20 Best Movies Of 2017

19. Lady Macbeth

Lady Macbeth Florence Pugh
Altitude Film Distribution

Nothing (much) to do with Shakespeare - though the title does take its inspiration from his work - this is instead an adaptation of the 19th Century Russian Novella Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, keeping the time period but shifting the setting to rural England.

There we find Katherine, played by Florence Pugh, a beautiful young woman who is married off to an older, richer, and awful man with an even older, richer, and more awful father. Trapped in this loveless, doomed union, with an increasing nastiness from her father-in-law, Katherine falls for a lowly estate-worker and starts to take matters into her own hands.

What follows is a tour-de-force from Pugh, who completely owns this movie and demands every ounce of your attention. It's a captivating, haunting, rageful performance, and paired brilliantly with the stunning imagery conjured up by first time director William Oldroyd, who manages to infuse every scene with a simmering tension that boils over as the film progresses.

Themes surrounding class, gender, abuse, and race are all in play and expertly utilised to subvert expectations and enhance the narrative. But it's Pugh who you'll really remember, a role that is indeed in the Shakespearean mould, and that makes this film so mesmerising.


NCTJ-qualified journalist. Most definitely not a racing driver. Drink too much tea; eat too much peanut butter; watch too much TV. Sadly only the latter paying off so far. A mix of wise-old man in a young man's body with a child-like wonder about him and a great otherworldly sensibility.