For all of the shit that's been slung at us over the course of 2017, it's been an absolutely incredible year for cinema, and it was nearly impossible to whittle the over-175 movies I've seen this year down to 10 favorites. Normally people put phrases like that at the start of a year-end list, but it's not just bullshit. From The Disaster Artist to Logan to Mudbound to Dunkirk to Professor Marston and the Wonder Women to Star Wars: The Last Jedi to Blade Runner 2049 to Stronger and plenty more, there were some great fucking movies that I left off this list and I'm so grateful to have seen them all. But here's 10 that I think are the truly essential and interesting films of the year, and are my personal favorites from 2017.

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The Shape of Water

Out of all the stuff I’ve written this year, I’m probably the most proud of my TIFF piece about Guillermo Del Toro’s newest film, which I wrote under pretty intense duress up in Toronto while doing the festival. His movie is such a sweet and bizarre romance — between a mute woman and a fish person, no less — that it’s hard not to swoon over every single frame. Sally Hawkins is utterly fucking fantastic, and Michael Shannon is terrifying in all the right kind of ways (the gag involving his fingers is perhaps my favorite moment of 2017). It’s also sumptuously photographed by Dan Laustsen, and it’s probably Del Toro’s best-realized fantasy world, which is saying something. He hasn’t lost the intensely human touch he brings to his films, and thank God for that.

Here’s my TIFF review.

Follow Nick Johnston on Twitter @onlysaysficus.

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