The Best Film Performances of 2017

JAMES Prestridge of Prestridge² takes on the unenviable task of whittling down the best film performances of 2017 (based on UK release dates) to a mere 10. You can vote for your favourite in the poll and comment section below – results will be announced at the end of the month.

10. Daniel Kaluuya – Get Out

With a challenging role and unorthodox story to contend with, Kaluuya provided the level-headed centre to hold the intrigue of Get Out and help make the film a roaring success.

9. Ryan Gosling – La La Land

GOSLING’S chemistry with Emma Stone is pivotal to the success of La La Land – and he breezes through the film with charm and authenticity. Gosling also deserves credit for a his restrained (and unselfish) lead performance in Blade Runner 2049.

8. Samantha Robinson – The Love Witch

Like Kaluuya, Robinson had a difficult and eclectic role to step into. But her response shows she is one to watch in the future.

Robinson undertakes The Love Witch’s retro-acting with a poise and conviction that ensures she has a truly fascinating and alluring on-screen presence.


7. Florence Pugh – Lady Macbeth

PUGH is another actor to watch in 2018 and beyond. As I remarked in my review, Lady MacBeth was: ‘a huge triumph for Pugh, an actress with the world at her feet. Her hypnotic central performance exudes authority, sensuality and a well-measured dash of modernity.’

6. Rooney Mara – Una

IN Dealing with Una’s harrowing subject matter, Mara once again showed what an exceptional actor she is. She gives yet another performance of nuance, bravery and deep perception. In the words of director Benedict Andrews she also possesses an ‘alien beauty’ that feeds into her enigmatic on-screen presence.

Along with her performance in A Ghost Story, Mara has proved she is undoubtedly one of, if not the very best, actors of the moment.

Honourable Mentions (5 performances that ‘nearly’ made the list)

Andy Serkis – War for the Planet of the Apes
THE king of performance-capture was the highlight of the third Apes film.
William Dafoe – The Florida Project
DAFOE brings warmth and empathy to this unexpected role.
Lily James – Baby Driver
JAMES is integral to the romantic elements of Baby Driver (the elements that REALLY make us care). Just as Baby finds out, it is hard not to fall for Deborah.
Natalie Portman – Jackie
PORTMAN embodies Jackie Kennedy with class and raw emotion.
Bria Vinatie – The Florida Project
INVENTIVE casting paid off for Sean Baker as he plucked out a naturalistic gem to play the role of Halley.

5. Garance Marillier – Raw

MARILLIER’S character, Justine, undergoes a complete transformation – in mind and body – during the bloody events of Raw. From an introverted, vegetarian teacher’s pet to an out-of-control cannibal.

The young French actor executes this change with incredible confidence and flair. In particular through the use of her body, shapeshifting into a predatory animal to produce a believable and quite sinister performance.

4. Robert Pattinson – Good Time

PATTINSON delivers the tunnel-visioned intensity needed for the Safdie Brothers’ surging one-night thrill-ride. Playing a character with little backstory, Pattinson helps keep us in the moment, guessing his next desperate move and the extreme measures he will take to get his brother back. A captivating performance in a whirlwind of a film.


3. Casey Affleck – Manchester By The Sea

AFFLECK is another actor who impressively carried the brunt of a film on his shoulders in 2017. A remarkable performance given its heavy and dark emotional weight.

His performance as a self-punishing Lee, whose hunched body language and stunted speech, conveys an ordinary, machismo male’s reaction to unimaginable pain and loss. Affleck does great work with young Lucas Hedges (who plays Patrick) and Michelle Williams (who plays ex-wife Randi).

2. Emma Stone – La La Land

STEP aside Tom Hanks et al – Emma Stone has cemented her place as America’s most likeable on-screen presence. Her performance as Mia is nothing short of sublime as she lights up each scene with endless charm and a unique relatability.

Simply put, Stone is the vibrant heartbeat of Damien Chazelle’s enchanting creation.


 1. Kristen Stewart – Personal Shopper

STEWART’S second collaboration with director Olivier Assayas somehow surpassed the first to give us, in my opinion, the standout performance of 2017.

Stewart, playing a lonely personal shopper in Paris, fills almost every frame with her electric presence, holding the focus and intrigue of Assayas’ camera through long, solo scenes. It is a performance of deft nuance and masterful skill, as Stewart makes walking through an empty house – and texting on a train – riveting and must-see cinema.

As I stated in my review of the film, this is a ‘solo masterclass’ from Stewart. Acting at its pinnacle from a performer who has a unique magnetism. A performance I will always remember and return to for many years.

My best of 2017. Bravo.

What is your favourite performance of 2017? Vote on the poll or comment below



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