Top Films of 2017…so far!

I really think this is the year of movies. I cannot believe how many amazing movies I have already seen this year and we are only half way through.

First, I just want to mention one that was technically out last year (2016) but deserves an honourable mention, because it was so darn good!

1.Collateral Beauty

will smith image

This was, by far, my favourite movie of last year. It had some real talent too – Will Smith was the stellar performer but there were other stars that can not be ignored: Kate Winslet, Keira Knightley, Edward Norton oh yeah and Helen Mirren! The subject is actually about Will Smith trying (and failing) to cope with the death of his daughter, and he is failing so bad (can’t blame him) that his friends intervene, and bring in some actors to try and help him deal with his pain. Will Smith sends out letters to the Universe, to Love, Death and Time. In bringing in these actors to help their bereaved friend (acting out the roles of Death, Love and Time), the actors end up helping all of the the friends with their issues too. It was so heart-warming, sad, funny and the acting was superb – except Helen Mirren who was deliberately playing a bad actor – hilarious role reversal. Edward Norton was so warm in the scenes with his daughter, he was so believable I wouldn’t be surprised if I found out the actor was his real daughter. Despite the subject of the movie being about loss it is not actually as sad as you would think. Get this movie, like yesterday!

Moving on now to 2017:

2. Miss Sloane

Check our my in-depth review if you like, but in summary it is about a scarily-driven woman who works towards changing gun laws to ensure that those who want to buy a gun (in America) have to wait a few weeks. Which, if they don’t already, they really should institute that. The movie is exciting and powerful. Jessica Chastain steals the show.

3. Hidden Figures

Three African-American women in the 1960s played instrumental roles in sending man into space and to the moon. Who knew? Certainly it is the untold story of a story told many times. It is always hard for me to watch how black people were treated back then, it is good to be reminded how far we have come, but it still makes me gulp, and tut and sulk when I watch people, with a different skin colour, being treated as lesser human-beings. This is brought home so powerfully with the sound of running heels…the main character running 10 minutes away to use the “Colored” bathrooms, seriously, that actually happened? Who ever thought that up should be ashamed! If you liked this movie, I highly suggest you read Jodie Piccoult’s latest novel “Small Great Things”. It is really hard to read, but again, powerful!

4. Can I be Me?

whitney houston

This is a documentary about the life of Whitney Houston. I love Whitney, doesn’t everyone from my generation? But I really didn’t know that much about her, so I felt like I really got to know here in this movie. They interviewed all of her family, friends and those she worked with and there were many clips, interviews and live footage of the lady herself. I especially loved seeing the more candid videos of her getting ready for a show, or playing around with Bobby, I felt like I got to know her. I also feel sad knowing more now about the drugs and what led to her death. So sad. If you like this movie I suggest you read the Biography (Remembering Whitney) written by her mum (Cissy Houston), for even more insight. It is eye-opening, fascinating and so very touching, her mum loved her so much and was kept so much in the dark!

5. Lion

I would be remiss if I did not mention the multi-award winning movie. I may not have enjoyed it as much as some of the others I have seen this year, I did enjoy it, well as much as you can enjoy watching a lost 5 year old boy try to find his way home. Saroo finds his way on a train late one night (whilst awaiting his brother) and the mammoth train journey takes him to a part of India where they don’t even speak his language, and due to his young age, his pronunciation of his home town means that even the Police cannot help him find home. Eventually he is adopted by a couple in Australia, but can he ever find his way home? Despite the distraction of Nicole Kidman’s hair, it was powerful, sad and heart-warming. I felt more sad having a 5 year old myself. I cannot imagine my little boy being in such a situation, it did form a lump in my throat. Note: The first half of the movie has subtitles.

6. Beauty and the Beast

beauty and the beast film review

Growing up this was always my favourite Disney movie, I know it by heart, I know all the words to the songs, which is why it was so great that they kept the same songs. I love this version because its like Beauty and the Beast for grown-ups. Watching back the animated version, it really is aimed at children, with its sillyness that I now find annoying. The grown up version didn’t have that and I enjoyed it more. The only slight annoyance was Emma Stone’s singing voice. It was very nice, but way to British. Im British and I love to sing, but pronouncing your T’s when you sing just sounds way too posh and stage-schooly! That’s my opinion any way. I really liked Lafoo in this version, and so loved the hint that he might be gay!

7. Gifted

Feel free to check out my in-depth review. This was about a young girl who is being brought up by her uncle, and on starting school they find out that she is a genius, but Uncle and Grandmother fight in a custody battle over whether she should attend a special school to develop her talent or stay in a regular public school. It was a beautiful and charming little movie.

8. Despicable Me 3

minion eating banana

It is hilarious, there are minions, need I say more? Okay then, well actually the minions do not star in this one, like they did in the Minions Movie, so it is hard seeing them take a back seat, and because they leave Gru, they feature even less. But the addition of a clueless I-don’t-know-how-to-be-evil twin brother does make it entertaining, and it is sweet watching Lucy trying to be the mother, oh yeah and Agnes find a unicorn (its so FLUFFY!) and finally the 80s theme is super cool, as is the music, so definitely worth watching even though it is not quite as good as Despicable Me 2 or The Minions Movie.


Gifted – featuring Chris Evans #MovieReview

This is a mini-review, that will not contain any spoilers.

Firstly, when did Captain America become cute? Tip: Add designer stubble!

gifted movie poster

But I digress, this is a movie about a Frank (Chris Evans) who takes guardianship of his niece Mary (McKenna Grace) when his sister dies. At first they seem happy and a good team, but cracks start to show when you realise that he gave up a career as a Professor, he was perpetually single and Mary only had one friend – a c30 year old neighbour (Octavia Spencer from Hidden Figures). When Mary went to school her teacher quickly noticed that Mary was gifted (can you multiply 127 x 13?). This 7 year old girl could do math that most human beings could not do, so she was not just advanced for “her age” she was a genius! Her mother, too, was a genius, who tried to take on one of the Millennium Problems (unsolvable math problems) but suffered as a result of her genius, something that Frank wanted to avoid with Mary.

But what would you do in this situation? Send your child to a regular school so she can make friends with kids her own age and develop social skills? Or do you send them to a special school for the Gifted where she will be challenged but not necessarily developing relationships with normal kids of the same age? And to make the decision even harder, she appeared to love Maths and read Algebraic Geometry like bedtime stories! As a parent I can tell you that would be no easy decision to make.

The uncle thinks one way and the rich grandmother thinks the other and they go to court to fight for her.

The movie is powerful and sad and effortlessly funny throughout. The acting feels really natural, particularly between Frank and Mary, who steal the show. It was a great movie and had a few twists I didn’t expect. I would definitely recommend this movie for ease of watching and gentle comedy.