Best films of 2017: More lists!

It’s hard to pick clear favorites from the latest roundup of the last year’s best films according to my circle of Christian friends and peers.

SDG Original source: National Catholic Register

Each year, after cataloguing my own annual top films list but before the Oscars, I take stock of the year’s top films according to a small circle of friends and peers in the world of Christian cinephiles and film writers.

In recent years, our picks have converged around a few outstanding films. In 2016, Silence dominated our lists, followed by Cameraperson and Paterson (my top three films that year). Nothing else came close. The year before, Mad Max: Fury Road, Spotlight, and Inside Out were head and shoulders above everything else.

This year, our picks are more diffuse. Perhaps it was the movies. There are always good movies, but for me, in contrast to recent years, no one of my top three or four films absolutely demanded to be my top pick (see my top films of 2017). Perhaps I wasn’t the only one who felt that way.

Some observations:

  • Two films, Dunkirk and Lady Bird, were picked as the top film of 2017 on two lists below. No other film made the no. 1 slot more than once.
  • No film was named more often than The Florida Project, which appears on seven lists. Right on its heels, though, are five films that were picked six times. In ranked order, they are: Graduation (my no. 1 film), Personal Shopper, Dunkirk (my no. 3), Get Out (for me a runner-up), and A Quiet Passion.
  • One film, Mother!, appears on five lists, followed by six films named four times. In ranked order: Lady Bird, Phantom Thread, The Salesman (a runner-up for me), The Unknown Girl (another runner-up), The Lost City of Z, and Columbus (honorable mention).
  • Finally, two films appear on three lists: Mudbound (my no. 2 film) and The Breadwinner (a runner-up).

Each of these lists reflects the choices of a film writer who writes from a perspective of Catholic or Protestant faith and who has some kind of connection to religious media and/or the Arts & Faith community. (Each year names come and go.)

That doesn’t mean I endorse or agree with all the choices below; I have significant moral reservations or objections regarding a few of them. But I appreciate the thought and passion behind all these lists, and in some cases I’ve been challenged to take a second look at a film that didn’t grab me on my first viewing.

More Lists, You're the Top