The Best Performances of 2017
Michael Ward on Monday, January 01
"Art is the only way to run away without leaving home." - Twyla Tharp
Year after year, I wonder what defines a great performance in the films I watch and review and discuss with friends, family, and colleagues. Is it an actor who makes us express emotion? An actor who makes us laugh uproariously? Is it an actor we relate to? Is it a director, a screenwriter, a composer, and/or a technical crew who make the impossible possible, escapism a reality, placing us in the lives of others and allowing us to understand what it means to be different from ourselves?
I suppose the answer to all of those questions is yes. And that is what makes film, and art, such a powerful medium. We are able to project, internalize, and share our reflection and feelings and even, when reaching common ground, those reactions remain singular and wholly our own. No one finished movie, screenplay, visual effect, image, shot, or performer can make us feel the exact same thing. And that's why, among all forms of art and expression, I love film so much. Even when we agree, we agree differently.
And now it's time for another Year-End list. And the hope we agree differently.
Without further adieu, these are 15 "performances" that meant the world to me in 2017, and will be significant moments I carry forward for a long, long time. At one point, this list was nearly 70 items long. I pared it down to a final 30*.
*31. I just couldn't cut the Honorable Mentions from 16 to 15. So, you get a bonus selection this year! Yay! More great movies to explore, right?
The Top 15 (in alphabetical order) will be presented in the words of the artists themselves. A slideshow will give you a glimpse at 15 more outstanding performances from 2017.
Note: Hover over the image to see more information about this particular list.