A Halfway There Checklist: The Best of the Year So Far

This swamp that is 2017 has produced its fair share of interesting films though I think we’re still a few months, years, before we can really grapple with the consequences of what it’s like to live in the here and now. While some will shoot from the hip and proclaim Jordan Peele’s debut film Get Out, one of the year’s most delightfully unexpected box office hits, to be the first film of the Trump Era, its polemic registers as more of an elegy to Obama’s legacy than a statement on the us v. them that echoes through our living room every time we turn on the television.

Many of 2017’s most interesting films have, covertly, dealt with this ephemeral quality of loss. The concept of a lingering specter overseeing our every movement is explicitly examined in David Lowery’s much-buzzed film A Ghost Story, though that quality of contending with death, coping with grief, and reckoning with an uncertain future are features of films from the arthouse friendly (Oliver Assayas’ Personal Shopper) to mainstream fare (James Mangold’s Logan). While giving up the ghost may seem like a desirable alternative when confronted with, well, everything in our modern political landscape, the films outlined here actively combat that kind of defeatist attitude. As I suggested in my review of Personal Shopper and remind myself on a daily basis: despair may be in vogue, but hopelessness is not in fashion.

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