My Top 3 Movies Of 2017 (Murder, Mystery & Magic)

2017 was a fantastic year for cinema. Filmmakers really pushed the boundaries and raised the bar to provide us with unforgettable viewing experiences. The film industry was brimming with diversity, representation, it addressed uncomfortable issues which are often shoved into a corner and told the stories of remarkable people, without whom, the world would not be what it is today.
Get Out showcased the harsh realities of racism against black people, Dunkirk told the stories of the men who sacrificed themselves for our country during WWII, Call Me By Your Name gave us a beautiful coming of age LGBTQ+ love story. Wonder Woman gave women everywhere an empowering hero to look up to, meanwhile, It gave everyone everywhere a clown to be terrified of. For musical lovers there was Pitch Perfect 3, for sci-fi fans there was a new Star Wars film and for those who prefer light-hearted, warm and cosy entertainment there was Paddington 2.

There was truly something for everyone this year and, on multiple occasions, I have been left flabbergasted at the sheer magic and power of cinema. I have walked out of screenings feeling unimaginably emotional, inspired, confused and joyful but, above all, I have a new found appreciation for those who dedicate their lives to film.

We live in a world which it isn't always pleasant to exist in, therefore, we rely on art to act as our escape and to provide us with hope that good does still exist. Throughout 2017, movies have acted as vacuums, sucking us in and protecting us from the cruel world outside and allowing us to just be fully immersed in something other than politics, social issues or social media for a while. Films made us laugh, they made us cry, they made us angry and they filled us with glee but, most importantly, they connected us with the rest of humanity and were our rock in times of need. When the country was crumbling beneath our feet and contemplating our own futures seemed too scary, we were able to invest our hearts into fictional characters and enjoy their stories.

Out of all the incredible films which hit our screens this year, I've picked out my top three. These favourites had a real impact on me and so I wanted to give them the recognition they deserve.

Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire and France are surrounded by the German Army, and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II.
I was counting down to the release of this film for over a year so finally sitting down to watch it felt surreal. The first time I watched it, I walked out of the cinema honestly, speechless. Admittedly, I went to the cinema three times to watch it. something I have never done but it truly was that good. The third time was in IMAX, my first time in an IMAX cinema but it made the experience so much more powerful. I felt every movement, every word, every breath from each character. I have never seen a film like Dunkirk and I probably never will again. It was truly phenomenal and even writing this blog post seems futile because my words could never do its brilliance justice - it's a film you just have to watch and feel for yourself. Viewing it is such a personal experience and it completely takes over your being. I was hooked and could not take my eyes off of the screen, so much so that I forgot to eat my overpriced popcorn and pick n mix... dammit. It is a real immersive film which keeps you at the centre of the action throughout and almost leaves you breathless at the end. It was filled with spin chillingly emotional moments and astounding action-packed scenes. These scenes of explosions and shootings felt all the more real as no CGI was involved. It was very visceral and only amplified the pure terror the young soldiers must have felt as they were fighting for both our country and their lives. The story was told in the best possible way and really did the true events justice, highlighting the presence of communal heroism without being remotely glamorised or romanticised. I have never experienced such tension during a movie and I fully take my hat off to each actor - not one was better than the other, everyone played a significant part and made me feel things. Yet another Nolan masterpiece. Harry Styles' acting debut was sensational too.

The Killing Of A Sacred Deer
Steven, a charismatic surgeon, is forced to make an unthinkable sacrifice after his life starts to fall apart, when the behaviour of a teenage boy he has taken under his wing turns sinister.If you like weird, you'll love this. The Killing Of A Sacred Deer was directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, who also directed The Lobster. With The Lobster being one of my favourite movies, I couldn't wait to see this one as I knew it was going to be wonderfully kookie. The initial image that bursts onto the screen, without giving anything away, leaves you shocked, disgusted but, more than that, intrigued. You want to follow this film, even if it does make you uncomfortable at times.With a small budget, this film relied on an interesting plot and great acting to tell the story. It wasn't about special effects or impressive stunts, quite the opposite of Dunkirk. However, the actors did a brilliant job of keeping the audience gripped and bringing an original concept to life. The acting is different, to say the least. It's very blunt, sarcastic at times, a little weird and void of emotion, but that's what makes the film so exciting because it's unlike anything else. Colin Farrell especially, just like in The Lobster, truly is his character. The actors' portrayal of their characters' turmoil is astute. The tension is constantly building throughout and I was left on the edge of my seat, longing for the climax. It's slow paced but that is key to making you, as a viewer, feel the full impact of the frightening experience. It fills your head with questions and plays havoc with your imagination. It is beautifully shot, has a soundtrack which gives you goosebumps and is great for anyone who loves biting their knuckles in anticipation but, also, enjoys not always feeling fully satisfied. The Killing Of A Sacred Deer is the ultimate psychological thriller about sacrifices, revenge and metaphors. If you don't like bizarre, though, you'll hate it.

The Greatest Showman
Inspired by the imagination of P.T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman is an original musical that celebrates the birth of show business and tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.The Greatest Showman really did end 2017 on a positive note and seemed the perfect way to enter 2018. I was left speechless by this film and it's beauty. With so much cruelty in our world and with society being riddled with judgement and hatred, little pieces of art like this which celebrate individuality, encourage acceptance and provide a glimmer of hope that love really is flourishing right under our noses are everything. This film explores the beauty in being weird, it acknowledges that not everyone is the same but it shows us the magic we are missing out on if we close our hearts to such fascinating human beings with stories to share. There's a character for everyone to relate to, someone for each viewer to take inspiration from as they commit to being authentically and unashamedly themselves. Despite the film being set in 1888, the issues it discusses are still painfully prevalent in the modern world. It explores the idea of 'forbidden love,' with two people being physically unable to be with one another because of the pressure coming from outside forces. It depicts their pain and desperation for a world free of narrow minds and leaves the audience screaming for these people, who are so obviously right for one another, to be able to live freely. The film also explores the idea of family, how not everyone has one at first but how the people you meet on your journey through life can mean just as much as any parent or sibling. I believe that The Greatest Showman is the movie the world needed this year. Not only does it have an indescribably stunning soundtrack, captivating costumes and loveable characters, but it is an example of what can happen if we give humanity a chance. Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron and Zendaya deliver faultless performances too.

I look forward to the cinematic masterpieces that are to burst onto our screens in 2018. But, next year have a lot to live up to.

What were your favourite films of this year? <3

Love, Emily :) xx

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