With 2017 in full swing, and many wanting to simply forget 2016, I want to take a final look at something that was genuinely great this past year: movies. While there were certainly some duds, disappointments, and simply uninspired projects, the films that were great were truly so. I also believe that many of the films released this year will stand the test of time and be remembered for years to come. In light of this, I’ve decided to throw my two cents into the well overflowing with countless other opinions on the best movies of 2016.
- Nocturnal Animals
Tom Ford’s multi layered thriller shows the versatility of Amy Adams, going from a hopeful scientist in ‘Arrival” to the regretful and emotionally complex woman of “Nocturnal Animals”. Its story is told in a unique and fascinating way that serves to turn what could have been a drab drama into an exciting thriller that will keep you glued to the screen until the brilliant end. Ford is also a master behind the camera, projecting beautifully disturbing imagery and making the quieter moments speak volumes.
- Miss Hokusai
With a limited release of about a week in the U.S, “Miss Hokusai” is the film you’re most likely to have not seen, which is truly a shame. This poetic portrait of the daughter of 18th century classic Japanese painter Katsushika Hokusai boasts beautiful animation on par with the painter’s own work. Add in interesting supporting characters and themes of identity and the importance of self-expression, and you have the real hidden gem of last year. For those who did miss is, the film does come out on DVD in March.
This recent winner of the Golden Globe for best drama completely deserves the honor, and any others that it has received. “Moonlight’s” intimate story of discovery and identity in the urban jungles of America is moving, elegant, and unwavering. The main performances from the three different actors is impressive to say the least, with all of them feeling like a person instead of three different impersonations of the same character. Director Barry Jenkins also handles the subject matter with masterfully delicacy, making him a filmmaker to look out for in the coming years.
- The Lobster
Darkly hilarious and brutally honest, “The Lobster” is a cringe inducing comedy about the absurdity of modern dating habits. The film is disturbing, hilarious, and unlike anything you’ll see from last year. The amount of detail in the writing and scenes make it a joy to re-watch and a catalyst for endless discussion. I spent weeks thinking about this film trying to figure out what I thought it meant. This used to be my favorite film of the year, until another came in right at the end to steal the top spot.
- La La Land
Damien Chazelle has done the impossible: he has made two films in a row that are able to completely take over my waking mind, forcing me to think and talk about them for weeks after I see them. This first happened with 2014’s “Whiplash”, and now with “La La Land”. The film is an expertly crafted love letter to classic Hollywood, and yet it’s also a Postmodern take on romantic films, revealing its true form as a modern French New Wave musical. Sporting great performances, energetic musical numbers, and a colorful esthetic, watching it on the big screen is an absolutely magical experience, one that I pray you don’t miss out on.
Samuel Goodrich, Staff Writer
Jiaq iZhou, Staff Illustrator
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