The Best Movies You Missed in 2017
Every year more movies hit theaters than any sane person could ever hope to try to see. Yet we here at WIRED are crazy enough to try to see as many as we can. And in the process we often catch films that might fall under the radar (or just get overlooked in lieu of a second, or third, viewing of Thor: Ragnarok or Star Wars: The Last Jedi). To ensure you don't go into 2018 without knowing what you might need to catch up on—or at least to give you a few suggestions for holiday-break streaming—we've assembled a short list of some of the best lesser-known movies of 2017. Check 'em out. You won't be sorry. We promise.
The Big Sick
Folks who only know Kumail Nanjiani as Dinesh on Silicon Valley are seriously missing out. The Big Sick, which he co-wrote with his real-life wife Emily V. Gordon about her real-life diagnosis with adult-onset Still's disease, is far better than anything he's ever done on TV. Centered on a handful of days Nanjiani's future spouse was in a medically induced coma, it's a wonderful comedy about what happens when you get thrown into a life-or-death situation with the parents of someone you just started dating. It's as awkward as it is heart-wrenching—but what it says about the human capacity to care for people in their worst moments will stick with you for a while.
Say what you want about Kristen Stewart (just maybe don’t say it around me unless you want to get side-eyed), she emotes like no one else. In Personal Shopper, a movie about a young woman trying to psychically reconnect with her dead twin brother, she had very few scene partners, save for a boyfriend who Skypes it in and a (possibly haunted) iPhone—and it's some of the best work she's ever done. Her quiet intensity and subtle anxiety never worked more in her favor, especially in the movie’s final moments. Director Olivier Assayas got a wonderful performance out of Stewart in Clouds of Sils Maria, but Personal Shopper is their best collaboration yet.
Call Me By Your Name
Love has never looked as sweet as it does in Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me by Your Name. Set in a remote northern Italian village in 1983, CMBYN painfully recreates the summer 17-year-old Elio (Timothée Chalamet) falls for his professor father’s research assistant, Oliver (Armie Hammer). Based on the novel by André Aciman and shot with the pace of falling sunlight, Guadagnino’s film recreates falling for someone in all of its thrilling and fragile perfection. You don’t watch CMBYN so much as luxuriate in the fact it’s happening in front of you. And when it’s over, like your first love, you’ll remember everything.
Haters be damned, Darren Aronofsky's weird bible-story-cum-environmental-allegory was one of the most fascinating things to hit theaters this year. Admittedly, it wasn't for everyone, but for those who like their religion pilloried and their Jennifer Lawrence performances cranked up to 11, it was perfect—and a helluva fun thing to fight about at parties. What more could you want?
It’s depressingly easy to forget just how urgent and revolutionary the response was to the AIDS crisis in the 1980s and ‘90s. Thankfully, Robin Campillo’s film snaps it right back into focus. Set in Paris in the early ‘90s, it follows a group of ACT UP activists as they struggle to take care of each other and take on the pharmaceutical companies who hold their lives in their hands. It’s as inspiring as it is heartbreaking. But what makes BPM so powerful is its ability to transcend all of that and actually be a thing of beauty—a celebration of community and hope in the most dire of circumstances set to a soundtrack that beats with the rhythm of joy.
The Florida Project
We've been big fans of Sean Baker ever since he shot an entire critically acclaimed feature on his an iPhone. But he topped the brilliance of Tangerine with The Florida Project—a brightly-hued tale about a young mother named Halley (played by electric newcomer Bria Vinaite) struggling to raise her daughter in a Walt Disney World-adjacent Orlando motel. Like Baker's other films, it's mostly a character-study—there are no big plot arcs, at least not until the very end—but the way the director lets you hang out with the people he puts onscreen, espeically Halley's daughter Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) and hotel manager Bobby (Willem Dafoe), is deeply affecting. You won't know why, but you won't be able to take your eyes off of them.
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