Sony Pictures Classics

The 30 Best Film Performances of 2017
The 30 Best Film Performances of 2017

Haley Lu Richardson, Columbus

Kogonada’s Columbus is a work of clean lines and compositional symmetry, and its earnest sensibility might have seemed superficial and square were it not for Haley Lu Richardson’s searching lead performance. Quietly anguished about her future prospects in the latter days of her teenage years, Richardson’s Casey reckons with her duties to both her family and her ambitions, and few actors outside of a Linklater film have captured how vital conversation and open thought are to our everyday well-being. Gray

The 30 Best Film Performances of 2017

Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird

In one masterful blink of a cut, both Saoirse Ronan’s petulant Christine and Laurie Metcalf’s flinty Marion are shown driving the tree-lined curves of Sacramento. For Marion, it’s a moment of calm and security in a life full of nagging emotional and financial hardships, and for Christine it’s both a taste of freedom and power and perhaps the first time she’s seen her home through her mother’s eyes. Ronan and Metcalf forge a mother-daughter relationship of uncommon texture in Lady Bird, and these moments when they’re alone and so quietly open and vulnerable consecrate their bond. Gray

The 30 Best Film Performances of 2017

Kristen Stewart, Personal Shopper

Kristen Stewart masterfully conveys thought through action, and Personal Shopper is a catalogue of physical incident. As Maureen, Stewart informs the drinking of coffee with mysterious and poignant grandeur, while handling a cellphone with a tentativeness that speaks of Maureen’s restless intelligence. The film’s centerpiece is the slipping on of a dress, which Stewart equates to the assumption of a second skin, indicative of a life that Maureen can only vicariously experience. Bowen

The 30 Best Film Performances of 2017

Emma Stone, Battle of the Sexes

Battle of the Sexes is a fashionably cartoonish transplant of woke values onto a past setting, telling the story of how tennis champion Billie Jean King faced hustler Bobby Riggs in a match that was interpreted as a symbol of gender tensions. As Riggs, Steve Carell is broad and shrill as always. But Stone’s performance as King is so intense and emotionally multi-faceted that it nearly salvages the film. Stone brings to life a woman whose confidence resounds with anger and profound self-loathing and loneliness; she regards King not as a symbol, but as a human being. Bowen

The 30 Best Film Performances of 2017

Michael Stuhlbarg, Call Me by Your Name

Even from the fringes of Call Me By Your Name’s narrative, Michael Stuhlbarg’s Mr. Pearlman exudes a quiet intensity from beneath his reserved exterior, subtly imparting a sense of still-lingering regret of possibilities left unexplored in his youth. In an immensely moving monologue near the film’s end, Stuhlbarg’s measured tone belies a vulnerability which helps him to convey a compassion, generosity, and support that stands as a prime example of fatherhood at its very best. Smith

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