Marjorie Baumgarten’s Top 10 Films of 2017

The Shape of Water

1) The Shape of Water

An original vision, a creature-feature storyline, and an underdogs-against-the-empire theme blend to create film rapture.

2) Call Me by Your Name

A resonant portrait of the jejune optimism, pained reality, and experiential insight of first love.

3) Lady Bird

Sterling performances and an unsolipsistic viewpoint enhance this fresh take on a coming-of-age story.

4) Faces Places

A casual riff on some faces and places becomes a thoughtful meditation on the past and future of France.

Faces Places

5) Get Out

A timely subversion of horror expectations reminds us of why we love our formulas so.

6) Dunkirk

Christopher Nolan revives the art of the film epic with impeccable technique and passionate storytelling.

7) The Florida Project

Seemingly off-the-cuff and trenchantly on-point, these character portraits raise more questions than answers.

8) Hostiles

The Searchers by way of Ulzana's Raid, this revisionist Western touches on some of the moral issues of our times.

9) A Quiet Passion

Images, words, and a towering performance by Cynthia Nixon make Emily Dickinson's life palpable in this unconventional biopic.

10) Mudbound

This sweepingly intergenerational, interfamilial, and interracial tale of postwar America is deeply moving.

Near Misses

The Post; The Big Sick; Kedi; The Disaster Artist; I, Tonya


Most Overrated

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri; Molly's Game; Good Time

Most Underrated

Catfight, The Bad Batch, Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond – Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton

Wild Card

Female characters dare to be unlikable: Frances McDormand in Three Billboards, Miranda Richardson in Stronger, and Allison Janney in I, Tonya

Acting Kudos (Male)

Ansel Elgort (Baby Driver), James Franco (The Disaster Artist), Richard Jenkins (The Shape of Water), Michael Stuhlbarg (Call Me by Your Name), Laurence Fishburne (Last Flag Flying)

Acting Kudos (Female)

Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird), Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird), Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Miranda Richardson (Stronger), Lois Smith (Marjorie Prime)

Best Director

Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water), Luca Guadagnino (Call Me by Your Name), Agnes Varda and JR (Faces Places)

Best Original Screenplay

Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water), Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird), Jordan Peele (Get Out)

Best Adapted Screenplay

James Ivory (Call Me by Your Name), Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (The Disaster Artist), Sofia Coppola (The Beguiled)

TV series/event:


Worst Film

The Ottoman Lieutenant: Corny romance provides cover for a whitewashed history of the Armenian Genocide in this film hijacked by the Turkish government for its own propaganda purposes.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Top 10s
Robert Faires' Top 10 Works That Spoke to Me About 2020
Robert Faires' Top 10 Works That Spoke to Me About 2020
Throughout 2020, performances and books seemed to contain messages about the year – its trials, its traumas, and its echoes in history

Robert Faires, Dec. 18, 2020

Top Nine in Visual Art of 2020, Plus One Exceptional Other
Top Nine in Visual Art of 2020, Plus One Exceptional Other
Wayne Alan Brenner chooses outstanding visual artistry that made this year a feast, save for one performative and culinary experience that was the cherry on top

Wayne Alan Brenner, Dec. 18, 2020

More by Marjorie Baumgarten
Joy Ride
Raunchy road trip goes all the way to China for filthy fun

July 7, 2023

All That Breathes
The struggle by three men to save the endangered black kite

March 31, 2023


Top 10s

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle