AboutHer Roundup: Best Actresses of 2017 (So Far)

Dafne Keen

2017 has already shown us some amazing films out of Hollywood. We’ve seen lots of car chases, aliens and superheroes, but we’ve also seen plenty of great female actors in these big Hollywood movies as well. Take a look back at some of the best actresses we’ve seen on screen so far this year.

Katherine Waterston (Alien: Covenant)

Waterston does a fantastic job stepping into the role of Daniels, a woman who begins the movie crying over her lost love and ends it by heroically taking charge against an alien menace. While she is essentially replicating the template of the tough woman role once fulfilled by Sigourney Weaver, she does an admirable job stepping up to the plate, displaying the right amount of sadness for the loss of her husband and grit when it comes time to battling the vicious xenomorphs. Considering she’s the only one on the Covenant starship that thinks it’s a really stupid idea to make an unscheduled detour to an unknown planet, she’s also the smartest character as well.

Michelle Rodriguez (The Fate of the Furious)

Rodriguez has been a solid staple of the previous Fast and the Furious films, but she shines a little brighter this time around as the hard-nosed street racer Letty. With her love interest Dom (Vin Diesel) having turned rogue as their relationship starts to become more serious, she has to make the tough call of hunting down the man she loves. She’s not going to go easy on him, however, and Rodriguez never seems to dial back on her role where she is expected to gun down her enemies and best them on the road (or ice as in once scene).

Catherine Keener (Get Out)

Catherine Keener has always been such a strong actress and she’s in top form in Get Out. As the one who initiates a mental form of hypnosis to trap black people in “the sunken place” with little more than a tea cup and spoon, she effectively plays a woman who easily shifts from being a well-meaning mother to a sinisterly frightening force of manipulation. Even for a house filled with white people with wicked plans for the black visitor Chris, Keener gets under the skin the fastest with her scheming nature and devilish expressions. It’s easy enough to see how Chris succumbs so easily to her mental tricks of paralysis; I couldn’t take my eyes off her either.

Lily James (Baby Driver)

Lily James plays the love interest of the hero in Baby Driver, but is far more than just a pretty face in this already gorgeous film by Edgar Wright. As the waitress Debora, she plays a woman that is as much of a music geek as the charismatic Baby (Ansel Elgort) who fancies her. And when the intense car chases and shootouts begin, she eventually gains enough courage to take a swing at the bad guys and take the wheel when she’s needed most. There is a lot of amazing talent in this movie from the likes of Jamie Foxx, Kevin Spacey and Jon Hamm, but Lily James asserts herself well enough that she won’t get left in the dust.

Aubrey Plaza (The Little Hours)

Aubrey plays a nun in the 14th century comedy The Little Hours, but not the type of nun you’d expect out of the movies. She speaks to others in the vernacular of the popular girl in high school, sometimes shouting people down if they look at her funny. The scene of her assaulting a farmer because he spoke to her is probably one of the meanest and funniest scenes in the whole movie, simply for the premise of a nun yelling at a farmer. There are plenty of notable women in this movie from the likes of Alison Brie and Molly Shannon, but Aubrey steals the show for being the loudest and funniest of the lot.

Dafne Keen (Logan)

Keen is the breakout star of 2017’s most intense, violent, somber and action-packed movies and she’s not even thirteen. She plays Laura, a mutant bred in a lab from the genes of ex-X-Men member Logan (Hugh Jackman), meaning she has all his same powers of growing claws and regenerating her body. Her scenes are just as physically demanding as Jackman’s, as she leaps into action for some of the movie’s most brutal scenes. Keen also displays a wide range of emotions in her conflicted character, starting as a roaring beast of a mutant and ending as a tearful mess over her father. As far as child actors go, she delivers a stellar performance for what will hopefully be a long and fruitful acting career.

Zoe Saldana (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2)

Saldana throws on the green makeup once more as the alien rogue Gamora, but her role is much more interesting and perplexing than it was in the first Guardians of the Galaxy. Still grappling with the rivalry of her evil cyborg sister Nebula (Karen Gillan), Gamora’s sibling squabble carries a heavier weight in deciding what to do with her after every fist has been thrown and every laser has been fired. Their dynamic is easily the most character driven of this multi-arc ensemble, which is especially impressive when going against the central arc of Star Lord (Chris Pratt) discovering that his dad is the space god Ego (Kurt Russell).

Zendaya (Spider-Man: Homecoming)

Though not playing a huge role in either Peter Parker’s love life or crime fighting at this time, Zendaya is easily one of the funniest young actors of Spider-Man: Homecoming. She’s an outsider that loves to poke and prod around the borders of the more social high school students, commenting on their creepiness and secretly doodling their faces. Think of Ally Sheedy’s character from The Breakfast Club with a witty mouth. Considering she is playing the character of MJ, who may or may not become the love interest of Peter Parker, her character is not only established as one that will be here for the long haul, but one that is charismatic enough to be more entertaining than necessary.

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