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TMW's 25 Best Movies Of 2017 So Far

The best movies we've seen in the first half of 2017.







We're almost halfway through 2017 so it's time to reflect on the cinematic treats we've been offered so far this year. Below are the 25 movies that have most impressed us in 2017, listed in alphabetical order (we'll save numerical rankings for our end of year list).



20th Century Women
25 Best Movies Of 2017 So Far
We said: "20th Century Women is a collage of culture, but the nostalgia for a lost era takes a backseat to another type of nostalgia, one based in blood, that of writer-director Mike Mills' feelings for his late mother. A career best Annette Bening is the heart of the movie, portrayed as an angelic figure, but one with very grounded, human concerns."



A Dark Song
25 Best Movies Of 2017 So Far
We said: "It's clear writer-director Liam Gavin is a cinephile, as his film contains subtle nods to genre movies of the past that never feel like the filmmaker is winking at fans, but he's also interested in using the horror genre to ask some existential and spiritual questions."



A Quiet Passion
25 Best Movies Of 2017 So Far
We said: "The wit of Terence Davies' script and the tragedy of Emily Dickinson's situation will draw tears of joy and sorrow. It's a fitting tribute to a figure who continues to inspire young women to this day, and should be required viewing for all teenage girls."



After the Storm
25 Best Movies Of 2017 So Far
We said: "After the Storm may not quite hit the peaks of the director's recent modern masterpieces, but even second tier Koreeda is essential cinema, and any opportunity to witness Kirin Kiki's wonderfully wrinkled face break into a smile is worth seizing."



Certain Women
25 Best Movies Of 2017 So Far
We said: "Certain Women creates a discomforting feeling of voyeurism, like stumbling ill-equipped into someone else's emotional breakdown. You'll likely find something here that strikes a chord, if perhaps an unwanted or unacknowledged one."



Christine
25 Best Movies Of 2017 So Far
We said: "Rebecca Hall really is sublime here, her criminally overlooked performance yet another reason to dismiss the relevance of the Oscars. It's the most depressing episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show you'll ever see."



Clash
25 Best Movies Of 2017 So Far
We said: "The obvious western parallel for Clash might be something like Sidney Lumet's Twelve Angry Men, but it excises the idea that one voice can make a difference. Here, in the dankness and darkness of Diab's mobile cage, a single voice struggles to be heard, let alone listened to."



Elle
25 Best Movies Of 2017 So Far
We said: "Elle is a classy, intelligent, female-driven sexual thriller with slight flavours of satire - a film that manages to be deftly entertaining while asking dead serious questions at the same time."



The Fits
25 Best Movies Of 2017 So Far
We said: "Anna Rose Holmer's film is a genuine oddity. It's part horror movie, part high school comedy, part coming of age musical."



Harmonium
25 Best Movies Of 2017 So Far
We said: "Koji Fukada's film is one you'll find yourself haunted by for a considerable time after viewing, as it refuses to wrap itself up neatly. Like its distraught protagonists, Harmonium cruelly leaves us seeking emotional closure."



Heaven Knows What
25 Best Movies Of 2017 So Far
We said: "With no happy ending and a steadfast refusal by the filmmakers to provide any subjective commentary on their characters' life choices, Heaven Knows What may prove a shock to the system of viewers whose only experience of screen depictions of the destitute and drug-addicted comes from the sort of vanity projects in which Hollywood stars patronise the subject."



Inversion
25 Best Movies Of 2017 So Far
We said: "Behnam Behzadi, like many of his Iranian contemporaries, likely set out to address the treatment of women in his country, but remove the headscarves and this is a universal scenario."



John Wick: Chapter Two
25 Best Movies Of 2017 So Far
We said: "Much of the action of this sequel takes place in art galleries, and the film is something of an art installation itself. Often resembling a boutique men's magazine come to life, John Wick: Chapter Two puts a metrosexual spin on a macho genre."



Lady Macbeth
25 Best Movies Of 2017 So Far
We said: "For an adaptation of a work of 19th century literature, William Oldroyd's film is commendably light on dialogue, as the director spins his story in a cinematic fashion, all subtle gestures, wicked smiles and nervous frowns."



Lion
25 Best Movies Of 2017 So Far
We said: "After our screening of Lion, the gents' bathroom was filled with men splashing water across their faces in an attempt to remove any evidence that Garth Davis's movie had induced the sort of bawling you might expect from a bobby-soxer at an early Sinatra gig."



Logan
25 Best Movies Of 2017 So Far
We said: "If the rumours of Logan representing Hugh Jackman's final donning of the adamantium claws are to be believed, then he's going out on a high, as James Mangold's film is arguably the best superhero movie of the century."



The Lost City of Z
25 Best Movies Of 2017 So Far
We said: "At 140 minutes, The Lost City of Z justifies its running time. It's a banquet of a movie, a visual feast that also provides plenty of food for thought. If James Gray's reach has exceeded his grasp here, it's a compliment to both his ambition and his talent."



The Love Witch
25 Best Movies Of 2017 So Far
We said: "It's a uniquely singular vision (as well as writing and directing, Anna Biller produced, scored, edited, and designed the sets, costume and general production of her film), one that leaves you in no doubt that its creator loves cinema, and is determined to leave her own mark on its history."



Moonlight
25 Best Movies Of 2017 So Far
We said: "Barry Jenkins creates a complex portrait of an individual; we see how Chiron’s quietness as a kid stems from shyness, how his quietness as a teen stems from fear, and how his quietness as an adult allows him to survey and internalise his environment. He’s a full-blooded character, and it’s a moving experience to watch him grow."




Patriots Day
25 Best Movies Of 2017 So Far
We said: "Earlier in his directing career, Peter Berg was compared unfavourably to Michael Bay, but with this and last year's Deepwater Horizon, he's proven himself a skilled craftsman."



The Shepherd
25 Best Movies Of 2017 So Far
We said: "The economic implications of post-credit crunch Spain are integral to The Shepherd’s subtle, simmering drama, which takes its time to establish its protagonist’s calm actuality with elegant panoramic photography and gentle, non-causal sequences."



The Student
25 Best Movies Of 2017 So Far
We said: "Watching the excellent acting duo of Pyotr Skvortsov and Victoria Isakova engage in these heated philosophical debates, shot in extended unbroken takes, is as thrilling as it is frustrating."



Tomato Red
25 Best Movies Of 2017 So Far
We said: "If Jim Jarmusch's recent Paterson is a joyous celebration of the mundanity of working class life, Tomato Red is a scream of discontent silenced in a canyon. It explores class division in a way that's jarring for an American movie."



Toni Erdmann
25 Best Movies Of 2017 So Far
We said: "The film is mostly deeply engrossing, and whatever flaws it has are more than compensated for by the brilliant work that director Maren Ade, and stars Peter Simonischek, and Sandra Huller sustain for the vast majority of this funny, deeply intelligent film."



The Transfiguration
25 Best Movies Of 2017 So Far
We said: "Tender, touching and tragic, The Transfiguration gives the vampire drama a much needed transfusion. Like so many classical gothic horror stories, it's a tale of doomed love, and the romance is so tangible it makes the impending tragedy all the more impactful."



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