Top 10 Films of 2023

Top 10 Films of 2023

Another year around the sun brings us to a new day of chance and reflection.  Looking back at the year in film, it brought stories of everlasting moments, unique visual aesthetics, and endearing characters.  As I think about the year, the endless array of creativity was on high display in 2023.  With hearty tales of life, love and all the emotions in between, each story gripped within meaningful escape.  For me, what I love to see in films was truly on display in 2023 … a catalog of stories defined by characters and moments.  It was a year defined by the realistic threads of escape.

For the strength of the tale, this (like last year) had so many strong contenders to be in my top 10.  So, as I embark on this journey of top films, here are my honorable mentions:

Air – With a strong cast and a smartly written script, this film brings to life a monumental deal that redefined the basketball world in the 1980’s.  Even with a recognizable brand, you will feel the intensity for what became known as Air Jordan.   

Are You There God?  It’s Me, Margaret – A genuine coming-of-age tale, you witness the growth of a mother and daughter, trying to find purpose in their new suburban life.  With strong leads, this is a film not to miss.  

The Blackening – Through a mixture of satire and horror, this film highlights strong social commentary while being comical.  With a standout cast, this is truly a unique genre tale.

Dumb Money – A true story wrapped within a witty script; you get an enthralling tale through a battle of stock options.  A comedy of Wall Street greed, this film does not disappoint.  

Dream Scenario – Nic Cage strikes gold with this whimsical but surreal character tale.  Driving strong commentary of social media through a creative twist, you will be on the edge of your seat till the final credits roll.

These were extraordinarily strong contenders that just missed my list.  Without further ado, here is my Top 10 films of 2023.

10.  Past Lives – Starting off my top 10 is a foreign film that showcases the honest complexion of life and fate.  Through a methodical narrative, you witness the highs and lows of friendship between Nora and Hae Sung.  Within a layered story about connection and moments, the idea of ‘what ifs’ pushes a journey that stirs the simple notion of emotional worth.  With standout performances, this is a film that hits its mark.  

9. The Iron Claw – Within brotherhood, there is hope that everyone will get to smile for a new day.  In this biopic about the Von Erich’s, it is a journey about their tumultuous dream to being the premier family of wrestling.  With a great cast led by Zac Efron, you will be feeling the emotional highs and lows within a tale of family, heartache, and hope. 

8. Suzume – When it comes to anime, it is a medium that builds through the idea of escape.  With this latest Makoto Shinkai film, it is no exception.  What you have is a grounded tale about Suzume as she tries to find life’s purpose in an orthodox but magical adventure.  With its simplicity, you fall into this colorful visualized adventure that reflects upon the human soul.  This is an anime tale that represents the medium to its fullest.

7. Spiderman: Across the Spiderverse – When it comes to sequels, there is always a struggle to be bigger and better than the first.  Not only does Miles Morales’s tale through the multiverse shine brightly, but it pushes the visuals, characters, and story to higher levels.  Through the ominous threats to the revelation of Miles’ purpose (as Spiderman), this is a sequel that stands above on its own.

6. Killers of the Flower Moon – Martin Scorsese is one of the best directors in the film industry.  With each outing, he crafts tales that are iconic because of their character driven narratives.  In a film about oil, greed, murder, and perseverance, he takes you on a journey of what happened to the Osage Nation in America.  With award-worthy performances (Leo DiCaprio, Lily Gladstone, Robert DeNiro), this is a character tale of the highest degree.

5. Poor Things – Ominous, quirky, and unrelentingly humorous, this is the staple of this next film.  Within a lively tale about Bella Baxter, you head off on an artistic adventure about what it means to live, love and be an individual.  Yorgos Lanthimos (writer/director) creates a characterized escape that elevates the cinematic experience, one that will have you laughing and appalled at the same time.  From Emma Stone’s amazing performance, blunt dialogue and spastic visuals, this adventure is a gift of the artistic kind.

4. Barbie – To think about creative concepts for film, this one stands as the ultimate mascot.  Within a simple journey about personal worth, Greta Gerwig (writer/director) takes this famous IP and creates a world that highlights what it means to be an individual.  With an amazing ensemble cast, colorful visuals, social commentary and obscure dialogue, this adventure shows that with strong vision … anything is possible. 

3. Godzilla Minus One – When it comes to surprised escapes, this film takes the crown (in 2023).  From a simplistic ideal of survival, you get a genuine tale of human worth.  This Japanese film stands above others in this niche genre by striking the right balance of emotional moments, intense action, familiarity, and characterization.  No matter how many times you see Godzilla rampage on the big screen, you have not seen one as great as this latest entry.

2. The Holdovers – In film, what makes it worth watching is its characters.  This truth spans every genre but holds strong with coming-of-age films.  With this latest film from Alexander Payne (writer/director), he rises above the simplistic premise to create a heartfelt tale about rising above painful circumstances.  With honest dialogue, riveting performances and a grounded directive, school winter break never felt so emotionally gripping.  This coming-of-age tale is one of the best films of the year, but just missed my number 1 spot. 

 1. Oppenheimer – The cinematic experience is one that I cherish wholeheartedly.  In all the films I have watched over the years, there are a handful that truly define this experience.  Christopher Nolan, with all the amazing films he has given the fans, has created what I believe to be his Magnum Opus.  In a tale of scientific discovery and human changing events, he raises the bar of what it means to be a film auteur.  He manages to grip your heart through the monotony of scientific explanation about nuclear reactions.  In a balancing act of a dialogue driven narrative, characterized purpose and individual worth, you simply are on the edge of your seat till the end.  All I can say is this is Nolan’s best film and the best film of 2023. 

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