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The Top 10 Best Films Of 2023 / We Picked Our Favorites!

Looking back, 2023 was a harsh year for theatrical box office, many of tentpole franchise films that didn’t live up to the hype and disappointed audiences and critics alike. But like all other years, the reality is there was a lot more good than bad to be found in cinema this year, and a lot of magnificent storytelling and artistry. So, it’s time for us to reflect on the top 10 films of 2023 in our film industry. We have selected our favorites, so please check out what we chose. (Here’s our selections on year 2021, 2022)

Karen Benardello

Karen

American Fiction

Anatomy of a Fall

A Taste of Things

A Thousand and One

Eileen

The Holdovers

The Iron Claw

Killers of the Flower Moon

Past Lives

Saltburn

The most compelling films of 2023 feature complex protagonists who finally find their place in society. American Fictions invigorated the simple premise of a frustrated novelist receiving widespread acclaim after writing a satirical book out of spite. Anatomy of a Fall fleshed out the shifting power dynamics between spouses that increase women’s equality. A Taste of Things layered subtle building of social status and romance over a couple’s shared love of cooking. A Thousand and One cultivated maternal perseverance within the foster care system. Eileen chronicled the titular protagonist seeking validation from a seemingly independent, but overall toxic, female colleague in the 1960s. The Holdovers humanized a bad-tempered high school teacher who bonds with students over Christmas. The Iron Claw’s compassionately exploration of family bonds is just as gripping as its action in the wrestling ring. Killers of the Flower Moon testified to the power of courageous Indigenous women in the face of brutal racism. Past Lives used the bonds between its main characters to support incisive observations on the human condition. Saltburn wickedly chronicled how students’ obsession with their classmates can become deadly.

Chiara

Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi 

Maestro

Me Captain (Io capitano)

Killers Of The Flower Moon

Anatomy Of A Fall

El Conde

Fallen Leaves

Priscilla

Barbie

Coup de Chance

Suzume

Those who love music and film history will be dazzled by what Bradley Cooper managed to achieve as a director and actor in Maestro. Meanwhile, Matteo Garrone, with Me Captain (Io Capitano), demonstrates utmost sensitivity in showing the version of immigrants leaving their country of origin to reach a nation where they expect a better life. This is attested by the final credits, where you can see the names of the script consultants who helped shape the story in an authentic way. Martin Scorsese in Killers Of The Flower Moon not only conveys the native perspective on screen, but he mesmerizes audiences at the very end with a narrative device that is a true stroke of genius! Anatomy of a Fall dwells in ambiguity from beginning to end, which makes it more than a courtroom drama and murder mystery. Justine Triet provides a complex character study. Pablo Larrain finds an ingenious and artistic way to make his political statement and philosophical reflection on the nature of evil in his sublime El Conde. In Fallen Leaves, Aki Kaurismäki delivers social criticism with his hallmark humour and lackadaisical pace. Sofia Coppola returns to her delicate exploration of femininity with Priscilla, that proves to be very much in line with the ongoing gender politics debate. Equally spot-on in matters of feminism — with a more pop approach to female empowerment — is Greta Gerwig’s Barbie. Woody Allen, with the brilliant Coup de Chance, proves to be a remarkable filmmaker even when shooting in a language that is not his native one. Last, but not in terms of preference, Suzume is an extraordinary anime: the visuals are chimerical and the themes are exceptionally current and timely.

Adriano

Adriano Ercolani 

Asteroid City

All of Us Strangers

Fair Play

Ferrari

The Holdovers

The Iron Claw

The Master Gardener

Origin

Past Lives

Showing Up

The theme uniting my favorite movies of 2023 is that they all explore human relationships with depth, truth and lack of judgment. In a time in which American cinema, especially mainstream productions, is excessively exploiting genres and metaphors in order to gain a broader audience, the movies selected above go straight to the point of how difficult, complex and contradictory human beings can be. Fair Play by Chloe Domont — possibly my favorite of 2023 — dares to explain in the most realistic terms the “battle of sexes” when a challenging environment can play a cruel role to weak psychologies. The main characters of those movies are flawed, wounded, and selfish. This is why they represent in a stunning way who we are, exposing our personal challenges. They are a realistic mirror of our contemporaneity, something we desperately need rather than shallow entertainment telling us exactly what we want to hear. Cinema doesn’t necessarily have to be entertaining: nowadays it has to be necessary.

Abe Friedtanzer

Abe Friedtanzer 

Poor Things

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

The Holdovers

Flora and Son

Scrapper

Past Lives

American Fiction

Maestro

All of Us Strangers

Space Oddity

Even with two strikes happening, 2023 still produced some fantastic films. Poor Things was Yorgos Lanthimos’ most creative work yet, blending mesmerizing imagery, a twisted premise, and phenomenal performances from Emma Stone, Mark Ruffalo, and the rest of the ensemble. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse improved upon an already terrific original, testing and breaking the limits of animation in the best possible way. The Holdovers was a wondrously welcome reunion between Alexander Payne and Paul Giamatti featuring superb turns from Da’Vine Joy Randolph and newcomer Dominic Sessa. John Carney delivered another musical sensation with the help of Eve Hewson and breakout star Orén Kinlan in Flora and Son. Lola Campbell astounded in her acting debut opposite a playful Harris Dickinson in Charlotte Regan’s very entertaining and surprisingly heartfelt Scrapper. Past Lives explored the possibilities of relationship in an entrancing and unforgettable way. American Fiction smartly skewered cultural expectations and political correctness with a winning script and top-tier cast. Maestro represented a bold step forward for director Bradley Cooper, who also delivered a tremendously memorable interpretation of famed conductor Leonard Bernstein opposite an equally stellar Carey Mulligan. All of Us Strangers probed the pain of loss and the promise of connection with a marvelous quartet of actors and just the right amount of fantastical flair. Space Oddity provided a refreshing dose of futuristic optimism and a bright perspective about what people can achieve.

Niclas

Niclas Goldberg 

Fallen Leaves 

The Zone of Interest 

Anatomy of a Fall 

Perfect Days 

The Taste of Things 

All of Us Strangers

La Chimera 

Great Absence 

Dream Scenario 

Fremont 

Both veterans and newcomers nailed it this year with mesmerizing films. In Fallen Leaves Finnish deadpan master Aki Kaurismäki goes utterly romantic while paying tribute to cinema and Alice Rohrwacher lets Josh O’Connor plunder ancient Italian graves with her strong La Chimera. A Zen-like Wim Wenders travels to Tokyo in his best film in ages with a happy Kôji Yakusho, and Vietnamese Anh Hung Tran tickles the gourmet glands in French 1800-century countryside house in the beautiful The Taste of Things. Andrew Haigh returns with a powerful take on love and loss in All of Us Strangers while Babak Jalali channels Jim Jarmusch in his wry, understated Fremont,  A brilliant Sandra Hüller stuns in both Justine Triet’s sharp courtroom drama Anatomy of a Fall and in Jonathan Glazer’s profoundly chilling Holocaust drama The Zone of Interest. Besides Raven Jackson’s, Celine Song’s and Monica Sorelle’s impressive debut features, Norwegian newcomer Kristoffer Borgli made the clever Charlie Kaufmanesqe satire Dream Scenario with neurotic Nicolas Cage entering people’s dreams and a new Japanese talent, Kei Chika-ura, who gently penetrates the bone marrow with his pearl of a film Great Absence.  

Serena Davanzo

Serena Davanzo 

Elemental

Sound of Freedom

UnBroken

David Holmes: The Boy who Lived

Five Nights at Freddy’s

Oppenheimer

Firebrand

Red, White, and Royal Blue

Haunted Mansion

Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

2023 has been a great year in film, especially for those who are the nostalgic type! The movies Five Nights at Freddy’s, Haunted Mansion, and Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves all brought great memories for me from my childhood all the way till now. Even Red, White, and Royal Blue and David Holmes: The Boy who Lived gave me nostalgic feelings. The lore and special guest appearances in Five Nights at Freddy’s really touched my childhood as I was in my formative middle school years when the FNAF game came out. Haunted Mansion also had many references to the ride not just in Disneyland, but it had references from each Haunted Mansion from all Disney Parks! I loved every reference that I found! Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves touched my young adult life as many of my college memories was playing DnD with my best friends and the actors really made it feel like it was a real dnd session. Red, White, and Royal Blue gave us a new modern spin on the Hallmark Girl  from the US meets and falls in love with a prince. I will admit I love those types of movies, this one was no exception. The actors were able to really show us a connection between the characters even though they were “across the pond” from each other. Elemental is a beautifully animated love story about learning to work with your differences for those you love and how to have the courage to get out of your comfort zone. David Holmes: The Boy who Lived gives us great insight into how action and fantasy films are made behind the scenes and shows us the dedication and guts that these performers have to give us high quality movies! Firebrand is a historical drama about the last wife of King Henry VIII and their marriage. I enjoy historical pieces such as this and Oppenheimer. Oppenheimer shows us the life of the father of the atomic bomb and how society put him and others up to the task but also blame him for the destruction the bomb had caused to generations of people. UnBroken on the other hand is a story of how one person could affect generations of people by simply helping those in need. It is so fascinating about how one decision could lead to the events of Oppenheimer or UnBroken. Sound of Freedom showed us the horrors of modern day slavery and how the fight is not over to end it.

Matthew

Matthew Schuchman 

Beau is Afraid

Maestro

Anatomy of a Fall

Past Lives

The Zone of Interest

Blackberry

Poor Things

The Holdovers

Oppenheimer

Godzilla: Minus One

While 2023 has been filled with some top quality fare, one of its most controversial films is the best thing I’ve seen all year. I’m no Ari Aster obsessive, and the film could have done with a small bit of trimming in the middle, Beau is Afraid is simply unbeatable. I may be the only person with it on the top of my list, but that is where it belongs. I didn’t expect to like Maestro as much as I did, either. While the story might be a slice of life of a real person, it isn’t the most original tale, but the film making behind the piece is as masterful as it gets. It’s a drop dead gorgeous movie and people should see it in a theater if they can.

As much as Anatomy of a Fall has gotten its praises since it first screened, like many of my picks, I think people are still missing the larger point that makes it such a stunner. Sure, you can enjoy the dramatic tension of the mystery/thriller, but this is a look at the fall of a relationship and it is just perfect in what it investigates. Though Air is getting more love from most as the top company biopic, Blackberry still takes the cake as it explores a side of a story that you’re used to as the small guy wins. All of these films I’ve chosen have great upsides, but the more niche titles still resign supreme.

Edward Moran

Edward Moran

Fellow Travelers

Archie

Ferrari

Oppenheimer

May December

The Boy and the Heron

Poor Things

 Killers of the Flower Moon

Quiz Lady

Miracle Club

The first four entries on my Top Ten list this year are films anchored in the 1950s and 1960s. Fellow Travelers is a searing drama about closeted gay men caught up in the “Lavender Scare” during the McCarthy Era; Ferrari is a high-octane biopic about the life and loves of race-car magnate Enzo Ferrari; Archie focuses on the troubled  psyche of actor Cary Grant as he confronts demons from his troubled past; while Oppenheimer is a morality tale about a scientist who helped create the first atomic bombs. Based on a true story of a female teacher and the boy she loves, May December explores the taboo subject of intergenerational sexual relationships. Set in WWII Japan, The Boy and the Heron is a charming anime about a boy grieving the loss of his mother. Poor Things is a black comedy about  a Victorian-era woman brought back to life by a mad scientist. Killers of the Flower Moon describes the ills wrought upon the Osage community in Oklahoma when oil is discovered on  their native lands in the 1920s. Finally, two comedies with women as protagonists round out the list: Quiz Lady is a rollicking story about two Korean American sisters who scheme to pay off their mother’s gambling debts to a band of sleazy dognappers, while Miracle Club is a heartwarming tale of the resilience experienced by a group of Irish women on their pilgrimage to Lourdes.

Luis Pedron

Luis Pedron 

Silent Night 

A Very Good Girl

Raging Grace

12 Weeks

Theater Camp

Elemental

Polite Society

A Tourist Guide To Love

One True Loves

May Decembe

I’m excited this year that there were a lot of Asian Directors and Actors starring in films shown in America. I call this the “Asian Wave is On.” I wonder if the award nominations this year at Awards Ceremonies will be filled with Asian Artists again ? Let’s see meanwhile… My top 10 list might not be award nominees but they were all meaningful films for me. Silent Night, I have not seen a more entertaining film even though it did not have dialogue it was still complete and meaningful to me. Did I say it had all the action packed car chase scenes, martial arts stunts – hey it’s a John Woo Film after all. A Very Good Girl, A very dark film, entertaining and worth watching International Actresses Dolly de Leon and Kathryn Bernardo duke it out! Raging Grace, Subdued Horror, Classy and Fun. Again another Max Eigenmann film is certainly worth watching. 12 Weeks, Watch the Award Winning Performance of Max Eigenmann. Controversial topic. Theater Camp, For the die hard creatives and remembering their days of their youth in the theater camp (or any camp at that ). Coming of Age. Elemental: Love conquers all, that dreams do come true and that hey in the midst of all the uncertainty and long journey in this world that is filmmaking. Polite Society, Watch for the exciting Catfight and Martial Arts. Colorful Film. A Tourist Guide To Love, Worth Watching to learn more about Vietnam – Priceless. One True Loves, Watch Philippa Soo and Simu Liu in a Romantic Comedy Role. May December, Controversial Topic. The main actors acting award worthy performances.

Nobuhiro

Nobuhiro Hosoki

The Eternal Memory

Monster 

Perfect Days 

The boys and the heron

Fallen leaves 

Blue Giant 

Killers of the flower moon 

The holdovers 

Godzilla minus one 

Mediha 

My Top 10 films of this year probably don’t include what critics call Oscar contenders…Those movies opened up new perspectives and helped me view life differently, which led to my personal growth. Watching The Eternal Memory at Sundance, I felt a strong connection to how a couple shared their past and lived in a moment at the same time can be so beautiful. I felt that profound moments can last forever, even though one of the loved ones was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Hirokazu Koreeda’s film Monster captures the events of the same time frame and displays them in three distinct storylines. The characters’ point-of-view changes in each chapter, revealing areas that were blind spots in the previous chapter, and eventually revealing the truth about the events at the end. It reveals how a one-sided perspective can be both deceiving and dangerous. Perfect Days, Hirayama (played by Kouji Yakusho) is a taciturn man filled with daily routine, as he waters his plants every morning, goes to the public bath after work, drinks sake at an Izakaya, and falls asleep in his room while reading an old book, but his expression of his face brights up as he leaves his apartment each morning and looks up at the sky shows how he welcomes each day not as “the same” but as a “new day” even people see it as daily routine life from outside.

The Boy and the Heron marks Hayao Miyazaki’s departure from the loss of Isao Takahata, his longtime colleague, rival, and mentor. His creative approach to questioning both the audience and himself, referred to as ‘How Do We Live’ (the Japanese title), continued even after retirement in 2013, He kept his old body going. Fallen Leaves is a slice of adult love romance that strips away unnecessary moments. No matter what age, it could be magical if you have the courage to love. The combination of live recordings and strong characters in Blue Giant creates something unique that resonates in our hearts after leaving the theater. The main character of Killers of the Flower Moon is depraved but captivating to watch, and Leonardo DiCaprio is the only one who can bring it to life. Martin Scorsese’s direction is admirable, and Lily Gladstone’s performance was outstanding. Three individuals’ flaws and failings are explored in The Holdovers, which can awaken new perceptions and alter one’s outlook on life. Godzilla Minus One depicted what the original Godzilla film made in 1954, to represent Godzilla as a nuclear weapon, showing the aftermath of World War II in Japan, without being preachy, but wrapped up in the form of entertainment, let that be a life lesson to Disney, if the 15 million dollar budget film can make. Mediha, the images captured by a teenage girl in Iraq after returning from ISIS captivity are vivid and very dramatic, captured primarily through her handheld camera lens which are so real that they pierce your eyes and remind you that we live on Earth.

Nobuhiro Hosoki
Nobuhiro Hosokihttps://www.cinemadailyus.com
Nobuhiro Hosoki grew up watching American films since he was a kid; he decided to go to the United States thanks to seeing the artistry of Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange.” After graduating from film school, he worked as an assistant director on TV Tokyo’s program called "Morning Satellite" at the New York branch office but he didn’t give up on his interest in cinema. He became a film reporter for via Yahoo Japan News. In that role, he writes news articles, picks out headliners for Yahoo News, as well as interviewing Hollywood film directors, actors, and producers working in the domestic circuit in the USA. He also does production interviews for Japanese distributors of American films and for in-theater on-sale programs. He is now the editor-in-chief of Cinemadailyus.com while continuing his work for Japan.

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