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The Individual Top Tens of 2017

Yesterday, we released the RogerEbert.com consensus Top Ten Films of 2017, led by Greta Gerwig's "Lady Bird." Today, we dig deeper, presenting you with all submitted lists from our brilliant critics and independent contributors. There are over 200 films cited below as among the best of 2017, displaying both the diversity in quality at the cinema this year and the unique voices that cover it for our site. We asked contributors to submit whatever they liked in terms of length and some submitted just a list, while others went deeper. It's huge but it should give you an overall picture of the year in film, complete with dozens of links back to our reviews. Just for visual purposes, the people who just submitted lists are first, followed by those who went into more detail, both groups alphabetical. Enjoy. (Also make sure to check out Chaz Ebert's lists of the year's best films and documentaries here and here). 

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Note: "Twin Peaks: The Return" did not qualify, much to the disappointment of a few critics who wanted to include it. Call us old-fashioned, but we still consider it a TV series.

SIMON ABRAMS
1. "A Quiet Passion"
2. "Behemoth"
3. "Get Out"
4. "The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)"
5. "Endless Poetry"
6. "Baahubali 2: The Conclusion"
7. "Lady Bird"
8. "Brawl in Cell Block 99"
9. "Our Time Will Come"
10. "Nocturama"

NICK ALLEN
1. "Phantom Thread"
2. "Menashe"
3. "Lady Bird"
4. "One Week and a Day"
5. "Whose Streets?"
6. "The Beguiled"
7. "Chasing Coral"
8. "Lemon"
9. "A Ghost Story"
10. "Call Me By Your Name"

B.J. BETHEL
1. "Columbus"
2. "Get Out"
3. "Dunkirk"
4. "Detroit"
5. "Baby Driver"
6. "John Wick: Chapter 2"
7. "Five Came Back:
8. "Icarus"
9. "Wonder Woman"
10. "Spider-man: Homecoming"

DANNY BOWES
1. "Phantom Thread"
2. "A Quiet Passion"
3. "BPM (Beats Per Minute)"
4. "Dawson City: Frozen Time"
5. "Get Out"
6. "Lady Bird"
7. "Good Time"
8. "Princess Cyd"
9. "Thelma"
10. "The Shape of Water"

GODFREY CHESHIRE
1. "Silence"
2. "Get Out"
3. "Darkest Hour"
4. "Graduation"
5. "After the Storm"
6. "I Am Another You"
7. "The Square"
8. "Loveless"
9. "The Salesman"
10. "The Unknown Girl"

SEONGYONG CHO
1. “Dunkirk”
2. “Mudbound”
3. “Bad Genius”
4. “Columbus”
5. “My Happy Family”
6. “The Other Side of Hope”
7. “First They Killed My Father”
8. “Okja”
9. “Baby Driver”
10. “A Quiet Passion”
 
Runner ups (In alphabetical order)
“The Big Sick,” “A Ghost Story,” “Graduation,” “Logan,” “Maudie,” “Personal Shopper,” “Raw,” “The Salesman,” “War for the Planet of the Apes,” and “Wonder Woman” 

Documentary (In alphabetical order)
“Abacus: Small Enough to Jail,” “Chasing Coral,” “Kedi,” “Last Men in Aleppo,” and “Whose Streets?"

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Animation (In alphabetical order)
“Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie,” "My Life as a Zucchini," “The Lego Batman Movie,” “Loving Vincent,” and “The Red Turtle”

MARK DUJSIK
1. "The Florida Project"
2. "A Ghost Story"
3. "Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri"
4. "A Quiet Passion"
5. "Detroit"
6. "Dunkirk"
7. "Graduation"
8. "The Girl with All the Gifts"
9. "Lady Bird"
10. "Mudbound"

STEVE ERICKSON
1. "Get Out"
2. "Nocturama"
3. "Wormwood"
4. "Personal Shopper"
5. "Starless Dreams"
6. "Raw"
7. "I hate myself :.)"
8. "The Other Side of Hope"
9. "The Shape of Water"
10. "Marjorie Prime"

CHRIS EVANGELISTA
1. "The Florida Project"
2. "The Shape of Water"
3. "Phantom Thread"
4. "The Post"
5. "Blade Runner 2049"
6. "Call Me By Your Name"
7. "Personal Shopper"
8. "Okja"
9. "Get Out"
10. "Dunkirk"

MATT FAGERHOLM
1. "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"
2. "Call Me By Your Name"
3. "Shingal, Where Are You?"
4. "Novitiate"
5. "Bobbi Jene"
6. "I Am Not Your Negro"
7. "Lady Bird"
8. "Rat Film"
9. "A Quiet Passion"
10. "Mudbound"

NOAH GITTELL
1. "The Work"
2. "A Ghost Story"
3. "Phantom Thread"
4. "Get Out"
5. "Lucky"
6. "The Lost City of Z"
7. "A Quiet Passion"
8. "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"
9. "The Lovers"
10. "Brad’s Status"

BEN KENIGSBERG
[Honorary top spot for “Twin Peaks: The Return,” which is clearly television. Then…]
1. “Phantom Thread”
2. “Dawson City: Frozen Time”
3. “The Florida Project”
4. “In Transit”
5. “Good Time”
6. “Wormwood”
7. “Dunkirk”
8. “mother!”
9. “Columbus”
10. “Nocturama”

Some others: “The Big Sick,” “Call Me by Your Name,” “The Death of Louis XIV,” “It Happened in L.A.,” “Jane,” “Marjorie Prime,” “Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer,” “Personal Shopper,” “Quest,” “A Quiet Passion,” “Rat Film,” “The Settlers,” “The Square,” “The Unknown Girl,” “The Wedding Plan,” “Wonderstruck”

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[Placeholder for the film(s) I will inevitably feel guilty for leaving off.]

GLENN KENNY
1. "Personal Shopper"
2. "Taipei Story"
3. "Phantom Thread"
4. "Dawson City: Frozen Time"
5. "A Quiet Passion"
6. "The Death of Louis XIV"
7. "Baby Driver"
8. "mother!"
9. "The Bad Batch"
10. "The Florida Project"

WALKER KING
1. "Call Me By Your Name"
2. "Lady Bird"
3. "Dunkirk"
4. "Columbus"
5. "Get Out"
6. "Okja"
7. "Raw"
8. "Logan"
9. "Nocturama"
10. "A Ghost Story"

TOMRIS LAFFLY
1. "The Florida Project"
2. "Call Me By Your Name"
3. "Phantom Thread"
4. "Lady Bird"
5. "War for the Planet of the Apes"
6. "My Happy Family"
7. "Their Finest"
8. "Mudbound"
9. "Nocturama"
10. "Faces Places"

Honorable mentions: "Get Out," "Dunkirk," "Thelma," "The Big Sick," "Graduation," "In The Fade," "Columbus," "Chasing Coral," "A Fantastic Woman," "Cries From Syria"

CHRISTY LEMIRE
1. "Call Me By Your Name"
2. "Phantom Thread"
3. "I, Tonya"
4. "Good Time"
5. "Dunkirk"
6. "The Florida Project"
7. "Lady Bird"
8. "Raw"
9. "Get Out"
10. "War for the Planet of the Apes"

[Click here to read more about Christy's Top 10 for 2017]

CRAIG D. LINDSEY
"Brad's Status"
"The Breadwinner"
"The Disaster Artist"
"Dunkirk"
"Get Out"
"Lady Bird"
"The Post"
"Strong Island"
"Thelma"
"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"

Runners-up (narrative): "BPM (Beats Per Minute)," "Last Flag Flying," "The LEGO Batman Movie," "Logan Lucky," "The Lovers," "My Happy Family," "Phantom Thread," "Spider-man: Homecoming"

Runners-up (documentary): "Bright Lights," "Dawson City: Frozen Time," "Faces Places," "Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold," "Last Men in Aleppo," "Nowhere to Hide," "Step," "Whose Streets?"

SEAN MULVIHILL
1. "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"
2. "Dunkirk" 
3. "Last Flag Flying"
4. "The Shape of Water"
5. "The Big Sick"
6. "Band Aid"
7. "Get Out"
8. "Their Finest" 
9. "Lady Bird"
10. "John Wick: Chapter 2"

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Honorable mention for breaking the boundaries of filmed entertainment: "Twin Peaks: The Return" and "Wormwood" 

VIKRAM MURTHI
NOTE: This is my top 10 list as of December 12, 2017. Like all lists, this is subject to potentially massive changes due to end-of-the-year catch-up and my own arbitrary whims. It also should be noted that this list was especially difficult to put together because of the excess of good-not-great films and the paltry number of truly great films. Just one guy's opinion.
1. "Nocturama"
2. "Phantom Thread"
3. "The Florida Project"
4. "Rat Film"
5. "Staying Vertical"
6. "mother!"
7. "Dawson City: Frozen Time"
8. "Good Time"
9. "The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)"
10. "Baby Driver"

CHRISTINA NEWLAND
1. "Silence"
2. "Mudbound"
3. "Call Me By Your Name"
4. "Dawson City: Frozen Time"
5. "The Florida Project"
6. "Beach Rats"
7. "Strong Island"
8. "Get Out"
9. "A Ghost Story"
10. "The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)"

MICHAL OLESZCZYK
1. "The Death of Louis XIV"
2. "Logan"
3. "The Salesman"
4. "The Florida Project"
5. "Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond"
6. "Manifesto"
7. "The Lure"
8. "All These Sleepless Nights"
9. "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"
10. "Staying Vertical"

JACOB OLLER
1. "Lady Bird"
2. "The Shape of Water"
3. "The Disaster Artist"
4. "Blade Runner 2049"
5. "Dunkirk"
6. "The Florida Project"
7. "The Lost City of Z"
8. "Get Out"
9. "Ingrid Goes West"
10. "Colossal"

NILES SCHWARTZ
1. "Lady Bird"
2. "The Death of Louis XIV"
3. "The Lost City of Z"
4. "Ex Libris"
5. "Wonder Wheel"
6. "Personal Shopper"
7. "Song to Song"
8. "Dunkirk"
9. "Brawl in Cell Block 99"
10. "The Beguiled"

ALLISON SHOEMAKER
1. "Call Me By Your Name"
2. "The Florida Project"
3. "Phantom Thread"
4. "Lady Bird"
5. "Get Out"
6. "I, Tonya"
7. "Raw"
8. "Colossal"
9. "The Big Sick"
10. "Blade Runner 2049"

JUSTINE SMITH
1. "Thelma"
2. "The Killing of a Sacred Deer"
3. "Good Time"
4. "Raw"
5. "Loveless"
6. "The Beguiled"
7. "Paris Can Wait"
8. "The Florida Project" 
9. "John Wick: Chapter 2" 
10. "Ex Libris: The New York Public Library" 

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HMs Best Undistributed in USA: "Bad Genius," "Jeannette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc," "Western," "Maison du bonheur"

BILL STAMETS
"mother!"
"Get Out"
"Ex Libris"
"Potamkin"
"Wormwood"
"Human Flow"
"Wonder Woman"
"Blade Runner 2049" 
"Call Me By Your Name"
"The Killing of a Sacred Deer"

COLLIN SOUTER
1. "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"
2. "A Ghost Story"
3. "Lucky"
4. "Dunkirk"
5. "Your Name."
6. "War for the Planet of the Apes"
7. "The Florida Project"
8. "The Work"
9. "Stronger"
10. "Loveless"

SCOUT TAFOYA
1. "Lady Bird"
2. "The Rider"
3. "The Young Karl Marx"
4. "Call Me By Your Name"
5. "A Cure for Wellness"
6. "Éternité"
7. "Contemporary Color"
8. "Zama"
9. "Coco"
10. "Faces Places"

BRIAN TALLERICO
1. "Call Me By Your Name"
2. "A Ghost Story"
3. "The Florida Project"
4. "The Shape of Water"
5. "Phantom Thread"
6. "Lady Bird"
7. "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"
8. "Columbus"
9. "Jane"
10. "Mudbound"

Runner-ups: "Baby Driver," "The Beguiled," "The Big Sick," "A Cure For Wellness," "Dunkirk," "Good Time," "The Killing of a Sacred Deer," "Logan," "The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)" and "Okja"

KATHERINE TULICH
1. "All the Money in the World"
2. "Star Wars: The Last Jedi"
3. "Coco"
4. "I, Tonya"
5. "Mudbound"
6. "Lady Bird"
7. "Beatriz at Dinner" 
8. "Downsizing"
9. "The Lost City of Z" 
10. "The Big Sick"

ALAN ZILBERMAN
1. "Get Out"
2. "The Work"
3. "Call Me By Your Name"
4. "Graduation"
5. "Win It All"
6. "Columbus"
7. "mother!"
8. "Lady Bird" 
9. "Polina"
10. "The Shape of Water"

ODIE HENDERSON
1. "Mudbound"
Dee Rees’ epic evokes old school Hollywood family-based spectacles like “Giant” while remaining fully grounded in its director’s vision. Armed with the best cast of 2017, Rees’ adaptation of Hillary Jordan’s novel is a blanket of empathy wrapped around a powerful tale of racism, sexism and camaraderie. Even at its darkest moments, "Mudbound" never abandons its stance on compassion and understanding in the hopes that, by interrogating the past, it might prevent history from repeating itself. And Mary J. Blige is a revelation.

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2. "Get Out"
Jordan Peele’s horror satire is as clever as it is fearless. Its biggest strength is putting the audience in the shoes of its protagonist (played superbly by Daniel Kaluuya), a man for whom daily microaggressions suddenly pile up into a massively aggressive nightmare. Allison Williams and Catherine Keener are the co-MVP’s here, crafting unforgettable villainy behind friendly, loving façades. Spectacularly paranoid and scary as hell, "Get Out" is so effective it even introduced unforgettable phrases like “the sunken place” into the cultural lexicon.

3. "Lady Bird"
Greta Gerwig’s assured directorial debut features an excellent Saoirse Ronan as a teenager trying to spread her wings under the watchful, sometimes oppressive gazes of her mother (an equally good Laurie Metcalf) and father (an even better Tracy Letts). Full of funny little moments and dramatic scenes that build to an beautiful final monologue that makes viewers want to call their Moms immediately afterward—or miss them if they’re no longer here.

4. "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"
Frances McDormand is fantastic as an avenging angel who has far too much devil in her to be above reproach. Martin McDonagh’s best screenplay so far plugs McDormand into a story whose characters are quite often not as bad or as good as they originally seem. The film throws its allegiances around from scene to scene and isn’t afraid to be messy or unpopular in its depiction of racism and rape culture. As a political statement, it’s clunky, but as a meditation on revenge and karma, it’s aces.
 
5. "Last Flag Flying"
Richard Linklater’s unfairly maligned semi-sequel to 1973’s "The Last Detail" is expectedly more sentimental than its predecessor, but that doesn’t make it any less effective. The brilliant howls of anger in Hal Ashby’s masterpiece have been replaced by a more simmering, jaded exhaustion, the kind that gets ground into you after years of raging against a machine that’s completely oblivious to your anger. The result adds a layer of begrudged wisdom that only comes with the passage of time. "Last Flag Flying" may be kinder and gentler on the surface, but underneath it’s still just as rebellious, rowdy and pissed off as its predecessor. And Bryan Cranston, Steve Carrell and Laurence Fishburne do solid, touching work.

6. "Faces Places"
Agnes Varda and J.R.’s documentary is the most fun you can have at a documentary in 2017, but don’t let its light, airy feel fool you. There are numerous layers of richness underneath—it seems to get deeper and more introspective as the film unfolds, never once losing its sense of mayhem and flexibility. The unlikely duo of Varda and J.R. mesh seamlessly, and J.R.’s final gift to his co-conspirator makes for one of the year’s most touching endings.

7. "Girls Trip"
The funniest film of 2017, featuring a great script by Kenya Barris and Tracey Oliver, Malcolm D. Lee’s always-reliable direction and a cast that is willing to make fools of themselves in service to an ultimately heartwarming and powerful story of sisterhood. Steering this trip into unbelievably hilarious madness is Tiffany Haddish, whose performance evokes the meticulously orchestrated chaos once wielded by geniuses like Madeline Kahn and Carole Lombard. Haddish is fearless in jaw-dropping ways, never once losing her humanity as she shoots herself into the comedic stratosphere.

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8. "Coco"
Nothing I can say is as good as just going to see this gorgeous looking tale about tradition, family and forging one’s own path. Pixar hits all its usual marks—great music, excellent vocal work and outstanding visuals—plus it earns its tears without manipulation. The only unfortunate thing about it is that it’s saddled with the absolutely atrocious 22 minute short “Elsa and Olaf’s Extremely White Christmas”—I mean “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure.” Arrive at the theater late.

9. "BPM (Beats Per Minute)"
A powerful, timely and extremely moving portrait of the origins of ACT-UP’s French chapter. Director Robin Campillo stacks the early sections with numerous scenes of process that I found fascinating, then pivots the film into something resembling both a celebration and a wake. Running through both sections is an unforgettable love story that’s both tragic and exhilarating.  

10. "Call Me By Your Name"
Timothee Chalamet and Armie Hammer sold me on this love story, which is a tad too old-fashioned for its own good (come on, that pan out the window is ridiculous, guys). And it’s also a bit too enamored of its location. But I cried like a baby at the end, fueled by Chalamet’s last scene and Michael Stuhlbarg’s wonderful monologue, which was filled with words I wish my parents had said to me. To be effective, love stories only need to be about two people whom the audience wants to see fall in love. With that in mind, “Call Me By Your Name” is a success.

SHEILA O'MALLEY
1. "Personal Shopper"
"Personal Shopper," Olivier Assayas' second collaboration with Kristen Stewart, is an eerie ghost story with Stewart's almost otherworldly charisma at the center. The film is a crevasse of fluid boundaries - between life and death, dreams and reality, female-ness and male-ness. In a world of flux, fraught with failures to communicate, dogged by grief, "Personal Shopper" exists in the echoing spaces in between. It's a film I loved watching, but I love thinking about it even more.

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2. "Mudbound"
Dee Rees' "Mudbound," the film adaptation of Hillary Jordan's award-winning novel, is an ensemble film in the truest sense of the word: six of the seven main characters share the narration of this story of two dirt-poor families - one black, one white - farming the muddy land side by side in 1940s rural Mississippi. A harrowing and explosive confrontation with the uglinesses in American life, the long shadow of slavery, the double bind of racism, "Mudbound" features superb performances across the board. It's a character-driven film that feels - and is - epic in scope.

3. "Silence"
Based on the novel by Shûsaku Endô, "Silence" follows two 17th century Jesuits who make the arduous journey from Portugal to Japan - where Christianity has been outlawed - to track down a priest who's fallen off their radar, maybe even gone rogue. The film vibrates with the most agonized questioning, about faith, apostasy, belief, commitment. In the world of "Silence" these issues are quite literally life or death. "Silence" is not the film of a young director, and yet it throbs with the desperate urgency of a restless spirit. "Silence" is a long and difficult film. Martin Scorsese is worth it.

4. "Kedi"
Ceyda Torun's sui generis documentary about the street cat population of Istanbul is one of the pure and unexpected delights of 2017. It's been almost a year since I saw it on its first release, and I still remember each and every cat "profiled." Filmed with intense sensitivity to light and atmosphere, Kedi is a portrait of a community who treats their furry friends with casual and unquestioning kindness. It's magic.

5. "My Happy Family"
This Georgian film, co-directed by In Bloom's Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Groß, tells the story of a raucous intergenerational family, all living in the same apartment, who are thrown into chaos when the matriarch Manana (Ia Shugliashvili), moves out and gets her own place, for no apparent reason (or no reason she is willing to divulge). Filmed with a fraught immediacy, reminiscent of John Cassavetes' films, "My Happy Family" culminates in one of the most unforgettable final shots of the year, rich with tension and ambiguity.

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6. "Lady Bird"
While most coming-of-age tales narrow adolescence down into one or two aspects, "Lady Bird," Greta Gerwig's semi-autobiographical film about a teenager growing up in Sacramento in the early 2000s, allows for the full three-dimensional mess of life. The film's primary focus is the tense roller-coaster relationship between Lady Bird (a wonderful Saorise Ronan) and her anxious mother (Laurie Metcalf), but there's so much else going on: romances, friendships, college applications, financial worries, afterschool activities. Gerwig is a beautifully idiosyncratic and honest actress. The same can be said for her writing and directing.

7. "The Florida Project"
Sean Baker's follow-up to "Tangerine" takes place in a purple-painted motel, populated by members of the almost-permanent American underclass, located in the sprawling outskirts of the tourist trap that is Florida's Walt Disney World. Willem Dafoe gives a deceptively simple performance as Bobby, the manager of the hotel, but the true stars of the film are a trio of wild children, making fun for themselves over summer break, unmonitored, unparented (although not unloved). While "Florida Project" is a brutal critique of America's striated class system, Baker has said he was inspired mainly by Our Gang/The Little Rascals, stories of scrappy independent kids getting in and out scrapes, wreaking innocent havoc. The mischievous humor of the kids in "Florida Project" makes their situation that much more precarious. Danger haunts the periphery. They don't even realize they are neglected. The kids are survivors, beautiful and fragile and strong.

8. "Good Time"
"Good Time," the latest from Benny and Josh Safdie, starts like a bullet shot from a gun, and doesn't let up - in pace or intensity - until the credits roll. By the end, your body is still vibrating as though you've been roller blading for an hour and suddenly you sit down. Connie (Robert Pattinson, in one of the best performances of the year) breaks his mentally disabled brother out of the court-ordered group home he's been put in. Connie's plan is not well-thought-out. Things go wrong immediately, and with each unforeseen complication, new ones arise. Connie must improvise constantly, and he goes from frying pan into fire 20 times over over the course of the film. "Good Time" is relentless from beginning to end.

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9. "Get Out"
In "Get Out," Jordan Peele's astonishing directorial debut, a white woman (Alison Williams) brings her black boyfriend (Daniel Kaluuya) home to meet her parents, assuring him beforehand that he has nothing to worry about, her parents are really cool. It is clear immediately that no, nothing is cool in any way shape or form, and that something is really and truly wrong, out there in that beautiful country house, filled with smiling white people. "Get Out" is truly unnerving, a legitimately frightening horror movie carrying a crushing commentary on race in America.

10. "Phantom Thread"
In their second collaboration, Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Day-Lewis delve into the 1950s world of London couture with "Phantom Thread," the story of a fictional designer named Reynolds Woodcock (Day-Lewis), and his latest "muse," a fresh-faced country girl named Alma (Vicky Krieps), who is moved into his London townhouse, under the disapproving eye of his sister/secretary, a Mrs. Danvers-type, named Cyril (Lesley Mannville). The film is extraordinarily beautiful to look at (the clothes, the decor, the lighting, the camera moves) but it is mainly an extremely unlikely love story between two very eccentric human beings. For all its luscious and tactile surfaces, "Phantom Thread" is a funny and tender film about the secret hurts, losses, hopes, people carry around with them, things they dare not bring out into the light.

Other films I loved, other films I considered putting on my Top 10, and so I feel I must mention them: "Girls Trip," "Sylvio," "Faces Places," "Columbus," "Ingrid Goes West," "Call Me By Your Name," "The Post," "Novitiate," "BPM," "A Quiet Passion," "Rat Film," "Strong Island," "The Meyerowitz Stories," "Song to Song," "Dunkirk"

MATT ZOLLER SEITZ
I don't believe in "good" or "bad" years for movies, because in my experience, declaring a particular year "bad" usually means that the person either didn't see enough movies that year or didn't see the right ones. That being said, it was harder than usual to make a "Best Of" list for 2017 because I saw so many features, fiction and nonfiction, that struck a chord with me, whether they were structurally and formally exceptional or simply intriguing for one reason or another. Because I didn't want to let this list get too unwieldy and verge on "everybody gets a prize" territory, I've given the top slots to the films that inspired the strongest emotional and intellectual reaction in me, and that lodged in my mind more deeply than the others. Then after that, you'll find a list of movies that resonated with me strongly and that I'd definitely watch again should I have the opportunity.

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1. "Lucky" 
I didn't expect much more than indie-film quirk when I read the description of this film, but emotionally it destroyed me. As I said in my original review, it's easily the most laid-back deep movie I saw in 2017: an entire feature about coming to terms with the inevitability of death, starring one of the all-time great character actors in his final lead role, the camera doing as much as the screenplay to tell the character's story, often simply by staring into his deeply lined face and watching him argue with people at a bar, smoke, listen to music, and do calisthenics in his underwear. If there were a little movie theater somewhere that showed nothing but this film, I might ask the owner if I could live there, maybe sleep in the back on a little cot near the shelves of popcorn and Twizzlers. Harry Dean Stanton could not have asked for a better sendoff. 

2. "First They Killed My Father" 
One of the greatest films about war ever made, as well as one of the best films about childhood. Kudos also to director Angelina Jolie for insisting on having all of the characters speak in their native language with subtitles instead of in English with a vaguely "Asian" accent, and for refusing to contrive a way to bring Westerners into the narrative for box office purposes. All international coproductions should have this level of integrity. And the filmmaking was exceptional. I can't imagine a frame of this film being better, only different.

3. "Get Out" 
I'm already seeing a bit of season backlash against first-time feature director Jordan Peele's unexpected smash hit, a horror-comedy-satire about a black man meeting his white girlfriend's parents. But I think it's an instant classic that richly deserved all the acclaim it got, as well as its box office success. It put into words and images the emotional experience that a lot of people have in this circumstance but never get to see explored in a movie, and the sheer precision with which Peele presents the film's ludicrous situations is breathtaking to see. This feels like a fourth or fifth movie, not a debut. And it's so damned much fun, despite the story's unsettling implications, that if you stumble onto it while flipping cable channels you'll probably end up watching the whole thing again, no matter where you entered the story.

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4. "A Ghost Story" 
David Lowery's uncategorizeable supernatural drama spans time and space and asks spiritual and philosophical questions rarely posed in cinema today. I had no idea where he was going with the story, and not only did every new development knock me for a loop, the filmmaking did as well. Total control of performance, image, sound and music. 

5. "Mudbound" 
Two veterans adjust to life back home in Mississippi, a place where family loyalty and community feeling are matched by roiling undercurrents of racism, exploitation and class resentment. Director/cowriter Dee Rees juggles a large ensemble cast and a lot of story in a short amount of time yet never loses track of the deeper issues, or shortchanges those fleeting moments of characterization that make a film stick in your mind.

6. "Phantom Thread" 
Daniel Day-Lewis' farewell (supposedly!) to acting is also a throwback to a particularly distinctive period of international art house cinema, when Merchant-Ivory were making costume dramas about tightly-wound, tradition-obsessed Brits that seemed genteel on first glance but had a much darker edge one you stared at them for a bit. Writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson, who served as his own uncredited cinematographer here, has made a film in the vein of "Inherent Vice," totally in command of the medium yet never ostentatious or overbearing. It has a light touch, like the performances of piano-centered classical music heard on the soundtrack throughout. It gets stranger and more delightful as it goes along. I'm still on the fence about whether it ends in the perfect place or whether it was only getting warmed up, but the whole is so surprising that I really don't care to figure out the answer.

7. "In Transit" 
The final film by the great documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles (with four collaborators!) consists of nothing more than a series of conversations and observations taken on a train that's crossing a large swath of the United States. More so than most features, fiction or nonfiction, it gives you a powerful sense of what life is like in this country in the second decade of the twenty-first century, even as its subjects (I'm tempted to call them characters) lay out thumbnail accounts of lives and predicaments so rich that each could serve as the basis of its own short story. Anybody who's ever ridden in a train for long distances will want to see this movie. 

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8. "Coco" 
I keep thinking that Pixar has no more tricks up its sleeve, but then they go and make a film like "Coco," a warm and loving film with a child hero that nevertheless has valuable things to say about how death is a part of life, and loss a part of experience. The unusual nature of the subject matter (this is Pixar's first film set in Mexico, and steeped in a particular kind of Catholic iconography) has gotten most of the attention thus far, deservedly so, but I hope at some point it'll be properly appreciated for its storytelling, which owes a lot to the original "Back to the Future" and mixes suspense, physical comedy, satire, mystery and sentiment with the same exuberant confidence. It's also a tear-producing machine, like you didn't already know. 

9. "Okja" 
Bong Joon-Ho's film about a genetically engineered pig and the little girl who loves her mixed the conventions of a lot of seemingly incompatible genres, including the corporate thriller, the social satire, the heist picture and the child-and-pet melodrama, and produced one of the year's most original and moving features. It gets very, very dark as it goes along, but you may ultimately appreciate how the movie doesn't sugarcoat what's happening or what it means. Survival is the only real victory at the end; the film leaves you feeling that there's still a daunting amount of work to be done, and that makes "Okja" feel eerily realistic despite its fantastic images.

10. "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" 
Just read the review here.

Honorable Mentions:
"Alien: Covenant"
"Atomic Blonde"
"Baby Driver"
"Blade Runner 2049"
"The Breadwinner"
"The Beguiled"
"Call Me By Your Name"
"Dunkirk"
"Ex Libris"
"Faces Places"
"The Florida Project"
"Lady Bird"
"Logan"
"Logan Lucky"
"Lost City of Z"
"A Quiet Passion"
"Personal Shopper"
"The Salesman"
"The Shape of Water"
"Trophy"
"Wonder Woman"

PETER SOBCZYNSKI
Like many other film critics, I suspect, I have tried to figure out if there was any possible way to justify the inclusion of David Lynch’s jaw-dropping “Twin Peaks” revival on my list of the ten best films of 2017. But I was stymied by the fact that, save for the screening of the first couple of episodes at Cannes, it never actually played in movie theaters. Oh well—even after setting that one to the side as the pop cultural even of the year, there were still plenty of amazing films from which to choose. Below, please find my ten favorites, along with mentions of a couple of the things that made them stand out for me.

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1. "Phantom Thread" 
For Paul Thomas Anderson’s dead-on observations of the astonishing array of things that people can get away with in the name of both the artistic process and white male privilege. For the way in which Daniel Day Lewis, in supposedly his last screen performance as a celebrated Fifties-era dressmaker, goes out with a tour de force completely bereft of the affectations that he has utilized through the majority of his career and which relative newcomer Vicky Krieps, playing his latest lover and muse, more than hold her own against him throughout. 

2. "Personal Shopper"
For the way that Assayas subtly shifts from an old fashioned ghost story narrative to a contemporary take in which a series of texts can be as creepy as creaking floorboards. For the way that Kristen Stewart keeps the story on track with what is by far the best performance of her career. For the final moments, which will inspire heated debates among movie lovers for years to come.

3. "The Beguiled" 
For the way that Coppola transformed the extended castration nightmare that was the Don Siegel original into a dreamy, creepy and darkly funny fairy tale about female empowerment as personal and nuanced as any of the other entries in her already extraordinary filmography. For the strong ensemble work by Nicole Kidman as the head of a nearly abandoned Civil War-era girl’s school, Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning as some of her charges and Colin Farrell as the deserter who is taken in by them and makes the fatal mistake of believing himself to be the fox given admittance into the henhouse. For the mushrooms. 

4. "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets" 
For Besson presenting viewers with an all-too-rare depiction of the future that is not the kind of dystopian nightmare favored by most filmmakers these days. For some of the most thrilling and delightful set pieces to be seen in any recent genre film (with the spellbinding opening sequence and the thrilling multi-dimensional market chase the best of the bunch), ones that actually justified the 3-D upgrade. For the indelible and eyebrow-raising presence of Cara Delevingne as the newest in what will hopefully be a long line of kick-ass female action heroes.

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5. "Lady Bird" 
For the opening sequence in the car that is perhaps the single funniest scene of any film this year. For the knockout performances by Saroise Ronan as a teen girl determined to break away from the humdrum existence that she has a secret affection for, Laurie Metcalfe as her equally headstrong mother and Tracey Letts as the loving father and husband caught between them. For Gerwig, whose work as an actress has generally inspired reactions in me normally brought about by fingernails on the blackboard, who has made me at least partially eat my words by making a film so funny, heartfelt and entertaining that I cannot wait to see what she does next—behind the camera, that is.  

6. "Get Out" 
For writer/director Peele giving viewers perhaps the most audacious blend of low-budget horror and social satire since the heyday of Larry Cohen. For being a film that deftly channeled the attitudes towards race and class that were in the air into something completely of the moment while doing it in a sleek and sturdy cinematic matter that it will no doubt continue to feel fresh and vital decades from now. For perhaps the year’s most completely satisfying ending, bar none.

7. "Blade Runner 2049" 
For somehow managing to live up to both the ideas and themes of the original 1982 classic and the subsequent 35 years of expectations and speculations over what a follow-up might entail. For the way that Villeneuve and company made a film that was undeniably a part of the “Blade Runner” universe while still striking out on its own with an equally absorbing mixture of a heady narrative and mind-blowing visual effects. For the genuine thrill that was generated the moment that Harrison Ford finally made his reappearance in one of his most iconic roles.

8. "Dunkirk" 
For the inventive ways in which Nolan manipulated the time structure in order to properly explore the various factions that took part in the rescue of thousands of British soldiers trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk, France. For his ability to tell a story that recounts the events in a decidedly intimate manner (without resorting to mindless melodrama) even as they are presented on the largest scale imaginable. For serving as yet another reminder of the absolute glory to be had from watch a film presented in the miracle of 70MM.

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9. "The Post" 
For Spielberg managing to make a film that is ostensibly a history lesson but which could not feel more timely and for doing it without rubbing it in the noses of viewers. For painting a portrait of the importance of a free press that, like “All the President’s Men” before it, is so stirring that it could single-handedly bump up enrollment in journalism classes even as the newspaper industry itself seems to be in the throes of a death spiral. For the awe-inspiring shot of Meryl Streep (who, as Katherine Graham, hasn’t been this good or engaging in years) walking down the ... nah, I think I will let you discover it for yourselves.

10. "Princess Cyd" 
For taking one of the hoariest of narrative cliches—a restless teenager coming of age over the course of one summer—and making it feel truly fresh and alive by ignoring all the obvious cliches and approaching the material in a startlingly direct and thoughtful manner. For the utterly endearing performances by Jessie Pinnick as the aforementioned teenager, Rebecca Spence as the aunt who both inspires and is inspired by her and Malic White as the slightly older barista that she becomes enraptured with over the course of the summer. For being the rare film shot in Chicago that has a genuine feel for the neighborhoods without resorting to the usual cliche shots of the most famous landmarks. For being the one film on this list that you have most likely not seen or even heard of, meaning that you have no excuse but to check it out right now.

For the record, #11 is a ten-way tie between (in alphabetical order): “Alien: Covenant,” “Call Me By Your Name,” “Colossal,” “The Florida Project,” “I, Tonya,” “Logan Lucky,” “Raw,” “The Shape of Water,” “Stronger” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” 

SUSAN WLOSZCZYNA
After making my choices, I realized that every one of my picks felt like the cinematic equivalent to a cleansing spritz of air freshener for the soul-depleting stench of 2017 politics. Plus, five of my 10 choices just happen to be directed by women.

1. “The Florida Project” 
A topical subject—struggling underclass s on the fringes of society—is filtered through the eyes of children blessed with feral  and fertile imaginations. Add to that a quietly heroic role for the under-appreciated but always compelling Willem Dafoe as a humble do-gooder manager of a cheap hotel populated by a transient clientele. And that concluding scene? Best of the year.

2. “Three Billboards Outside Billing, Missouri” 
Why did it take two decades to give France McDormand her first knockout film role since "Fargo" as a vindictive firebrand bent on finding the man who raped and killed her daughter? Sexism and racism run rampant and yet writer/director Martin McDonough manages to avoid simplistic heroes and villains scenario by exposing our shared flawed humanity.

3. “Lady Bird” 
Not since “Pretty in Pink” has a coming-of-age story captured my heart so completely with a Saoirse Ronan-led ensemble cast that is practically perfect in every way. May Greta Gerwig direct her own scripts unto eternity and thank you for the communion wafer chow-down scene.

4. “The Post” 
It had me at newsroom vacuum tubes, hot type, a copy editor who crosses out the first five words or so of a reporter’s windy lead, a John Williams score that turns the printing of the Pentagon Papers into a thriller and, especially, Katherine Graham in a flowy caftan making the biggest decision of her career. May Hanks and Streep team up again—and soon. Plus, long live the First Amendment!

5. “I, Tonya” 
Few dark comedies, especially ones that attempt to re-evaluate a disgraced Olympic-grade figure skater, would dare to present such a nakedly explicit portrait of a victim of domestic abuse both as a child and a spouse. Not that it fully excuses Tonya Harding from her part in the hit on rival Nancy Kerrigan. Yet the onetime national punchline is at least partly redeemed by her ability to survive her life.

6. “Mudbound”  
Talk about relevant. Seeing this film set in deeply segregated Jim Crow-era Mississippi during World War II post-Charlottesville is unsettling as it can get. Writer/director Dee Rees’ tale of two struggling families, one black and one white might unfold in the past. But its power as a much-needed reminder that we are still mud-bound by our history of bigotry and misogyny is many fold.

7. “Their Finest” 
Any Bill Nighy movie is a must-see. But there is much more to cheer about in this dramedy set in a blitz-bombed London at the start of World War II. The focus is on female scribes who stayed behind while their men fought overseas and took jobs producing scripts for big-screen morale boosters. It is rah-rah both about love and war for all the right reasons. Besides kicking off this year’s Dunkirk obsession, it also allowed Danish director Lone Scherfig to prove “An Education” was no fluke. 

8. “Beatriz at Dinner” 
Not to be too Larry King-ish, but look up “spitfire” in the dictionary and you will likely find a picture of Salma Hayek. But she turns her innate heat to a simmer in this Trump-era fable as an empath-like Mexican-born masseuse in L.A. who butts heads with an ingratiating yet vile real-estate tycoon (John Lithow) during an upscale dinner party. The verbal fireworks that result are scorching.  

9. “My Happy Family” 
Just like 2013’s “Gloria,” a Chilean-Spanish import, this Georgian effort warmly reminded me of ‘70s films that celebrated female liberation from the bonds of male-dominated domesticity such as “An Unmarried Woman.” Ia Shughliashvili is terrific as late-blooming matriarch Manana as she secretly plots her escape from her unappreciative and smothering extended brood.

10. “Wonder Woman” 
It wasn’t the usual conflict between good vs. evil that consumes most superhero movies that made me love the big-screen solo debut of this comic-book Amazonian princess. In addition to Gal Gadot’s grace in action as she turned every fight scene in a balletic showcase, what moved me to tears was the compassion she showed during the No Man’s Land sequence where she defied male companions to rescue innocent villagers caught in the crossfire of a World War I battle. Thanks, director Patty Jenkins, for allowing empathy to be a greater force than brutality for once.  
 

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