Top Ten Movies of 2023 – Entertainment Opinion
Written by mccormacke1 on January 19, 2024
Article by Danny Krastek —
This article contains possible spoilers for films of 2023.
It’s a new year, which means a whole new slate of movies is on its way. Before we move on and get excited for Dune 2and Deadpool 3 and… are any original movies coming out next year? Anyway, before those come out, let us take one last look at the greatest achievements in film from 2023.
As a brief disclaimer; due to a ton of movies late in the year having really weird release schedules, there were a bunch of movies that I’m sure would end up on this list, but weren’t playing in enough theaters in time for me to catch them. Such movies include American Fiction, The Color Purple, and Zone of Interest. Don’t get mad when they aren’t on the list, blame the studios.
Without further ado, here are my top ten best films of 2023:
10 — Anatomy of a Fall dir. Justine Triet
Courtroom dramas are a genre that, in many ways, is hard to screw up. What’s difficult is making it a compelling watch all the way through. This is something Anatomy of a Fall does expertly- there’s never a dull moment as you piece together the case simultaneous to everyone in the film. And the best part? We never truly learn if the accused is guilty or innocent, regardless of verdict. The result is a film that leaves the viewer on the edge of their seat and uneasy, even after the credits stop rolling.
9 — Skinamarink dir. Kyle Edward Ball
As a child, you may have woken up late at night to the sound of a creaking floorboard. You also may have seen a pile of clothes on a chair and be subconsciously tricked into thinking it is a monster. The experimental horror film Skinamarink captures this feeling of dread and panic perfectly, in a way that I have never seen before. This is certainly a polarizing film – I’ve watched it more times than the average person – but, if you’re in the right mindset, Skinamarink will perhaps be the most terrifying thing you’ve ever seen.
8 — Blackberry dir. Matt Johnson
One of the biggest trends of the year were biopics about brands. Nike, Cheetos, even Beanie Babies all had movies made about them in 2023. While most of these movies were serviceable, inoffensive schlock, Blackberry is a shocking masterpiece. Matt Johnson directs the film in a mockumentary way, with shaky camera movements and quick zooms, complete with Johnson’s typical realistic dialogue. To compare it to other films from the year, such as Air, what is interesting about Blackberry is that it’s actually a story of failure. We get to see the climb to the top, yes, but we also get to see the company’s ultimate fate- bankruptcy and irrelevancy.
The highlights of the film are easily the lead performances by Jay Baruchel and Glenn Howerton. Baruchel convincingly plays an easily manipulated struggling man, who free-falls into success, while Howerton channels his chaotic energy from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia into the character of a conniving businessman.
7 — Bottoms dir. Emma Seligman
A couple years back, actor Rachel Sennott and director Emma Seligman burst onto the scene with their indie comedy Shiva Baby. They’ve returned with a film that’s just as hilarious, witty and emotional as that one- maybe even more so. Bottoms also stars Ayo Edebiri, who walks away with every single scene she’s in. A blast from start to finish.
6 — Spider-Man: Across the Spiderverse dir. Joaquim Dos Sontos and Justin Thompson
The best superhero movie of the year, maybe the best of the decade thus far. This sequel packs more humor and more emotion than the original, and is a dazzling feast for the eyes. Hopefully the sequel comes out soon!
A small caveat, however; this movie is very much a “part one,” while Into the Spiderverse from 2018 stands completely on its own. If the third Spider-Verse movie comes out and fails at sticking the landing, then Across won’t hold up very well. For now, though, Across is probably the best Spider-Man movie ever made.
5 — The Boy and the Heron dir. Hayao Miyazaki
Where to begin with The Boy and the Heron… This latest offering from Studio Ghibli features their signature beautiful animation (as I’ve said with other Ghibli films, every frame could be hung in a museum), as well as some great voice acting from its English dub. Perhaps it is just the novelty of finally getting to see a Miyazaki film in theaters, but I absolutely loved getting swept into the world the movie provides.
4 — May December dir. Todd Haynes
Todd Haynes is a director that tends to slip under the radar, but he has been consistently releasing great films for decades. His latest, May December, is no exception. Led by powerhouse performances by Julianne Moore and Natalie Portman, both giving career bests here, the true standpoint is Charles Melton, who possesses a quiet rage boiling beneath the surface. A fantastic film, and one that seems like it will be going under appreciated this awards season.
3 — The Holdovers dir. Alexander Payne
It’s been a long time since a movie has come around that instantly goes down as a Christmas classic. The Holdovers is probably the first new movie to enter that prestigious list since, I don’t know, Elf? Paul Giamatti is great as always, as is Da’Vine Joy Randolph- but its Dominic Sessa, making his acting debut, who steals the show. In a year mostly dominated by darker films, it’s nice to have something sweet for the family end up so great.
2 — Past Lives dir. Celine Song
Every decade has its quintessential cinephile romance film- the 90s had Before Sunrise, the 2000s had Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, the 2010s had… I’m not sure actually. Call Me By Your Name? Anyway, Past Lives is likely going to claim that title for the 2020s. A phenomenal breakout film for director Celine Song. A powerhouse lead performance from Greta Lee. A tightly wound and emotional script. A shockingly beautiful score. It’s everything you would want from a film… and yet somehow it’s not the best film of the year.
As with every year, there were of course a large amount of films that were really great, but couldn’t quite crack the top ten. These include Poor Things, Dream Scenario, Killers of the Flower Moon, Barbie, Theater Camp, American Symphony, Showing Up, Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey (just kidding… unless?), The Boy Who Lived, Talk To Me, and The Iron Claw.
1 — Oppenheimer dir. Christopher Nolan
Every so often, a film comes around that you instantly know will go down as a classic- a film that simply screams its importance, a film that effortlessly takes your breath away. This year, this would be Oppenheimer. Telling the story of the man behind the atomic bomb, Christopher Nolan’s three hour masterpiece does literally everything right; the performances are all fantastic, the score is breathtaking, the script is phenomenal, the cinematography and effects are dazzling… what more could you even ask for? It is the greatest film of Nolan’s career, and easily the best of 2023. It will be regarded as one of the greatest of all time. I truly wish there is more I could say about it, but odds are you have already seen it and know just how great it is.