Warner Bros., Universal Pictures, Laurie Sparham—Disney; Photo Illustration by Kenneth Bachor for TIME
By Eliza Berman
May 26, 2017

If the first half of 2017 has offered more than a few reasons to run screaming from the news and sit in a darkened room away from it all, at least it’s also offered plenty of great movies to watch in that darkened room. Those seeking total relief from reality could find it in Beauty and the Beast’s floral fantasies and Lego Batman’s plastic pratfalls. Those looking for context on the present moment could locate it in the resurrection of James Baldwin’s writings in I Am Not Your Negro and in Get Out’s terrifying meditation on the more insidious manifestations of racism.

There’s much in store for the rest of the year — from the revival of Blade Runner to this year’s Spielbergian entry (featuring national treasures Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks). As we head into the season of superheroes and crowd-pleasing popcorn fare, here are TIME’s picks for the best movies of 2017 so far.

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