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25 Reasons to Love the Movies in 2017

From amazing directorial debuts to ‘Dunkirk,’ offbeat docs to Daniel Day-Lewis – the films, performances and moments that made the year in movies

25 things we loved about the movies

25 reasons to love the movies in 2017 – Rolling Stone's picks for best performances, blockbusters, directorial debuts and movie moments of the year.

Illustration by Sean McCabe

There were a lot of reasons to hate the movie industry in 2017, from the way it kept foisting reheated-leftover franchises on us to finally finding out just how much enabling it’s given to sexual predators and power-abusing monsters for decades. 

There were, however, a lot of reasons to love the movies over the last 12 months, even if this was an art form that gave us both a parody of dark, bloated Batman blockbusters and an actual dark, bloated caped-crusader adventure in a single year. We will remember 2017 as the Reckoning era and the age of the Female Gaze, but also the year of Get Out and Greta Gerwig, of existential ghosts and extraordinary docs, of saying hello to Timothée Chalamet and Tiffany Haddish and goodbye to Daniel Day-Lewis. 

There was, in fact, a lot that was worth shouting out about the films of 2017 that went beyond just a mere top 10 list (though I’ve included one below just for posterity’s sake). Here are 25 things we loved about the movies this year – from great works to standout moments, career-high performances to big-picture revolutions and small touches. Keep watching.

My Top 10 list:
1. Faces Places
2. Dunkirk
3. Raw
4. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
5. B.P.M. (Beats Per Minute)
6. Lady Bird
Phantom Thread
8. Lady Macbeth
9. Columbus
10. A Quiet Passion

Honorable mentions: All These Sleepless Nights, Call Me By Your Name, A Fantastic Woman, The Florida Project, Foxtrot, Get Out, Logan, Molly’s Game, Rat Film, The Work.

25 things we loved about the movies

That Sudden Left Turn in ‘A Ghost Story’

We don’t want to give away exactly how David Lowery’s cerebral, soulful, achingly beautiful tale of a man (Casey Affleck), a woman (Rooney Mara) and a filmmaker gambling that you’ll go along with watching someone in a crude Halloween costume for most of a movie takes a midway detour into uncharted territory – suffice to say, it does not involve eating a whole pie in a single shot. (That happens earlier.) What we will say is that the movie suddenly widens its scope in a way that had us audibly saying, “Whoa”; that it made us rethink this entire mediation on grief and memory; and that we were tempted to start clapping in the theater. If you’ve seen it, you know what we’re talking about. If not, check it out. Sheet happens.

25 things we loved about the movies


There’s a scene in the visual-essayist-turned-filmmaker Kogonada’s directorial debut in which Haley Lu Richardson, a college student in Columbus, Indiana, takes a visitor – Star Trek‘s John Cho – to a local architectural wonder. She gives him tour guide’s spiel. He interrupts her: But why does it move you? We then watch Richardson begin to explain, emphatically, what it is about this particular building that gives her such an emotional reaction; because the director switches angles and films her from behind the residence’s window, we never hear what she says. Some folks have criticized the sequence, saying it’s another female character denied the chance to speak. But you could also look at the scene from the perspective that the answer itself is not what matters – it’s that someone actually bothered to ask this young woman what she thinks. It’s moments like that one that have kept us thinking about this deceptively spare character study, a small film about connecting that left a gigantic impact on how we thought about the art form in 2017. Any year that gave us a movie like this could not have been all bad.

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