Dialogue is probably one of the most important parts of a film. You can have incredible cinematography, great music, wonderful acting and a great story, but if the things that your characters are saying don’t seem believable or don’t make sense, it doesn’t matter. Great films usually have memorable, believable dialogue and there were many films that fit that bill in 2017. Here is the Cinema Bros’ list of the Best Dialogue of 2017:
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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – By James Gunn
This exchange is interesting because it serves as a break in the action of the final battle of the film. As Peter Quill and Yondu are both descending from the wreckage of their ship Quill throws what he thinks is going to be a funny quip at Yondu, but since Yondu is an alien he assumes it is a compliment. It is a great moment for the pair when Quill, who has been growing closer to Yondu, his surrogate father figure, the entire film, decides to let Yondu believe that Mary Poppins is a cool dude. It is a funny but subtly tender moment.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – By Martin McDonagh
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is about as crass and tasteless as they come. It is, after all, a film set in the rural Midwest. Political correctness doesn’t exist here, and folks say a whole bunch of things they probably should keep to themselves. This venomous attack on an unsuspecting reporter epitomizes the film thematically, but it also encapsulates Mildred’s character. Her daughter was raped and murdered, yet the police aren’t in any hurry to figure out who is responsible. The titular billboards that announced her anger to the whole world have been vandalized. Mildred is absolutely correct: she’s just getting started and is certainly not concerned with her public image.
The Florida Project – By Sean Baker & Chris Bergoch
What is so wonderful about The Florida Project is how many of its little moments and little conversations are far more than meet the eye. From Willem Dafoe lighting a cigarette to Moonee playing in the bathtub to this wonderful conversation, writers Sean Baker and Chris Bergoch deserve a lot of credit for not only making the characters, story and dialogue feel incredibly real, but managing to thread a lot of really interesting subtext throughout. This conversation is a great example of that. Originally, Baker and Bergoch had written “up-rooted” instead of “tipped over”, but quickly realized that a six-year-old girl would never say it that way. So, not only do you have a line that feels exactly like a little girl would say it, but it also has huge subtext embedded in it. Moonee is much like the tree. She is a victim of her circumstance and, in a way, she has tipped over. But, despite her circumstances being quite bad, the film offers some hope. Moonee is still growing. It makes sense that she would gravitate toward the tree because it is a symbol of hope and she needs a little bit of hope.
The Big Sick – By Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani
Shortly after Kumail meets the parents of his girlfriend, who is in a coma, he starts awkward small talk with them and what could be more awkward than bringing 9/11. This is the first of many great examples of this type of humor, but this is one of the best because it also mixes in some of the racial tension that makes up a bulk of the movie’s key plot points.
Brawl in Cell Block 99 – By S. Craig Zahler
This fascinating take on the “law of averages” is spoken by Bradley who has just been let go from his job at the local garage. He arrives home to find his garbage can has been knocked over onto the street. Getting out of his car, he discovers that his wife has been cheating on him with another man. He dismantles her car with his bare hands (I’m really not joking), and then calmly walks into the house and sits down on the couch. With bloodied knuckles, Bradley explains that he is done with playing the odds. This monologue signals a turning point in the film, one from which Bradley can’t come back. Brawl in Cell Block 99 is a film about a man who leaves nothing to chance. Bradley is done drinking the “skim stuff” and he won’t let anyone stop him from getting what is his.
Columbus – By Kogonada
I couldn’t make a list of the best dialogue of 2017 without including something from Kogonada’s beautiful debut Columbus. I mean, most of the film is really just two people talking to each other trying to hash out the problems and obstacles in their lives. This particular scene is the first time real tension is brought into the relationship. Casey is a young woman who is fascinated by architecture and has put her life on pause to stay home and care for her former drug addict mother. Jin is older and is in town because his architecture professor father has slipped into a coma. This scene perfectly demonstrated how alike and how different the characters are. Both are struggling with their parent being an obstacle in their lives and this is the first scene they begin to be truly honest about their feelings about that. Much like the architecture throughout the film, the dialogue here by Kogonada is perfectly constructed.