This year, I found myself flying through books but struggling to sit down and watch movies, particularly after I graduated in May. I had even more strange aversion to watching new movies, and I feel like many of the films I watched in 2017 were repeats of old favorites. I mean, I’m not the only one who just gets in the mood to binge Nora Ephron movies, right?
That being said, I definitely didn’t watch as many movies this year as I normally do. I even took a full year of film studies classes my senior year, but I managed to get away with not watching some of them in full (I know, I’m awful). If anything, I’m proud of the amount of reading I finished in 2017, and while my favorite films weren’t necessarily standouts, I always need to remind myself that it’s fine to just be indulgent with my book and movie choices and not get too wrapped up with the high-brow picks everyone’s talking about!
After checking out my favorite movies from this year, read about my favorite picks from 2014, 2015, and 2016! And just a reminder: these are films I watched for the first time this year and not necessarily ones that debuted in 2017.
1) Hidden Figures (2016) – Seen January 10, 2017
I saw this so long ago that I genuinely forgot that the viewing was still this year. After seeing Manchester by the Sea, which was nothing like our usual movie picks, earlier last Christmas break with my grandma and sister, we needed to revert to our typical selections of girl-power, historical movies. Hidden Figures was the perfect solution, telling the true story of the African-American women who worked through a major chunk of calculations on NASA projects in the 1960s.
I was so blown away by the performances of the three main actresses, and I’m still shocked that Taraji P. Henson didn’t really get award recognition for her role. If you need any further proof that women played key roles in some of history’s greatest events, Hidden Figures is for you. With it being an Oscar-nominated film, I also love how it didn’t have to rely on nudity or gore to be noticed—the story as is was more than enough.
The actor who played John Glenn was also briefly a contestant on one of my favorite childhood shows, Endurance, and he grew up good.
2) Bridget Jones’s Baby (2016) – Seen May 6, 2017
This movie was just a ball of fun. Over the past few years, Bridget Jones’s Diary has slowly become a perfect rewatchable film for me, and while I’ve only seen bits and pieces of the sequel, I was so looking forward to Bridget Jones’s Baby. Just watching the trailer and Emma Thompson’s scenes in it would crack me up! I don’t know about you, but while I find ’90s-era Hugh Grant so charming and attractive, he feels a little creepy to me the older he’s gotten, so I loved how Patrick Dempsey was brought in as another love interest.
3) The Zookeeper’s Wife (2017) – Seen September 9, 2017
Jessica Chastain is someone I will always support, and I was so excited when I almost had the chance to attend a screening of this movie and participate in a press junket with her and the director earlier this year. Sadly, the logistics didn’t work out, but I finally checked the film out from the library over the summer. I love World War II fiction, but looking back, I definitely haven’t watched as many films set in that era. This tells the true story of a Polish couple who run a zoo and use their resources to smuggle Jews out of the Warsaw ghetto and eventually help them reach safety. Watching the family deal with the worsening state of Poland as the war continued was captivating, and the unique details of how the characters saved so many Jews just made for an interesting, heartbreaking story.
4) Lady Bird (2017) – Seen November 21, 2017
I think I’m still processing Lady Bird and how I felt about it, but I knew from the moment I first watched the trailer that it was my type of movie. Greta Gerwig wrote and directed it, and Frances Ha, which she co-wrote and starred in, was one of my favorite films seen in 2016. I also love Saoirse Ronan and her work in Brooklyn, and Lady Bird‘s story of a high school senior going through Catholic school and wanting to be creative felt very familiar to me. This Vulture piece summed up all of the Catholic school quirks the film covered so accurately—my chorus class and I legitimately sung “When Israel Was in Egypt’s Land” for a concert, and while my co-ed high school had brothers instead of nuns, everyone totally had at least one they preferred over the others.
Since I saw Lady Bird, it seems that everyone around me has been going to see it, and hearing them talk about it makes me want to watch it again! It totally has the potential to become one of my go-to comfort films. I’m hoping this gets plenty of awards season love.
5) Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2016) – Seen November 26, 2017
If you’re a fan of Tina Fey, this is a must watch for you. Based on journalist Kim Barker’s memoir, the film follows a New York reporter moving to Afghanistan to deliver war coverage in the early 2000s. It focuses on reporters’ balance between having a sense of normality in this extreme environment and feeling pressured to chase the most dangerous stories for a claim to fame. Plus, Fey excels in using some of her classic humor with a character that is far more grounded than her usual parts are. I also have a weakness for stories that tackle media and those who worked in it before the Internet boom, and although these characters have computers and early versions of video chat, I think the latest it goes in time is 2006-ish.
What about you? What are some of your favorite movies you watched this year?