Best of 2017: Our Favourite Films of the Year

18 Dec 2017 BY Michael Prescott in Film Features

8 mins
My Life as a Courgette
My Life as a Courgette

A year ago we were praising titles such as Kubo and the Two StringsZootropolisHunt for the Wilderpeople and Victoria as some of our favourites of 2016. This year has produced an equally strong selection of diverse titles, from original animations to provocative coming-of-age stories.

Each of Into Film's curators have chosen our favourite films of the year, as have some of our Young Reporters. But before all that, let's revisit the cinematic highlights and trends of 2017.

SUPER SEQUELS

Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2Spider-Man: HomecomingWar for the Planet of the ApesThor: RagnarokLoganThe LEGO® Batman MoviePaddington 2Blade Runner 2049Cars 3Despicable Me 3

Who said franchises were dead? Marvel showed off a new comedic lease of life; Caesar and Wolverine were given fitting finales; there was the funniest Batman film to date; we got a sci-fi sequel 35 years in the making (which lived up to the hype) and the best family film of the year with the return of Paddington Bear!

ORIGINAL ANIMATION

My Life as a CourgetteThe Red TurtleCaptain UnderpantsThe Boy and the BeastLoving VincentSingThe Boss Baby

Some of the biggest animation studios haven't released titles this year (both Pixar's Coco and Aardman's Early Man arrive in January), paving the way for fresh talent to shine in different ways, be it foreign language or no dialogue, cheeky humour or musical extravaganza. And we also got the first-ever fully-painted animation in the form of Loving Vincent.

A LANDMARK YEAR FOR GAY CINEMA

MoonlightCall Me By Your NameGod's Own CountryHandsome DevilIt's Only the End of the World

LGBT films have been more prominent than ever: Moonlight won three Academy Awards, including Best Picture, in a breakthrough moment for gay cinema. Yorkshire-set God's Own Country recently won the highest honour at the British Independent Film Awards, and Call Me By Your Name looks set to be a major contender in the forthcoming awards season.

NEW BRITISH TALENT

Lady MacbethI Am Not A WitchThe Levelling

God's Own Country also hailed a new homegrown filmmaking talent in Francis Lee, and it was in great company. Lady Macbeth (William Oldroyd), I Am Not A Witch (Rungano Nyoni) and The Levelling (Hope Dickson Leach) all featured impressive directorial debuts from Brits with bright futures.

DIVERSE VOICES

Get OutWonder WomanHidden FiguresThe Big SickBattle of the SexesI Am Not Your Negro

The film industry finally appears to be embracing necessary change in a number of ways. From Jordan Peele's superb racial satire Get Out to Patty Jenkins' incredibly successful blockbuster Wonder Woman, plus feel-good hits including Hidden Figures and The Big Sick, diverse voices are finding ways to tell their own stories, both in front of and behind the camera.

POLITICS, PROPAGANDA AND WAR

DetroitThe Death of StalinTheir FinestDunkirkJackieHacksaw RidgeAn Inconvenient Sequel

Replicating the wider world, some of cinema's most prominent themes have examined historical warfare and the future of the planet. We've had two very different interpretations of British life in World War Two, plus hard-hitting period pieces, and an assortment of profiles on public personas. 

UNCONVENTIONAL COMING OF AGE

A Monster CallsA Silent VoiceThe FitsItWonderThe Florida ProjectLion

The genre has been placed under the microscope in particularly interesting ways over the past twelve months, explored via avenues including anime, fantasy and horror to gripping effect, with brilliant child performances across the board.

EXPRESS YOURSELF

La La LandBaby DriverBeauty and the BeastStepRock DogWe Are X

Creativity and self-expression have been top of the menu in 2017 with music, performing arts, dance and filmmaking celebrated in these inspirational films, from Beauty and the Beast's gorgeous visuals to the intricate editing of Baby Driver.

MOIRA - SENIOR FILM CURATION MANAGER

Favourite Film: Step

The most positive and empowering documentary of the year, Step focuses on the final year students of the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women and their passion for Step dance. More than just a dance group, the daily activity represents an escape from the hardships of their home lives and their troubled city. Such an uplifting story, Step is a beautiful representation of hope and perseverance.

Other Favourites

KIRSTEN - FILM CURATION MANAGER

Favourite Film: Moonlight

This powerful and moving coming-of-age tale of a young black man called Chiron struggling to find his place in the world, which shook Hollywood and left audiences in awe of director Barry Jenkins' style and unique approach to storytelling, demands to be on everyone's ‘best-of' list this year.

Other Favourites

  • My Life as a Courgette
  • Good Time
  • The Florida Project
  • Call Me By Your Name
  • Get Out

JOE - FILM CURATOR

Favourite Film: Paddington 2

Expectations were high for this sequel, but if anything, Paddington 2 improves on its predecessor. Uproariously funny, utterly charming, with an unexpectedly poignant ending, the film was the perfect tonic in a challenging year. Warm, inclusive, and uplifting, it had inspiring messages, and the best musical sequence of 2017!

Other Favourites

  • God's Own Country
  • Moonlight
  • Dunkirk
  • I Am Not A Witch
  • Silence

MICHAEL - FILM CURATION OFFICER

Favourite Film: La La Land

Filmmaking prodigy Damien Chazelle's toe-tapping throwback to the Golden Age of Hollywood is a tour-de-force of movie magic; a stunningly choreographed musical alive with memorable songs and dazzling cinematography which dares us to foolishly dream. The Whiplash director has served up another masterpiece; we can't wait for his next film, a Neil Armstrong biopic which sees him re-team with Ryan Gosling.

Other Favourites

  • The Florida Project
  • Paddington 2
  • Get Out
  • Dunkirk
  • God's Own Country

YOUNG REPORTERS

Shola, 17

Favourite Film: It

It was an absolute delight for me this year! I've found that recently modern horror remakes often miss the mark, but Muschietti and the talented young cast not only encapsulate the feelings of sheer terror captured in the original movie, but brilliantly pay homage to the film's classic horror predecessors.

Other Favourites: Get Out; Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2

Eve D, 17

Favourite Film: Dunkirk

Dunkirk is my favourite film from 2017. I love the way Christopher Nolan has managed to tell the story of the film in three different time frames and from three different perspectives. All of the different aspects of the film work really well together from the acting to the film's score, as well as the real story of the Dunkirk evacuation being told truthfully.

Other Favourites: La La Land; Wonder Woman; Murder on the Orient ExpressSplit

Amy, 17

Favourite Film: Loving Vincent

Loving Vincent is one of a kind: signature swirling night skies, rolling countryside fields, it's sensational to think that all 65,000 frames of this breathtaking homage to Vincent Van Gogh were painstakingly hand-painted in oil to create a feat of storytelling and animation which will most likely never be achieved again.

Other Favourites: Baby Driver; Call Me By Your Name; A Ghost Story

Ava, 16

Favourite Films: The Space Between Us; Wonder; Baby Driver; Beauty and the Beast

Eve G, 16

Favourite Films: Hidden Figures; Mudbound; Wonder Woman; Dunkirk; Beauty and the Beast

Archie, 14

Favourite Films: Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2; Dunkirk; Star Wars: The Last Jedi; Thor: Ragnarok; Paddington 2

Eden, 16

Favourite Films: A Ghost Story; The Florida Project; Wind River; Call Me By Your Name

Danielle, 17

Favourite Films: Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2; Beauty and the Beast; Thor: Ragnarok; Blade Runner 2049

Alexa, 17

Favourite Films: La La Land; Baby Driver; Spider-Man: Homecoming; Battle of the Sexes; Get Out

Michael Prescott

Michael Prescott, Film Curation Officer

Michael has an MA in Film Studies with Screenwriting from Sheffield Hallam University. He has previously worked at the British Council and on the BFI Film Academy, and has volunteered at organisations including Sheffield Doc/Fest and Cinema for All.

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