Editor’s Note: This list was made subjectively and done by the reporter who viewed these films in the time available to them. Not every film from the year was seen, including those that received a limited release in select cities.
10. Wind River
There were few more gruesome films released in 2017 than “Wind River.” Telling the story of a murdered woman and the hunt to find her killers, the film sheds light on the brutal conditions of impoverished Native American reservations and the meaning of true justice.
9. The Shape of Water
To say “The Shape of Water” is just a monster movie would be a criminal understatement. The film tackles numerous topics, including prejudice during the Cold War. With a silent, standout performance from Sally Hawkins, this monster flick says more than you’d expect.
Director Kathryn Bigelow has proven herself yet again with “Detroit,” the story of the 1967 riots that shook the city and the fatal events that unfolded in an annex of the Algiers Motel. Strong performances and a true attention to detail make “Detroit” not just great entertainment, but necessary.
7. The Big Sick
2017 was full of unconventional films, but it’s hard to beat the story of a Pakistani comedian meeting his future wife’s parents after she falls into a coma. “The Big Sick” is a warm, honest and hilarious film that explores an unconventional approach to modern romance.
Seventeen years of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine have culminated in a farewell film for a character loved by both critics and die-hard fans. “Logan” rises above the other comic book films this year for its harsh realness and a moving performance by Jackman.
5. Lady Bird
It’s hard to recall any film that’s ever delved into the complicated but warm relationship between mothers and daughters like “Lady Bird.” Writer/director Greta Gerwig has created a hilarious, heartfelt film impossible to hate.
4. Baby Driver
The breakout movie of the summer, “Baby Driver,” has everything you could want from a June film: well-edited action, a marvelous soundtrack and a chemical-filled romance. Edgar Wright makes a comeback behind-the-camera to deliver a smart and edgy heist film.
3. Call Me by Your Name
Brilliant lead performances and sensitive direction from Italian filmmaker Luca Guadagnino makes “Call Me by Your Name” not just an emotionally arresting gay romance, but a brilliant romance, period. The film transcends sexuality to communicate the joys and hardships of a young summer love to all audiences.
2. Get Out
With just his first film, writer/director Jordan Peele has cemented himself as an ingenious talent behind the screen. Tackling the complicated topic of race head on, “Get Out” stands out from the crowd of horror films not just of this year, but of all time. The film is smart, insightful and, above all, terrifying.
1. Blade Runner 2049
A lot of sci-fi films ask big questions. Are we alone in the universe? What does it mean to be human? “Blade Runner 2049” sets itself apart from and above others in this genre by asking completely new questions, and answering them. Director Denis Villeneuve strikes cinema gold yet again with a sequel to a sci-fi classic that outdoes the original. With its show-stopping visuals and a captivating story, “2049” makes a grand statement about what it means to be a human being.