2017’s Underrated Movies That You Should Consider Watching
A little different but still so worth it
2017 was a great year for film, but some may argue that it was a year of expected superhero blockbusters, run-of-the-mill romantic comedies and fun-yet-slightly-shallow family movies. And while—yes—there was a surplus of films like these, there was also a handful of brilliant and genius releases that flew just under the radar.
I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore
In an ironic twist, Macon Blair’s I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore is hilarious yet thrilling and dejected yet optimistic. Starting off and immersing itself in the most mundane and everyday pains of life (think being in the slower line and playing stop-and-go with a parked car), it spins off into something altogether.
When Ruth (Melanie Lynsky) discovers that her house has been robbed, she turns to her neighbor Tony (Elijah Wood) to recover what was taken from her. The adventure that follows is equal parts absurd and comically dark.
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Coming after a successful 2015 with Brooklyn, Saorsie Ronan hit 2017 hard with Lady Bird, which tells the coming of age story of Christine McPherson, a Catholic high school senior eager to break through the mold. With dreams of an East Coast college life budding amidst her traditional middle-class surroundings, she finds her fair share of love, heartache and familial strain.
Narratively, sure, this equation has been tried and tested before. But what really sets it apart is the razor-sharp understanding of how awkward it is to mature (or try to) in the early 2000’s.
If seeing the names Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Thomas Anderson aren’t enough to get you peering at Phantom Thread, then surely the plot will. Set in 1950s London, Day-Lewis stars as Reynolds Woodcock, a celebrated dressmaker who lives his life in order. But all he knows and the routine he follows is set in chaos when he begins a relationship with Alma, who becomes his model and housemate.
And if that doesn’t tickle your curiosity, then maybe the sheer artistry of the film will. With what seems to be the perfect mix of tracking shots, tasteful close-ups, transitional fades and a score as classic as can be, Phantom Thread is a masterpiece. And Day-Lewis, as always, delivers on screen.
The Blackcoat’s Daughter
As the son of Norman Bates (played by actor Anthony Perkins), you know director Osgood Perkins might have grown up with a taste for horror—a theory proven by The Blackcoat’s Daughter. The film has an intriguing fall into a maze of dark and demonic places, which turns out to be far more frightening than the standard horror movie route.
Kat is left by her parents and forced to spend winter break in her boarding school, alongside popular Rose. Meanwhile, Joan is trying to hitchhike her way to the school and finds a ride with a quarrelsome couple. The story’s real mystery then unfolds as these girls are forced to interact with each other and lose parents, their virginity and their adolescence.
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A refreshing take on the typical boy-meets-girl story, Columbus is less about romance and more about that unseen bond between two souls. Not to mention that the feature debut of director Kogonada is beautiful in its precision. The play between what is different and what is shared is eye-opening and hopeful.
Jin (John Cho) arrives in Columbus to attend to his ailing and estranged father. While there, he begins a friendship with Casey (Haley Lu Richardson), who has put aside her dreams in order to care for her recovering addict of a mother. The two share conversations of family, obligation, ambition, beauty, power, feelings and everything else that lies underneath the surface of a person.
Call Me By Your Name
While it showed in select cinemas at select times in the Philippines, not nearly enough people got their eyes on Call Me By Your Name. Luca Guadagnino’s breathtaking film brings to life André Aciman’s 2007 novel in a way that is almost unbelievable. The film is all emotion, imagery and undeniable sensation.
Elio (Timothée Chalamet) is an intelligent 17-year-old boy who quickly-yet-first-unknowingly falls in love with his father’s 24-year-old graduate student, Oliver (Armie Hammer). The two dance with fire as they swim, bike and run across picturesque Northern Italy.
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Unlike most romantic tales, The Lovers brings to light the connection between an older couple. There are no stolen glances here, no meet cutes and definitely no butterflies. And yet, also unlike its predecessors, the film tells its story without gimmick and without sitcom-based humor. It is real, unfiltered and intimate.
Mary and Michael, a couple in their 50s, have reached the plateau of their relationship. Not only is there no passion, but neither of them even make the effort to say anything to the other. But beyond their polite routine, Mary has dreams, regrets, flaws, sexual desires and a heated affair. Michael, on the other hand, has his own affair with a fiery dancer. And yet, as the two seem fated to begin different paths, something brings them close together again.
They were right: 2017 was a great year for film. And it was so beyond the million-dollar-makers and their pretty-faced actors.