In looking back at the first half of the year, the best movies of 2017 are largely ones that defy easy categorization. Whether it was the superhero blockbuster that felt more like a Western or a musical masquerading as action, these films don’t fit neatly into genre boxes. Instead, they’re movies that remind us of what the medium can do. Some are huge hits, a few barely made a blip at the box office, and others are challenging how movies should be seen. But what they all have in common is they’re the films I kept thinking about days after I left the theater.
See the best of what’s on streaming free on Tubi TV in our Highly Rated on Rotten Tomatoes category.
The Best Movies of 2017 (So Far)
Jordan Peele’s directorial debut could land on a best-of list for either horror or comedy. In Get Out, a black photographer meets his white girlfriend’s family for the first time, and it will make you feel much better about your own in-laws. This social satire has plenty to say about race in America, but it also manages to be truly terrifying and hilarious at every turn.
Now this is a superhero movie. This X-Men film may not have the fate of the world on its shoulders like so many of its comic book brethren, but there are real stakes here. We feel every emotion of Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, and Dafne Keen, but it also features some brutal action scenes that leave you breathless.
A giant monster attacking Seoul is somehow the least weird thing about this genre bender. Anne Hathaway plays a woman whose trip back to her hometown proves unexpectedly eventful. Written and directed by Nacho Vigalondo, Colossal defies expectations.
Julia Ducournau’s directorial debut is disturbing and disgusting, but it’s impossible to look away from – or stop thinking about. This French horror film finds a vegetarian craving human flesh, and it is unflinching it its approach to violence and intimacy.
Azazel Jacobs’ latest explores a marriage at once in its death throes and completely revitalized. Debra Winger and Tracy Letts play a couple on the verge of divorce who suddenly find themselves in secret relationship with each other. The Lovers is sweet, sexy, and sad in equal measures, and it feels completely authentic.
The Big Sick
Critics have been sounding the death knell for romantic comedies for a while, but this one is the best the genre has offered in years. With a script based on a true story, Kumail Nanjiani plays a version of himself who is struggling with his relationship with Emily (Zoe Kazan). Achingly romantic and truly funny, The Big Sick is a crowd-pleasing gem.
It Comes at Night
More about mood and dread than jump scares, this post-apocalyptic horror explores the worst of humanity when humanity is experiencing the worst. Joel Edgerton, Carmen Ejogo, and Kelvin Harrison play an isolated family after an epidemic, and their life is shaken up by the arrival of newcomers.
The first half of this Netflix film is about as cuddly an animal friendship story you can imagine, while the second half is unsettling. Okja is named for a corporate engineered “super pig,” who bonds with a young girl. Bong Joon-ho has previously made The Host and Snowpiercer, and this combination of adventure and sci-fi could have only been made by him.
For a drama set in a Civil-War-wrecked South, Sofia Coppola’s film is surprisingly fun. The Beguiled finds a wounded Union soldier (Colin Farrell) nursed by the staff and students of an all-girls school in Virginia. The ever-shifting dynamics between Farrell’s character and his caretakers (including Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, and Elle Fanning) keep the audience on edge. Meanwhile Coppola’s mastery with visuals keeps their eyes glued to the screen.
Edgar Wright is a master of both action and comedy, and this heist picture is the director at his peak. Ansel Elgort plays a young getaway driver, and the film supplies some of the most invigorating action sequences of this decade. The way that Wright incorporates songs is the real joy here, with a soundtrack that serves as far more than just background music.
Honorable Mentions: A United Kingdom, John Wick: Chapter 2, Lego Batman, T2: Trainspotting, The Bad Batch, Personal Shopper
What are the best movies of 2017 that you’ve seen? Tell us in the comments.