Call Me by Your Name
The story: A teenager falls for his father’s graduate assistant in 1980s Italy.
In its favor: It’s both halting and exhilarating in its exploration of fresh love. The dewy-eyed Timothée Chalamet is a revelation.
Then again: Languid to the point of narcolepsy, it will test the patience of non-art-house viewers.
Our review: ⋆⋆⋆½

Darkest Hour
The story: Winston Churchill faces his country’s titular crisis in the early days of World War II.
In its favor: A towering performance by Gary Oldman; lush cinematography that puts you right in Piccadilly Circus.
Then again: This is really a one-man show. And come on, did the great leader really descend into the Tube?
Our review: ⋆⋆⋆½

The story: Christopher Nolan’s retelling of a daring and pivotal World War II rescue mission.
In its favor: A you-are-there realism, with Hans Zimmer’s thrumming score ratcheting the tension to 11.
Then again: The minimal exposition and pliable timeline mean short attention spans need not apply.
Our review: ⋆⋆⋆½

Get Out
The story: A young man meets his girlfriend’s wealthy, oddly welcoming family.
In its favor: Deft skewering of white liberalism, and the most crowd-pleasing moment of the year.
Then again: Call it a comedy, call it a horror film — the Academy doesn’t much like either genre.
Our review: ⋆⋆⋆½

Lady Bird
The story: A year in the life of a disaffected Sacramento teenager (the luminous Saoirse Ronan).
In its favor: A tenderly realistic portrayal of the mother-daughter bond, and a fresh take on a universal subject.
Then again: Cue the eye roll — some quirks are just for quirkiness’ sake. And does anything really happen?
Our review: ⋆⋆⋆⋆

Phantom Thread
The story: A couturier in postwar London takes on a headstrong muse who disrupts his fastidious world.
In its favor: It’s as luxuriously elegant as a ballgown. Spoiler alert: Daniel Day-Lewis is riveting. But so is newcomer Vicky Krieps.
Then again: No one is particularly likable, and the film’s vaguely Hitchcockian pretensions fall short.
Our review: ⋆⋆⋆

The Post
The story: A newspaper publisher risks everything in a battle against the government.
In its favor: A rousing counterargument in the era of “fake news,” it’s got Streep and Hanks and Spielberg.
Then again: You could call it “All the President’s Men” lite. That’s a mighty high bar to transcend.
Our review: ⋆⋆⋆

The Shape of Water
The story: A Cold War-era mashup of “Beauty and the Beast” and “Creature From the Black Lagoon.”
In its favor: Gorgeously filmed; a standout cast with a mute Sally Hawkins at its poignant center.
Then again: Does it want to be a romance? A sci-fi flick? A buddy picture? A spy movie?
Our review: ⋆⋆⋆⋆

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
The story: A bitter, grieving mother takes in-your-face action.
In its favor: A blistering turn by Frances McDormand, tart dialogue and surprising zigzags. With Golden Globes and SAG wins, it’s got the hot hand.
Then again: Our heroine’s bad-assery is a shade over the top. Can you say Molotov cocktail?
Our review: ⋆⋆⋆⋆