The year is young, but it’s never too early to start celebrating the finest movies offered up by both the multiplex and the art house. After only four months, moviegoers have been gifted with a bounty of great blockbusters, indies and documentaries, proving that filmmakers are continuing to find new ways—both big and small—to entertain, excite and enlighten. No doubt there are numerous gems to come in the months ahead, given that by the holidays, we’ll have the latest works from acclaimed directors like Paul Thomas Anderson, Martin Scorsese, and Steven Spielberg (to name just three). For now, however, these are our current picks for the best films of 2017.

15. Heal the Living

Life’s circular nature is a frequent melodramatic subject, and yet Heal the Living treats its familiar material with a sensitivity and lyricism that’s powerfully affecting. French filmmaker Katell Quillévéré’s drama concerns a teenage surfer who, after a car crash, winds up in a coma, brain-dead. While his separated parents (Emmanuelle Seigner and Kool Shen) try to cope with this unexpected tragedy, a concert violinist (Anne Dorval) strives to grapple with a deteriorating heart condition that can only be cured via transplant. That synopsis alone likely telegraphs the path along which the film travels. Still, the director’s adaptation of Maylis de Kerangal’s novel is marked by unexpected detours into the stories of an organ-donor consultant (A Prophesy’s Tahar Rahim) and the injured boy’s girlfriend, as well as a bevy of aesthetic grace notes, many of them courtesy of Alexandre Desplat’s sorrowful score. The result is a moving portrait of life’s fragility, and the strength we derive from our connections to each other.


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