The Best Films of the 2017 Sundance Film Festival

A Ghost Story

5. A Ghost Story

David Lowery’s latest film is a challenging wonder, one that could easily be the kind of movie that people seek out because of high praise, but find themselves perplexed and disappointing by its proceedings. A Ghost Story certainly isn’t for everybody, but it is audaciously about everybody. It takes a bold, intimate look at the daunting prospect of death and the inevitable fact that after a certain amount of time passes, there won’t be any evidence that we existed at all. It may not inspire you, but it’s an undeniably breathtaking piece of independent cinema that will make you feel something, and isn’t that what we’re all here for? (Read Ethan’s full review.)

Columbus

4. Columbus

Columbus takes a while to get going. Halfway through the movie, I still wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. […] The film is played at such a low key that it can be easy to tune out completely at times. But eventually, what emerges is a portrait of a rare and beautiful connection. Columbus crept up on me so gradually and quietly that I don’t even know when I started to love it. When it was over, though, I was left with a sweet aftertaste that stayed with me for hours. Just like Casey promised. (Read Angie’s full review.)

Brigsby Bear Review

3. Brigsby Bear

Dave McCary in his feature directorial debut does an incredible job balancing comedy with some real drama, and an even better job making something so outlandish feel so grounded and sincere. The result is a film with a truly original story, a passion for filmmaking, an abundance of hysterical comedy, and one big heart. Brigsby Bear is a love letter to storytelling, filmmaking and following your dreams, and in a world as troubled as ours is today, we could all learn a thing or two from this space-trekking bear. (Read Ethan’s full review.)

Call Me By Your Name

2. Call Me By Your Name

First love has rarely been depicted as beautifully or as movingly as it is in Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name, an adaptation of the novel by André Aciman. Timothée Chalamet (probably best known as bratty Finn Walden from season one of Homeland) has a star-making turn as a teenager exploring his sexual identity. Meanwhile, Armie Hammer, a very good actor who’s been stuck in some not-very-successful movies, is downright mesmerizing as the young man who changes his life forever. (Read Angie’s full review.)

The Big Sick

1. The Big Sick

What unfolds is a sincere romantic comedy that will give you hearty laughs over and over again and then squeezes tears from your eyes moments later. Director Michael Showalter has played with the romantic comedy formula before as the director of The Baxter and the co-writer of They Came Together, but this film is on another level. He balances side-splitting comedy and moving drama so effortlessly, with neither ever feeling phony, and that’s not easy. Sure, the incredible cast and masterful script help, but channeling that into every single scene requires a skillful director who knows their way around honest storytelling. (Read Ethan’s full review.)

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