20th Century Women, The Edge of Seventeen, Everybody Wants Some!!, Fences, Hell or High Water, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Indignation, Moana, Our Little Sister, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, Weiner
Really honorable mention:
I anguished for hours about what to cut to get this into my top 10, but ultimately the deciding factor – a tiebreaker only – was that it didn’t connect to me and my life as much as the others. But it’s still a ravishingly beautiful and deeply complex work. Many critics have decried it by saying that it firmly takes the side of the white Christian protagonists, but frankly I wonder if they saw the same film as I did. Scorsese presents a nuanced depiction of a clash of religions, with all its layers and contradictions. Sure, it’s awful that the Japanese persecute Christians, but they want to protect their country and traditions against the very real threat of Western colonialism. Sure, Christianity might seem like an appealing and accessible alternative to the Japanese, but perhaps they’re only drawn to it because it promises escape into a better afterlife. Sure, the priests want to stay faithful to God and their beliefs, but suffering endlessly for it and causing others to suffer too might be more indicative of pride than faith. A strong cast led by Andrew Garfield and filled with great Japanese actors illuminates these dilemmas and doesn’t provide any easy answers.