Reel librarian films make ‘best of’ lists for 2017

I was reading Vox’s “21 best movies of 2017” list by my favorite movie reviewer, Alissa Wilkinson (her writing is so articulate and beautiful), when I realized that TWO reel librarian films had made her top movies list of the year! Also, both films were in the top 10!

Columbus (2017)

Coming in at #9 is Columbus, the debut film from director Kogonada, starring Haley Lu Richardson as a young library worker living in Columbus, Indiana, who also loves architecture. She meets Jin (John Cho) and starts to show him her favorite buildings around the city. (A quick glimpse of the library can be seen in the trailer below, at 1:24 mins.)

Columbus Trailer #1 (2017) | Movieclips Indie,” uploaded by Movieclips Film Festivals & Indie Films, Standard YouTube license

As Wilkinson writes:

“Columbus is beautiful and subtle, letting us feel how the places we build and the people we let near us move and mold us.”

Columbus also made the top movies list for Slate, Entertainment Weekly, The Ringer, as well as Rotten Tomatoes’ Best Reviewed Movies of 2017 (at a 97% fresh rating!).

Ex Libris: The New York Public Library

Ranking at #2 on the Vox list is Ex Libris, a documentary by Frederick Wiseman about the New York Public Library. It’s rare for a documentary to crack a “best of” list, let alone a documentary about a library! ♥

Trailer de Ex Libris: New York Public Library (HD),” uploaded by Cine maldito, Standard YouTube license

I teared up at Wilkinson’s summing up of this film:

Ex Libris is his mesmerizing look at the New York Public Library and the many functions it fills, which go far beyond housing books. […] It makes a case for having faith in the public institutions where ordinary people work — away from the limelight, without trying to score political points — in order to make our communities truly better.


I have not seen either one of these films (yet)… have you? What are your thoughts? Please leave a comment and share!

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3 comments on “Reel librarian films make ‘best of’ lists for 2017

  1. David Anderson says:

    Columbus was wonderful, definitely one of the best movies of the year, featuring what is probably the best performance of John Cho’s career. There are actually two reel librarian characters: Rory Culkin is Haley Lu Richardson’s co-worker and his supporting role has a large amount of screen time. And the library where they work is featured prominently.

    • Thank you so much, David, for your comment and mini-review of Columbus! It’s definitely on my must-see list, not just for a reel librarian film but also just for being a good film, period (the two are not mutually exclusive, alas). And it’s great to learn that there are TWO reel librarian characters!! 😀

  2. […] also made several film critics’ “best of ” lists of 2017, as I highlighted in a post a few weeks ago. I asked Dale to contribute a guest post of his own “first impressions” of Columbus, in […]

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