – Get Out

3. Charlotte Le Bron – The Promise

Runner Up: Tallulah Rose Haddon – Spaceship

Loser: Caleb Landry Jones – American Made

 

SPECIAL AWARD FOR BEING PROLIFIC AND GREAT IN EVERY ROLE

Four clear front runners for this award this year…

4. Eddie Marsan (Their Finest, Atomic Blonde and The Limehouse Golem)

3. Elle Fanning (Live By Night, 20th Century Women and The Beguiled)

Runner Up: Timothy Spall (Denial, The Journey, Away and The Party)

Winner: Isabelle Huppert (Elle, Souvenir and Happy End)

 

 

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Honourable mentions go to Michelle Monaghan in Patriot’s Day, Madeleine Harris in Paddington 2, Caprice Benedetti in Most Beautiful Island and Hanna Rae in City of Tiny Lights as well as a trio of performers in Hidden Figures: Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe and Kirsten Dunst.

10. Kelly MacDonald (Goodbye Christopher Robin)

9. Michelle Williams (Certain Women)

8. Jodhi May (A Quiet Passion)

7. Katherine Waterstone (Logan Lucky)

6. Maria-Victoria Dragus (Graduation)

5. Izabella Vidovic (Wonder)

4. Elle Fanning (20th Century Women)

3. Greta Gerwig (20th Century Women)

Runner Up: Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea)

Winner: Fantine Harduin (Happy End)

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Honourable mentions go to: Issey Ogata (The Silence), Sam Waterston (Miss Sloane), Jason Watkins (Hampstead), Michael Smiley (Jawbone), Steve Coogan (Rules Don’t Appply), John Goodman (Patriot’s Day), Oscar Isaac (Suburbicon),  Andrew Scott (Handsome Devil), Hugh Grant (Paddington 2)and Lucas Hedges (Manchester By the Sea)

10. Andrew Scott (Denial)

9. Daniel Craig (Logan Lucky)

8. Christopher Fairbank (Lady MacBeth)

7. Michael Stuhlbarg (Call Me By Your Name)

6. Bill Nighy (Their Finest)

5. Jason Isaacs (Death of Stalin)

4. Simon Russell Beale (Death of Stalin)

3. Kenneth Branagh (Dunkirk)

Runner Up: Ray Romano (The Big Sick)

Winner: Willem Defoe (The Florida Project)

 

BEST ACTRESS

As usual this is the toughest category. Honourable mentions go to Emma Stone (La La Land), Sonia Braga (Aquarius),

Garance Marillier (Raw), Florence Pugh (Lady MacBeth), Nelly Karim (Clash), Bahar Pars (A Man Called Ove), Catherine Frot and Catherine Deneuve (The Midwife), Roony Mara (A Ghost Story), Elizabeth Olsen (Wind River), Reese Witherspoon (Home Again), Melanie Lynskey (I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore), Hiam Abbass (Insyriated) and Sally Hawkins (Paddington 2). Also Alexa Davies (Spaceship) deserves a mention for being very good in a catastrophically bad film.

10Jessica Chastain (Miss Sloane)

9. Bria Vinaite (The Florida Project)

8. Emily Beecham (Daphne)

7. Roony Mara (Una)

6. Rebecca Hall (Christine)

5. Kristen Stewart (Certain Women)

4. Jessica Roath (Happy Death Day)

3. Ellie Kendrick (The Levelling)

Runner Up: Isabelle Huppert (Elle)

Winner: Kristen Stewart (Personal Shopper)

 

BEST ACTOR

This is probably the category with the clearest winner. Honourable mentions go to: Sakari Kuosmanen and Sherwan Haji (the Other Side of Hope), Richard Gere (Norman), Hiroshi Abe (After the Storm), Mark Rylance (Dunkirk), Riz Ahmed (City of Tiny Lights), Casey Affleck (A Ghost Story), Colm Meaney and Timothy Spall (The Journey), Johnny Harris (Jawbone) and Timothee Chalomert (Call Me By Your Name).

10. Francois Cluzet (Scribe)

9. Will Poulter (Detroit)

8. Shahab Hosseini (The Salesman)

7. Jason Sudeikis (Colossal)

6. Rolf Lassgård (A Man Called Ove)

5. Ben Stiller (The Myerowitz Stories (New & Selected))

4. Vince Vaughn (Brawl in Cell Block 99)

3. Ryan Gosling (La La Land)

Runner Up: Adam Sandler (The Myerowitz Stories (New & Selected))

Winner: Casey Affleck (Manchester By The Sea)

 

BEST DIRECTOR:

Aside from the winner, this is a solid, if not spectacular list. With honourable mentions to: Kelly Reichardt (Certain Women), Damien Chazelle (La La Land), Olivier Assayas (Personal Shopper), Chan-wook Park (The Handmaiden), Aki Kaurismäki (The Other Side of Hope), Peter Berg (Patriot’s Day), Ben Wheatley (Free Fire) and Kenneth Branagh (Murder on the Orient Express)

10.Denis Villeneuve (Blade Runner 2049)

9. Edgar Wright (Baby Driver)

8. Mohamed Diab (Clash)

7. Taylor Sheridan (Wind River)

6. Steven Soderbergh (Logan Lucky)

5. Cristian Mungiu ( Graduation)

4. Hirokazu Koreeda (After the Storm)

3. Kathryn Bigelow (Detroit)

Runner Up: Kenneth Lonergen (Manchester by the Sea)

Winner: Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk)

 

WORST FILM:

Dishonourable mentions go to The Ghoul, Pawn Sacrifice, The Circle and The Book of Love and Eat Locals, but there were 5 outstandingly dire films this year:

5. mother!

4. The Void

3. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Runner Up: Killer App

Loser: Spaceship

 

 

 

BEST FILM

Although they are all mentioned elsewhere, 25 films deserve singling out and the top 11 all were top ten films! Howevere, in the end, the top 2 were some way clear of the rest and it was a hard decision to place those:

25: Jawbone

24: The Myerowitz Stories (New & Selected)

23: Murder on the Orient Express

22: Denial

21: The Sense of an Ending

20: Kedi

19: Brawl in Cell Block 99

18: Their Finest

17: 6 Days

16: The Big Sick

15: Hidden Figures

14: Clash

13: La La Land

12: A Man Called Ove

11: Miss Sloane

10: Graduation

9: Patriot’s Day

8: Lost in France

7: Logan Lucky

6: Wind River

5; Tower

4: Detroit

3: After the Storm

Runner Up: Dunkirk

Winner: Manchester By the Sea 

 

 

 

 

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