I end up seeing a lot of movies from the previous year in any given year. Sometimes it's because movies open very late in a year; other times it's because foreign films and indie films only reach theaters in my area the year following their release. I've found a good way to think about the end of the year retrospective is to separate the films I saw in 2017 into two categories: 2016 releases I didn't see until 2017 & 2017 releases I saw in 2017. I'm starting here with the 2016 categories: the top ten female performances, the top ten male performances & the ten best films. We'll get to the 2017 releases shortly.
Annette Bening – 20th Century Women
Few actresses are capable of the kind of nuances Bening displays as a troubled mother struggling to relate to her son.
Golshifteh Farahani – Paterson
As Adam Driver’s girlfriend, Farahani gives an unexpectedly delightful comedic performance that is utterly charming.
Greta Gerwig – 20th Century Women
Gerwig gets out of Baumbach’s directorial influence and gives her best dramatic performance yet as a free-spirited, but troubled, artist.
Anne Hathaway – Colossal
Hathaway is a revelation as a messy, self-destructive alcoholic who finds herself in a situation that can only be called cosmically weird.
Sandra Huller – Toni Erdmann
Huller’s performance as a business woman forced to deal with her eccentric father hits every note absolutely perfect, whether comedic or dramatic.
Isabelle Huppert – Elle
As a victim of a violent rape, Huppert delivers a masterclass performance that refuses to adhere to the usual norms or go anywhere you expect it to go.
Noa Koler – The Wedding Plan
As a devout Jewish woman who is holding out hope that God will provide her a husband, Koler deftly balances broad comedy with subtle drama to give a hilarious, heartbreaking performance.
Garance Marillier – Raw
Marillier makes her feature debut with a performance of ferocious intensity as a young vegetarian struggling with new, perverse desires after she first tastes meat; as unflinching as acting gets.
Cynthia Nixon – A Quiet Passion
As poet Emily Dickinson, Nixon gives perhaps her finest performance; witty and charming, but also dark and haunting, it’s a roller coaster ride.
Kristen Stewart – Personal Shopper
A young woman haunted by grief finds herself haunted by other forces and Stewart turns in an ambiguous, iconic performance.