5. The Big Sick
Kumail is a struggling stand-up comedian, who is trying to get his big break with his one man show about his Pakistani background. After he is heckled by Emily, an American graduate student, at one of his shows, they develop a romantic relationship.
Kumail comes from a traditional Muslim family who believe that he should marry someone that they set him up with and soon Kumail and Emily’s cultures begin to clash. When Emily is struck down by a mysterious illness and placed into a coma, Kumail finds himself developing a bond with her visiting mother and father.
The Big Sick had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival 2017 and was received well both critically and at the box office, becoming one of the highest grossing independent films of 2017. It has been nominated for various awards, including being nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the 90th Academy Awards. The Big Sick was written by Kumail Nanjiani, who plays Kumail in the film, and Emily V. Gordon. It is loosely based on their real life romance.
The Big Sick shows that there are still fresh angles to be explored in the romance genre and particularly in the romantic comedy genre. The protagonists are not the usual protagonists that you see and so it makes you root for them and their relationship even more.
The script is accomplished and the story may not be the most dramatic or exciting, but is well told and brilliantly acted. There is something charming and tender about this love story which has a healthy dose of realism, but is also quirky enough to be interesting and engaging.
4. A Ghost Story
Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara play a passionate young couple, known only as C and M. She wants the couple to move out of their house but he is happy to stay there. One night, the man is killed in a car accident. He becomes a ghost and returns to the house he shared with his wife and there he stays, becoming a witness to his wife’s grief.
A Ghost Story has been praised critically and made over a million dollars at the box office off of a small budget of only a hundred thousand dollars. The idea for A Ghost Story all began with a simple white bedsheet. Director and writer David Lowery said that he had envisioned making a film featuring a simple ghost costume for a long time. He wasn’t sure that the costume would pass on screen, but was thrilled with the results.
Another romantic film which edges towards unconventionality, A Ghost Story unfolds slowly with a deliberate pace. It is a quiet and subtle ode to what it feels like to grieve and to suffer loss and there are times when it feels deeply upsetting.
It may seem slightly strange to have Casey Affleck dressed in a white sheet throughout the majority of the film, but something about this is just very visually effective. A Ghost Story may sound more like the title of a horror film rather than a romantic film, yet it has the ability to haunt you nonetheless.
3. The Shape of Water
Elisa lives a mostly isolated life, working as a cleaner in a secret government facility and living in a small flat above a movie theatre. She has also been mute since birth and communicates using sign language. When a mysterious, scaled and amphibious creature is taken to the facility and held against its will, Elisa forms a unique bond with the creature. Soon Elisa realises that the creature’s fate and very survival is at stake and lies in the hands of an unsympathetic government agent.
The Shape of Water has received widespread critical acclaim and has picked up hundreds of nominations for various awards including thirteen Academy Award nominations. Amongst the plethora of awards and nominations are a number of Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor nods for Sally Hawkins and Michael Shannon.
Director Guillermo del Toro has said that he wrote the screenplay for The Shape of Water with Sally Hawkins and Michael Shannon in mind. He said, “Not only was she the first choice, she was the only choice. I wrote the movie for Sally. I wrote the movie for Michael.”
The Shape of Water is a visually stunning and distinctive film. Its fantastical and mystical elements give it a wonderful feel of originality and although the romantic aspect is somewhat unconventional, its unconventionality is what makes it stand out amongst a multitude of other romance based films. Watching The Shape of Water feels like watching a dark fairy-tale. Del Toro is a masterful storyteller and The Shape of Water is one of his best stories yet.
2. God’s Own Country
Young farmer Johnny Saxby lives and works with his father and grandmother on the remote family farm in Yorkshire. Due to his father’s ill health and his grandmother’s age, Johnny has had to take on the main responsibilities of the day to day running of the farm. Lonely, isolated and fed up, Johnny engages in drinking and casual sex. When Gheorghe, a Romanian migrant worker, is hired as an extra hand for the lambing season, Johnny finds his life set on a different path.
God’s Own Country is the feature length directorial debut of Francis Lee, who partly based the film on his own life and choices that he had to make. The film has received critical acclaim and has been nominated for numerous accolades. God’s Own Country was the only UK-based production to be selected to feature in the world drama category at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival where it also won the world cinema directing award.
God’s Own Country is a wonderfully understated and quiet film; it has such a raw authenticity and honesty to it that you cannot help but feel deeply moved by it. There is minimal dialogue but so much is said in the small touches and glances between characters.
It is a thoughtful study on what it is like to feel lonely, to long deeply and to love passionately. God’s Own Country is gritty British film at its best, and all set against the atmospheric wild and windy countryside of Northern England.
1. Call Me By Your Name
Set in the beautiful sunny climes of Northern Italy in 1983, Call Me By Your Name chronicles the burgeoning relationship between seventeen year old Elio and doctoral student Oliver who is working as an intern for Elio’s Professor father. Amid the long, hazy days of the summer and the gorgeous surroundings, both Elio and Oliver find their desires awakened in a bond that neither of them could have predicted.
Directed by Luca Guadagnino, Call Me By Your Name has received widespread critical acclaim. It has been heavily nominated for the 2017 – 2018 awards season and has so far picked up over sixty different awards. At The 90th Academy Awards, Call Me By Your Name was nominated for four awards – Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Song.
Call Me By Your Name is a highly stylish and sensual film. The idyllic Italian settings help cement the gorgeous nature of the film and everything about it is visually beautiful and engaging. Call Me By Your Name is not a big or flashy film but it draws you in slowly and purposefully, getting under your skin and lingering there softly. Wonderfully acted and beautifully shot, Call Me By Your Name is one of the best romantic films of 2017.
Author Bio: Cara McWilliam-Richardson is a writer with a passion for films and filmmaking. She has written several screenplays, and is currently working on her first novel. Her favourite genre to write is fantasy and science fiction.