Best Movies of 2023

The Best of 2023! A lot of historical period pieces balanced with some lighter fare. If last year's theme was a modern social reckoning, this year's theme is remembering the past with a lot of important historical moments mostly forgotten.

(Listing streaming/other platforms for each movie for every country is a challenge and not really possible, sorry. I recommend using, they have every movie, every country and most if not all platforms, and it's free)

#1 How to Blow Up a Pipeline

Quiet, thoughtful, tense thriller.
Ever since Kelly Reichardt’s Night Moves, one of my favourite genres has been the ecoterrorism thriller. A quiet thoughtful drama filled with tension and morally gray characters wreaking havoc for the greater good of the planet. And that’s exactly what How to Blow Up a Pipeline is. My most anticipated from last year’s Toronto International Film Festival and it completely lives up to expectations. An incredibly smart and suspenseful drama that weaves a very compelling story.   2023

Directed by: Daniel Goldhaber

Screenplay by: Ariela Barer, Jordan Sjol, and Daniel Goldhaber

Starring: Ariela Barer, Sasha Lane, Forrest Goodluck, Lukas Gage, and Kristine Forseth
See full review of How to Blow Up a Pipeline

#2 Barbie

A funny and smart synopsis of Barbie in the real world vs Barbieland.
Barbie is book-ended with a history of Barbie and Mattel. Within the opening minute it gives a concise breakdown of why Barbie exists and why it become so popular: because Barbie represented a world of possibilities, girls could play pretend as anything they wanted, they were no longer confined to playing house. Over in Barbieland, all the Barbies are living their best life. Their best plastic life.   2023

Directed by: Greta Gerwig

Screenplay by: Greta Gerwig, Noah Baumbach

Starring: Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling
See full review of Barbie

#3 Of An Age

Intimate and epic, heartbreaking and funny.
Of an Age starts frantically with a problem both amusing and concerning. Ebony (Hattie Hook) wakes up with disheveled clothes alone on a beach. She scrambles to find a payphone (it’s 1999) and she calls Kol (Elias Anton) to come get her. A few problems with that. Kol doesn’t have a car, she doesn’t know where she is, and they have a dance final in an hour. He has to find someone to drive, pick up her dance outfit, use deductive reasoning to guess where she is, and make sure her mother doesn’t find out.   2022

Directed by: Goran Stolevski

Screenplay by: Goran Stolevski

Starring: Elias Anton, Thom Green
See full review of Of An Age

#4 Priscilla

Female empowerment in the shadow of Elvis Presley.
I wasn’t expecting the romance between Priscilla and Elvis Presley to be a tale of female empowerment and women’s liberation, but here we are. Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla features Cailee Spaeny as the young Priscilla (fourteen years old to be exact) smitten in love and over the years, almost imperceptibly at first, grows to be a woman who stands up for herself and gets out of the stardom of Elvis Presley and an abusive relationship before it destroys her.   2023

Directed by: Sofia Coppola

Screenplay by: Sofia Coppola
Based on the book by Priscilla Presley and Sandra Harmon

Starring: Cailee Spaeny, Jacob Elordi
See full review of Priscilla

#5 Bottoms

The new standard for high school comedies.
Bottoms is quite possibly the funniest movie of the year. Set in a high school that is hopefully more extreme than anything in reality, PJ (Rachel Sennott) and Josie (Ayo Edebiri) are two very unpopular queer girls whom the entire school hates because they don’t idolize Jeff. Nicholas Galitzine’s almost cartoon portrayal of star quarterback Jeff (who wears his jersey emblazoned with his first name) perfectly fits the film’s atmosphere.   2023

Directed by: Emma Seligman

Screenplay by: Emma Seligman, Rachel Sennott

Starring: Rachel Sennott, Ayo Edebiri
See full review of Bottoms

#6 Killers of the Flower Moon

An important and tragic moment in American history full of greed, racism and corruption.

Killers of the Flower Moon is based on a true story about a series of murders of Osage Native Americans in Osage County, Oklahoma in the 1920s. I would like to say shocking true story because it’s almost hard to believe that this actually happened, but knowing the racism at the time, it’s unfortunately rather easy to believe. The elements propelling the story forward are money, greed and racism. All of which are unsurprising motivators for murder.   2023

Directed by: Martin Scorsese

Screenplay by: Eric Roth, Martin Scorsese, and David Grann

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, and Lily Gladstone
See full review of Killers of the Flower Moon

#7 Anatomy of a Fall

Questions of truth or justice in a trial about guilt or innocence.
High in the French Alps, Sandra lives with her husband Samuel, their 11-year-old son Daniel and their dog Snoop. That is until her husband is found dead at the foot of their multi-storey chalet. The police question her, naturally, since she was the only one home with him at the time. She calls a lawyer once she suspects she’s about to become a person of interest. The question becomes whether she killed her husband or not.   2023

Directed by: Justine Triet

Screenplay by: Justine Triet, Arthur Harari

Starring: Sandra Hüller, Swann Arlaud
See full review of Anatomy of a Fall

#8 Oppenheimer

Complexity of a tortured genius.
Oppenheimer tells a complicated portrait of a complicated by man by weaving in the science, the politics, and his fame. The first act is primarily Robert Oppenheimer as the physicist – an impulsive and smart young man, who studied in Europe and learned the languages and cultures around him. It also starts introducing the political trials that will surround him in later years.   2023

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

Screenplay by: Christopher Nolan, Kai Bird, Martin Sherwin

Starring: Cillian Murphy, Robert Downey Jr.
See full review of Oppenheimer

#9 BlackBerry

2023 is apparently the year of the corporate biopic, a genre that is proving to be more successful than it sounds like it should be. Blackberry, the historical drama-comedy about the rise and fall of the Waterloo tech company Research in Motion, is highly entertaining with a winning structure. Mike and Doug are two Canadian tech nerds with an idea for the world’s first smartphone and zero sense of how anything is accomplished or how money is made.   2023

Directed by: Matt Johnson

Screenplay by: Matt Johnson, Jacquie McNish, Matthew Miller

Starring: Jay Baruchel, Glenn Howerton
See full review of BlackBerry

#10 Bank of Dave

Fighting against the banking system in an hilarious, entertaining, genuinely feel-good movie.
Previously I referred to The Burial as the biggest crowd-pleaser of the year, so I’ll call Bank of Dave the best crowd-pleaser of the year. It’s very much a ‘little guys succeeding against systems designed to make them fail’ but it’s very funny, very entertaining, surprisingly smart and even a little inspiring. There’s a lot of predictable elements but all incorporated in a way that feels right and remains interesting.   2023

Directed by: Chris Foggin

Screenplay by: Piers Ashworth

Starring: Rory Kinnear, Joel Fry
See full review of Bank of Dave

#11 Tetris

Business smarts in a cold war-era drama, comedy, thriller.

2023 thus far is the year of the product/corporate biopic and despite some persistent naysayers who insist this is just commercialism of the worst genre, it is proving to add more interesting business obstacles onto the human aspects. Tetris is not the story of how it was created, but how it was purchased, sold and packaged to become one of the most popular video games worldwide.   2023

Directed by: Jon S. Baird

Screenplay by: Noah Pink

Starring: Taron Egerton
See full review of Tetris

#12 Reality

An FBI transcript turned into a riveting true story.

Reality takes a new spin on the based-on-a-true-story genre by presenting a word-for-word real-time account of something that most of us probably only know from headlines in the news. And wow does this style ever work. It is impressive how much our perceptions of the story and the people shift and suspense has been packed in as the filmmakers follow the actual transcript of the FBI raid and interrogation of Reality Winner.   2023

Directed by: Tina Satter

Screenplay by: Tina Satter, James Paul Dallas

Starring: Sydney Sweeney
See full review of Reality

#13 Chevalier

A tale of opera, racism, forbidden love and the French revolution.
A film about a man almost forgotten by history is about to be completely ignored by the movie-going public. On one hand, an operatic biopic about a violinist from the 18th century is never going to be an easy sell; but on the other hand, this should have easily been able to ride the popularity of Bridgerton, the popularity of stars Kelvin Harrison Jr and Samara Weaving and the intrigue in the French monarchy and Queen Marie Antoinette.   2022

Directed by: Stephen Williams

Screenplay by: Stefani Robinson

Starring: Kelvin Harrison, Jr., Samara Weaving
See full review of Chevalier

#14 Boston Strangler

Misogyny and crime collide in an interesting story.
Keira Knightley in a period piece drama about a progressive woman and based on a true story – this is her bread and butter. It’s also my bread and butter. The fact that it’s also a dark story (literally about a serial killer) and includes some detective elements helps round this movie out into a very interesting story and fascinating watch.   2023

Directed by: Matt Ruskin

Screenplay by: Matt Ruskin

Starring: Keira Knightley
See full review of Boston Strangler

#15 Rustin

A biopic that matches its lead character.
Rustin starts a little chaotically; a jazz score with Bayard Rustin (Colman Domingo) in various political offices with various political bigwigs and African American leaders. It feels out of sorts and difficult to get into, and while it’s not obvious at first, this is very much on purpose. Rustin is a traditional biopic but it tries to skirt familiarity by giving the film the same personality as its subject.   2023

Directed by: George C. Wolfe

Screenplay by: Julian Breece, Dustin Lance Black

Starring: Colman Domingo
See full review of Rustin

#16 Susie Searches

A darkly comedic, unsettling delight.

Susie (Kiersey Clemons) is an unpopular, socially awkward college student who grew up on detective novels, now takes care of her mother suffering from MS and runs a true crime podcast taking on the recent case of the missing student she goes to school with. Viewers beware of anybody who gives away more than that as there are sure to be spoilers abound.   2022

Directed by: Sophie Kargman

Screenplay by: William Day Frank, Sophie Kargman

Starring: Kiersey Clemons, Alex Wolff
See full review of Susie Searches

#17 Who Are You People

A quietly powerful and compelling family drama.
A drama that sneaks up on you by balancing a story that looks familiar but becomes a very important and powerful tale about morality. Who Are You People starts with Alex (Ema Horvath), a snarky, lonely, rebellious teenager who writes stories for English class about how nobody understands her and how her parents hate her and then retreats into her self-loathing defense.   2023

Directed by: Ben Epstein

Screenplay by: Ben Epstein

Starring: Ema Horvath, Devon Sawa
See full review of Who Are You People

#18 The Burial

Taking down greed and racism in an entertaining crowd-pleaser.
The biggest crowd-pleaser you’ll find this year. A highly entertaining court room drama about good guys vs bad guys. There might be a few minor misdirections on which one is which, but it’s all due to how they play the race card. A story which is seemingly not about race at all turns out to be very racially motivated thanks to a smart observant young lawyer.   2023

Directed by: Maggie Betts

Screenplay by: Doug Wright, Maggie Betts, Jonathan Harr

Starring: Jamie Foxx, Tommy Lee Jones, Mamoudou Athie
See full review of The Burial

#19 You People

A funny and traditional rom-com tackling modern racial differences.

Writer and director Kenya Barris, known for Black-ish and Girls Trip, now turns his sights to a more traditional rom-com. A rom-com featuring an interracial couple and meddling parents who make life so difficult for the pair that they’re out here questioning if blacks and whites can even be friends. But don’t worry, you’ll be laughing too hard to spend too much time worrying about the state of society.   2023

Directed by: Kenya Barris

Screenplay by: Kenya Barris, Jonah Hill

Starring: Jonah Hill, Lauren London, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss and Eddie Murphy
See full review of You People

#20 Confession

A compelling story of lies, deception and sexual assault.
Confession starts on a cold, dark highway, nothing in sight, and the figure of two people, one of whom is probably not conscious if they’re even alive. But then it flashes to a New Year’s Eve party. A group of teenagers in a nice large house living it up as if there is no tomorrow. The dialogue starts the next morning a lawyer talking with three young men about a woman who was at their party. Who is she, how do you know her, how did she get to the party.   2022

Directed by: Dayna Hanson

Screenplay by: Gregory Mulligan

Starring: Clark Backo, Sarah Hay
See full review of Confession