Brett Ratner said that the website Rotten Tomatoes “was the worst thing we have in today’s movie culture,” directly blaming it for “the destruction of our business.” It isn’t common practice for industry influencers to go after critics, but sometimes desperation wins out. That perhaps also explains why in August, Harvey Weinstein wrote a column in Deadline flacking his much-delayed, soon-to-be flop “Tulip Fever,” admitting that “writing this article is probably akin to putting a target on my back.”
In early October, Mr. Weinstein was accused by several women of sexual harassment and assault; in November, Mr. Ratner was facing serious allegations about sexual harassment and misconduct, and it was evident that these two power brokers had been living in a very different world — almost a parallel universe, really — with very different concerns, rules and ethics than many of us. The charges against them and the allegations leveled against other influential men in the entertainment industry and outside it are the cultural story of 2017. They will remain the story for some time.
Perhaps that’s why I’m especially grateful for this year’s good and great movies. Filmmakers make movies despite often-crushing odds, and some make movies while also struggling against entrenched prejudices. The revelations of the past few months — and the stories of victims who faded away — is further appalling proof of the extent of these biases. That there are so many outstanding movies each year despite those odds and those biases can feel like a miracle. This year all the plenty feels like a balm. Here are my top 10 favorite movies, all of which received a theatrical release or soon will.
1. ‘DUNKIRK’ (directed by Christopher Nolan) Most war movies are about winning. “Dunkirk” is about surviving. With peerless craft and technique, Mr. Nolan puts you in the air, on the sea and on the ground during a World War II rescue mission and, once the rescue is over, makes it harrowingly clear that the fight goes on.
2. ‘EX LIBRIS: THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY’ (Frederick Wiseman) In his wonderful, expansive and wholly absorbing documentary, Mr. Wiseman goes deep into the New York Public Library — down grand and humble halls, and past open and seeking faces — for a portrait of a cultural and social institution that is democracy incarnate.
3. ‘FACES PLACES’ (Agnès Varda and JR) In this glorious, vividly personal work, Ms. Varda both wanders through France and into the past alongside the visual artist JR, meeting new friends and seeking out old. Ms. Varda is often described as one of the greatest female directors alive, which is true. She is also one of greatest.
4. ‘THE FLORIDA PROJECT’ (Sean Baker) Mr. Baker makes heartbreakers about people usually ignored by movies: a porn actress and the forgotten elderly woman she befriends in “Starlet”; two transgender female prostitutes in “Tangerine.” In “The Florida Project,” he tells a deeply American story of children and adults struggling at the margins of Disney World, creating a 21st-century “Grapes of Wrath” with psychedelic color and gobs of spit.
5. ‘GET OUT’ (Jordan Peele) A meme generator, a social critique and a metaphor for our times — “Get Out” is all of these. It’s also an exceptional feature directorial debut. Mr. Peele does much that’s right and it’s worth remembering that what makes his movie memorable isn’t only what he says, but also how he makes meaning cinematically with finely calibrated timing, a sense of alienated space and an indelibly haunted, haunting image of the void.
6. ‘LADY BIRD’ (Greta Gerwig) The anguished teenager has been a cinematic cliché since James Dean bellowed about being torn apart in “Rebel Without a Cause.” Ms. Gerwig’s tender, thrilling movie about an adolescent girl has plenty of drama: Our heroine throws herself from a car. Thereafter, she does more than simply survive; she becomes a person in a movie that insists female artistic self-creation isn’t a matter of sacrifice but of being.
7. ‘OKJA’ (Bong Joon-ho) Filled with lapidary visual touches and pictorial splendor, Mr. Bong’s lovely, often funny and achingly soulful movie about a girl and her pig didn’t receive the theatrical release it deserved because it was bought by Netflix, which largely seems committed to shoveling product into its pipeline. That may be the future, but it’s infuriating that — like the villain in this movie — it can’t see past the bottom line.
8. ‘PHANTOM THREAD’ (Paul Thomas Anderson) Two lives — and two perversities — become one in this ravishingly beautiful, often unexpectedly funny film, which traces the relationship between an eminent couture designer (a magnificent Daniel Day-Lewis) and his younger, surprising muse (Vicky Krieps). It’s a story about love and about work, and finally as much about its own creation as the romance onscreen.
9. ‘A QUIET PASSION’ (Terence Davies) In this exquisitely directed biography of Emily Dickinson (a sensational Cynthia Nixon), Mr. Davies turns images into feelings. With delicacy and transporting camera movements, he brings you into Emily’s everyday life, touching close to the people that she deeply loved and into the rooms that they shared. He shows you the beauty, grace, light and shadow that flowed into her and right through her pen.
10. ‘WONDER WOMAN’ (Patty Jenkins) I love all the movies on my list, but more than any other this year, “Wonder Woman” reminded me that we bring our entire histories when we watch a movie — our childhood reveries, our adolescence yearnings and adult reservations. I’ve always loved Wonder Woman in all her imperfection, including in the old TV show, and I loved her here because all my adult reservations were no match for this movie.