Film 2023

Anatomy Of A Fall

by Joanna Orland

I’m still struggling to return to a completely “normal” pre-pandemic life, but seeing as many movies as I can from the comfort of my own home. This is why my list is a bit of a mixed bag between screeners, streamers and Canadian + UK releases. I’ve collated all of the films I’ve watched for 2023 as the most enjoyed or revered, to the least:

(no, I haven’t seen Oppenheimer yet)

The Zone of Interest – This powerful film about the banality of evil came at such an important time. The best, most important film of the year. I will never watch it again.

Anatomy of a Fall – Sandra Huller is in two of the top films of the year, giving extraordinary, varied performances in both. Her turn in Anatomy of a Fall is outstanding and levels up this film to a masterpiece. A very well-made film overall anyway, with a lot of similarities to The Staircase documentary.

May December – It had me at “I don’t think we have enough hot dogs.”

Spider-Man: Across the Spiderverse – A great sequel with mind-blowing animation.

The Killer – A somewhat simple and straightforward film for David Fincher, but his directing is on form here. It was more subtle and low key, but reminiscent of some of his best work.

Guardians of the Galaxy 3 – It’s rare these days that I enjoy a Marvel film, but this one stands out well above the rest. With an actual great villain and an emotional core.

Leave the World Behind – I liked this way more than I thought I would. But the cast is wonderful and it’s quite gripping… Even if I’m not so sure about the explanation of the plot.

Wham! – This documentary let me revisit my lifelong obsession with Wham! Also, nice to get a bit of insight into the history and inner workings of the duo. I was singing the songs for weeks after!

Nyad – I’m kind of obsessed with Jodie Foster in this.

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret – A story from my childhood brought to life in a wonderful way.

Past Lives – A VERY slow watch, but thematically very thought-provoking.

Fair Play

Blackberry – Technically I think I saw the TV edit, but it’s still primarily a film.

Saltburn – Totally unhinged cringefest. I can’t decide if I loved it or hated it, but it did keep my attention! Cruel Intentions meets Talented Mr. Ripley set to a soundtrack of my own college years.

Barbie – A lot of zany fun. The set design and costumes are wonderful! So is Ken.

Passages – So many films this year with deeply unlikable protagonists. This film did stick with me and I strongly admire it, but it was really hard to subdue my feeling of wanting to punch the main character in the face throughout the entire film.

American Fiction – Some very funny satire mixed with a touching family drama. I see what the film was trying to do with this balance, but it sometimes just came across as a bit tonally inconsistent. Still loved it overall and highly recommend!

The Boy and the Heron

The Menu

Tar – I was late to the Tar party… I find it hard to fully enjoy films with such unlikable protagonists with no redeeming features. It was also a bit dull – but so extremely well performed.

Dungeons & Dragons

Elemental

Avatar: The Way of the Water

Rye Lane

Scream 5 – Dropped on Netflix this year.

Armageddon Time

Femme

Wes Anderson’s Collection of Roald Dahl Short Films – The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar, The Swan, The Ratcatcher, Poison

Ticket to Paradise

The Lost City

Quiz Lady

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

Cassandro – The movie was a bit flat, but Gael Garcia Bernal’s extraordinary performance carried the film far beyond what it merited.

Chicken Run 2: Dawn of the Nugget

Flamin’ Hot

Confess, Fletch – Netflix release this year.

Maestro – The makeup is wonderful. But it’s so painfully try-hard you can see every mechanism at work. It’s the most acting I’ve ever seen in a lead performance. I admire Bradley Cooper’s dedication and passion, but struggled to find an actual story in the material.

You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah

Theater Camp

Return to Seoul – So many films this year with deeply unlikable protagonists.

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

Clerks 3

One Fine Morning

The Miracle Club

Reality

Living – Nice performance, rather slow dry movie.

Scrapper

Lightyear

Air

A Good Person

Clifford

Maggie Moore(s)

We Have a Ghost – Not as difficult to watch as it is just bad.

Luther: The Fallen Sun

You People

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