The year 2016 was a dramatic and transitional year in the States; marked by numerous shootings in America and acts of extreme violence world wide. The deaths of many influential people who helped transform the 20th century was more impactful in 2016 than previous years. Some notable deaths include: Alan Rickman, David Bowie, Harper Lee, Garry Shandling, George Martin, Prince, Gordie Howe, Muhammad Ali, Garry Marshall, Gene Wilder, Arnold Palmer, Fidel Castro, Carrie Fisher, and Debbie Reynolds. The political landscape saw some major shifts, including the inauguration of Donald Trump, Brexit, the impeachment of the Presidents of Brazil and South Korea, major turmoil and civil war in Aleppo, Syria. That is not to say the year was all bad: scientific breakthroughs such as the detection of gravitational waves 100 years after Albert Einstein’s prediction, the Cubs winning the World Series, and a decrease in the unemployment rate provided positive relief from the tragic aspects of the year. All in all, there did seem to be an overwhelming desire to “start fresh” in 2017.
Many of the films last year encapsulated the struggles of 2016 in powerful and engaging ways, others succeeded in distracting people from the real world. Racial tensions were highly publicized throughout the year in local and national news. This ever-present and compelling issue found its way into many commercial and less-commercial motion picture vehicles. Many films conveyed impactful and engaging messages that reach a wide audience.