Finally! This took forever because 2023 was a REALLY good year in film, and I did some re-watching before committing to my list. It’s notable how many films in 2023 feature large ensemble casts, it was also the year the raunchy sex comedy at least attempted a theatrical comeback, and, obviously, it was the year of Barbenheimer, though—and maybe we’re fighting now—Oppenheimer didn’t resonate with me as much as other films did over the course of the year. So here it is, my top ten films of 2023, at long last. As always, this list is alphabetical, not ranked.


All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt

Raven Jackson’s feature directorial debut is a lazy, cyclical trip through one woman’s memories of growing up in Mississippi with her dear sister. An intimate family portrait focused on moments of flickering recollection rather than a singular narrative, All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt is a reminder that narrative films don’t have to be linear to be effective, and that grandiose emotion is often contained within the simplest moments. A heartfelt look back, Jackson’s debut is quietly bold for all the typical rules of cinematic storytelling that she breaks.

Full review here.

All of Us Strangers

Do you want to cry and never stop crying? Then boy, do I have the film for you! Andrew Haigh’s All of Us Strangers is moody, lyrical, sexy, haunted, and haunting. It is at once about time and loneliness, and love and loss, and the undeniable sex appeal of Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal as star-crossed lovers Adam and Harry. Lonely Adam reconnects with his long-dead parents at the same time as he begins a steamy affair with his hot neighbor, Harry. It would have been enough for Haigh to tell a story about reconciling and moving on, but no, he goes for the full gut-punch, ending on one of the bitterest notes of any film this year, and yet he still finds hope in connection, and that the ties that bind never fully wear away.




A movie about a toy just should not have been this good, this funny, this smart and daring in its vision and scale. Anchored by a stellar ensemble, a whimsical approach to gender politics, and meticulous artistic design that would do Cecil Beaton proud, Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie ushered to the screen one of the biggest swings of the year that connected amazingly well with audiences and provided one of the most fun theatrical experiences of 2023. Barbie is a celebration of all things pink and girly, it’s a screed against the strict expectations of the gender binary, and it’s a celebration of cinema that honors classic forms of filmmaking almost never seen in modern blockbusters anymore. 

Full review here.




Emma Seligman’s high school sex comedy is a curious cross of modern mores in which being gay is okay, but being ugly and untalented still brands you a loser, and a more retro sensibility in which no one is glued to their phone. Bottoms is incredibly weird and equally hilarious, driven by the pitch-perfect performances of Rachel Sennott, Ayo Edebiri, and the MVP of the film, Ruby Cruz. All the classic teen comedy themes are here, from coming of age and friendship to getting laid before graduation and doing crime in the name of sisterhood. Bottoms is one of the funniest films of the year, with an edge of sweetness it earns through depicting female friendship in all its f-cked up glory.

Full review here.

Godzilla Minus One

I hope everyone who complained about the lack of Japanese perspective in Oppenheimer went to see Godzilla Minus One, Takashi Yamazaki’s film that brings Godzilla back to his post-war, atomic roots. Godzilla was born of the psychic shock resulting from the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and Godzilla Minus One is anchored in that reality. This is not the good thicc boy of Hollywood, this Godzilla is a pitiless monster who levels everything in his path, with specific visuals in the attack scenes that reference the real nuclear destruction of Japan. The Japanese do not need Hollywood to tell this story—they’re doing great on their own.



Ivan Sen’s bleak crime drama Limbo planted itself in my mind and never left. The combination of rich black and white cinematography (lensed by Sen, who also wrote, edited, produced, and scored the film), haunting Australian landscape, and a clutch of incredible performances from Simon Baker, Natasha Wanganeen, and Rob Collins combine to make an unforgettable film. It’s as much an indictment of the colonial state as it is a moving character drama about unhappy people struggling to find a sliver of peace in the wake of shattering crime. Limbo works on so many levels, it’s a marvel, and it’s so effective in sight and sound you could cut the dialogue and still comprehend the story.

Full review here.


Past Lives

Celine Song’s feature directorial debut is an intimate romantic drama about possibility and opportunities both missed and taken. Greta Lee gives one of the best performances of the year as Nora, a Korean Canadian woman who reconnects with her childhood sweetheart through the internet. Past Lives is a rare love triangle without a bad guy, and a love story for a woman found at different times in her life. The delicacy of Past Lives is remarkable, subtle humor woven into an everyday romance that is as much about the rhythm of life as it is the act of falling in love. Past Lives is the kind of romantic drama that lingers in the mind for how evocative it is of the complexities of love and life, even when told in the simplest terms.

Full review here.

The Holdovers

A misanthrope, a grieving mother, and a twerp are forced to spend Christmas together, and the result is an instant holiday classic a la Planes, Trains & Automobiles. Alexander Payne’s film about lonely, forgotten, and lost souls is completely immersive in its 1970s New England boarding school milieu yet feels much bigger than its snowy campus setting. The Holdovers reveals itself in layers, expanding from a misanthropic buddy comedy to a film about the necessity of found family in a world of institutional failure and performative filial bliss. The bonds we forge with one another might be the only thing that save us from ourselves in a world that cares more about the bottom line than the people living in it.

Full review here.


The Unknown Country

Filmmaker Morissa Maltz brings a documentarian’s eye to this road trip drama anchored by Lily Gladstone’s sensitive performance as Tana, a grieving young woman searching for her grandmother in the past and America’s backroads. The Unknown Country captures the beauty, danger, and strangeness of the “real” America, celebrating the unique individuals who populate ubiquitous roadside businesses like motels and diners, while following Tana on her emotional journey to reconnect with her roots in the wake of loss. Killers of the Flower Moon got all the headlines, but it’s Gladstone’s other film that resonates deepest.

Full review here.


The Zone of Interest

An absolutely gutting horror show of human compliance and complaisance centered on the commandant of Auschwitz and his awful wife trying to live their best life during the Holocaust. Christian Friedel and Sandra Hüller give outstanding performances as this teeth-grindingly terrible couple, who build their “dream life” in their “dream home” at the edge of Auschwitz. One of the most shattering uses of sound in recent memory, The Zone of Interest is instantly indelible, a monstrous work about monstrous people that will haunt you forever. There was a throughline in 2023’s films about the evil that occurs when people covet what is not theirs at any cost, and no film realized that with more sickening clarity than The Zone of Interest.


Anatomy of a Fall

Asteroid City

May December

Showing Up

The Boy and the Heron


The Best of the 2023 Concert Films

RENAISSANCE: A Film by Beyoncé

Stop Making Sense

Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour

A Single Line Delivery So Good It Makes The Entire Movie Better

Sometimes, there is a single line in a movie so memorable, so perfectly delivered, it makes the movie itself better. These are the lines that are so good, they become the movie, distilled into one, perfect moment.

I’m from Waterloo, where the vampires hang out!BlackBerry (Performed by Glenn Howerton, written by Matt Johnson and Matthew Miller)

You think you’re so great because you have boats!Napoleon (Performed by Joaquin Phoenix, written by David Scarpa)

Okay Movies Featuring Stellar Performances

Alden Ehrenreich – Cocaine Bear, Oppenheimer

Colman Domingo – Rustin

Jennifer Lawrence & Andrew Barth Feldman – No Hard Feelings

Iman Vellani – The Marvels

Zach Galifianakis – The Beanie Bubble

Are You F-cking Kidding Me?

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny