The 15 best films of 2017 (…so far) from Australia and around the world

The first half of the year has been filled with some incredible cinema; launching with a slate of Golden Globe and Oscar nominated material, and moving through to some of the year’s biggest blockbusters. Here are the 15 best films released in Australian cinemas between 1st January and 30th June, 2017:

15. The Innocents

“As a war film, The Innocents may be quite a harrowing experience, but the subtle, sensitive storytelling, the assured direction by Anne Fontaine, the complimentary production values and the fantastic performances ensure that The Innocents is a film is worth the effort. The fact that this is a war film made by women and it is about women is remarkable and that alone makes it a must-see.” – Harris Dang

Photo Credit: Kerry Hayes © 2016 EuropaCorp Ð France 2 Cinema

14. Miss Sloane

“Within the opening seconds of ‘Miss Sloane’ it’s immediately clear that Jessica Chastain’s performance is what will drive the film to satisfactory fruition. Chastain’s heavy-talking, power-dressing, stern-faced Elizabeth Sloane will captivate you, and regardless of how positively or negatively you respond to the film itself, her undeniable charisma (exploited to the best of its ability) commands your attention; it just so happens that the film is equally matched in quality.” – Peter Gray

13. David Stratton: A Cinematic Life

“This documentary is a fascinating one about Australia’s beloved film critic. It is also a delightful romp through some excellent pieces of Australian cinema.” – Natalie Salvo

12. Beauty and the Beast

“A faithful adaptation with a whole lot of promise. I probably enjoyed it more because of the way the film was taken in a darker direction with a more Les Miserables/Phantom of the Opera feel. This combination of the new and the old provided a fresh and faithful take on the Disney fairytale that will excite fans for the upcoming live-action remakes.” – Lachlan Fraser

11. The Edge of Seventeen

“Insightful, thoroughly well-written, amazingly acted, deservedly touching and downright hilarious, The Edge of Seventeen needs to be seen if we want to get more movies of this quality within the well trodden genre. ” – Harris Dang

10. Personal Shopper

“Personal Shopper is a film that can be admired as much as it can be enjoyed. Balancing a multifarious level of tones, the film is bolstered by exceptional direction from Olivier Assayas and a remarkable performance from Kristen Stewart. Laced with powerful precision, it is a haunting psychological drama masquerading as a ghost drama which delivers depth and profundity that accumulates an almighty atmosphere on screen. The film works on almost all angles and considering how easily it shouldn’t makes Personal Shopper nothing short of magnificent. It is an easy choice for my favourite film of the year thus far.” – Connor Dalton

9. My Cousin Rachel

“Did she/didn’t she? This film left you on the seat of your chair questioning the eponymous lead character’s motives in much the same way as we did in the film Doubt. A wonderful dance along some fine lines between good and evil.” – Natalie Salvo

8. Loving

“This film is a beautiful bio-pic and romance about two civil rights activists. It’s a subtle and nuanced domestic drama that is a study in the true power of love.” – Natalie Salvo

7. Colossal

“Colossal is one of the best movies of the year and for those who are complaining that we do not see original films in the cinema – well this is one of them. I really hope that a lot of people see it, just so we can have more films like it. The very fact that this film exists is fantastic enough, but for it to work as effectively as it does is a miraculous achievement. Like a fellow film critic of mine once said: If we don’t see the movies that deserve it, we get the movies that we deserve.” – Harris Dang

6. Hounds of Love

“Assuredly disturbing and revelling in its ability to flip the conventions of the serial killer genre, Ben Young‘s debut feature Hounds of Love is one for those that appreciate their stories without gloss… Though not a violent film in terms of its visual nature but more so its thematic material, Hounds of Love still proves a taxing watch due to its punishing chapters, but those with strong stomachs will be well rewarded with an all-too realistic picture that defines horror to its very core.” – Peter Gray

5. Guardian of the Galaxy Vol. 2

“Evoking the weird wonderment of the original, as well as planting its feet in a more self-assured position, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is another movie marvel for a studio that continues to live up to its namesake.” – Peter Gray

4. Moonlight

“Overall, there isn’t one beat missed in this flawless film. Without doubt the LGBTI community will relate to it, but such is the genius of ‘Moonlight’ that it doesn’t discriminate against any one person. Here’s a film that promotes acceptance and tolerance but has no shame in breaking your heart in the process.” – Peter Gray

3. Get Out

“Playing out like a demented Stepford Wives, with well-balanced humour to offset the grisliness that ultimately rears its head, Get Out is supremely assured and further proof that originality can still thrive within in the horror genre.” – Peter Gray

2. Logan

“Game changer for the superhero genre, culmination of 17 years of character building with fantastic cinematography and story. James Mangold, Hugh Jackman and the supporting Sir Patrick Stewart and Daphne Keene have all brought the Old Man Logan comic to life with flying colours and showed a whole new side to the genre that has yet to be explored.” – Lachlan Fraser

1. Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman reinstates both why the superhero genre is as everlasting as it is, as well as the argument that the superhero represents a modernistic approach to the Greek God mythology. Charming, earnest and devoid of cynicism, Wonder Woman is one of the greatest superhero films ever produced. Buoyed by a terrific Gal Gadot and a charismatic Chris Pine, the film is full of energy and permeating in delight. The small meaningful moments are as lovely as the operatic set-pieces, but what is always present is an endearing heart that makes this film destined to be timeless in the same manner of Reeve’s seminal Superman films. Wonder Woman is spectacular.” – Connor Dalton

“Game changer in general, the first truly satisfying female superhero led film. Patty Jenkins made a huge leap for equality within Hollywood and made a film that was emotional while holding true to its characters and realistic plot.” – Lachlan Fraser

“In the lead up to Wonder Woman, many people had doubts about the quality of the film. Reports that the film was ‘a mess’ were rampant, and I tempered my expectations based on hearsay. Wonder Woman turned out to be one of the biggest surprises of this year’s films, and I enjoyed it immensely. Casting off the grimness of Batman v Superman and the disappointment of Suicide Squad with ease, Patty Jenkins pulled off a grounded and empowering superhero film. While the action suffered at times from a hefty and needless dose of CGI, it remained exciting and simply gorgeous throughout the film. Gal Gadot impressed as Wonder Woman herself, and her magnetic performance brought strength to the entire movie. While it might be dismissed as ‘just another superhero film’, the impact that Wonder Woman had is undeniable.” – Leah Williams