2017 is nearly up. Surprisingly, it was a good year for the movies. Below, without further a due, is my top ten list of movies that premiered in 2017.
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The next chapter in the ongoing saga of the rebellion against the empire was nothing short of perfection.
- The Post: The story of the revelation of The Pentagon Papers is as relevant today as it was in 1971.
- Beauty And The Beast/The Shape Of Water: Both the live action adaptation of the 1991 animated Beauty And The Beast and The Shape Of Water proves once more that love wins over hate and only through tolerance and respect of others, can we create the world we wish to have.
- Darkest Hour: Gary Oldman is sure to win multiple awards playing Winston Churchill, who must decide to negotiate with Germany or go to war.
- Lady Macbeth: In 19th century England, a young lady is forced into marriage and has an affair with one of the estate workers.
- Lady Bird: A gripping and realistic coming of age story set in Sacramento in the early 2000’s.
- Thor: Ragnarok: When Thor’s previously unknown sister Hela returns to Asgard, he must save his land and his people from his sister.
- Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman finally receives a proper film adaptation. Starring Gal Gadot and directed by Patty Jenkins, this film, well is, a wonder.
- The Lovers: Tracey Letts and Debra Winger play a married couple who are openly seeing other people, but somehow find the spark has returned to their marriage.
- Battle Of The Sexes: The true story of the tennis match between Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King is as much a story about tennis as it is about feminism.
- The Big Sick: This unconventional romantic comedy hit both the comedy gut and the heart.
- The Women’s Balcony: When a new Rabbi takes over an Orthodox temple in Jerusalem, the women stage a coup to get their husbands and their temple back.
The summer of 2017 has been a very interesting for movies. Listed below is the best movies of this past summer.
1. Wonder Woman
Directed by Patty Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot, this feminist blockbuster finally broke through the boys club solo movie superhero franchise. After watching her superhero brothers in arms have multiple movie franchises of their own, Wonder Woman finally began to tell her own story. It was the perfect combination of light and dark, growing up and classic bad-ass superhero. All in all, I say it was a good movie.
2. The Big Sick
Based on the real life romance of Kumail Nanjiani and his real life wife, Emily V. Gordon, Kumail Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan play out the ups and down of their courtship, including Emily’s extended hospital stay. Also starring Ray Romano and Holly Hunter as Emily’s parents, this film takes the standard romantic comedy and flips it on its head.
3. Lady Macbeth
A young woman is married off to a much older man who is need of a wife and an heir. Living in an isolated English country house, she has an affair with one of the servants. The film has the bone chilling psychology of a feminist Hitchcock thriller combined with the imagery and narrative of a Wuthering Heights adaptation. Starring Florence Pugh, the film is a completely new spin on the traditional BPD (British Period Drama) that goes where few stories in the genre would dare to go.
4. The Women’s Balcony
After the collapse of the women’s section in an Orthodox synagogue in Jerusalem, the men turn to a new Rabbi. The problem is that the new Rabbi has very different ideas than what has been done before. The women are not pleased and take things into their own hands. Despite being set in a very specific community, the film is universal in its message about the consequences of pissing women off.
Set in the ultra-Orthodox community of Borough Park Brooklyn, Menashe (Menashe Lustig) is a widower who has lost custody of his son to his in-laws. He has been told that he can only take his son back when he re-marries, but he is not inclined to re-marry and is trying to prove that he can be a good father without re-marrying. A story of of faith and fatherhood, this film speaks to all of us, regardless about the trials of being a parent and observing the rules we live with.
It’s no secret that the world of super heroes is a boys club, especially the old school super heroes. Wonder Woman is an exception to the rule.
Last week, Wonder Woman hit theaters. Stepping into the very famous shoes that Lynda Carter wore in the 1970’s television series is Gal Gadot. The movie starts with Diana’s childhood on the idyllic island of Themyscira. The daughter of Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen), the Queen Of The Amazons, Diana is protected from the outside world by her mother and her aunt, Antiope (Robin Wright), who is the general of the Amazons.
While Diana’s curiosity is temporarily quelled by her elders, it will soon be made unquenchable by the unexpected arrival of Steve Trevor (Chris Pine). Saving Steve from death, he becomes her conduit and her guide to the outside world. World War I is raging on and Diana, believes that she can end the war. She will soon learn that the world is not as simple as she believes it to be and sometimes, meeting our destiny means learning some hard truths.
The problem with many super hero films that are based on comics is that the films are often short on narrative and long on action. They also have a mostly male cast with a male director. If there are any women, they are either the token female or the damsel in distress love interest. This film contains neither. The character arc in this film is exactly what it should be. Diana starts off not exactly naive, but very gung-ho and eager to complete her mission. Steve, on the other hand, starts off as believing himself to be the traditional dominant male, but will learn quickly that Diana/Wonder Woman can easily take care of herself.
The film was also very funny, which is not often the case of the film of this genre. Many films take themselves a little too seriously.
I absolutely recommend it.
Wonder Woman is presently in theaters.
In the 1970’s television began to reflect the changes in American society. One of these changes was the role of women and how it was thankfully evolving into a true partnership with the male sex.
Entering the world of comics in 1941, Wonder Woman has been part of the cultural lexicon for 70+ years.
In 1975, the comic was turned into an iconic television program starring Lynda Carter as the secret Amazon princess and Lyle Waggoner as Colonel Steve Trevor Jr., the military man who Wonder Woman rescues.
I was not around in 1975, but I can imagine the impact it had on young girls at the time. The 2nd wave of feminism was at it’s peak, Wonder Woman reflected the new woman and the possibilities beyond the roles traditionally assigned to women.
Do I recommend it? Yes.