2023 is almost half (note: As?) and many of the year’s most anticipated films are still waiting in the wings for their summer or fall debuts, but the year has already provided an absolute smorgasbord of cinematic delights for those who know where to look (or are lucky enough to live in the kind of place where AMC isn’t the only game in town).
Many of the early highlights – including the heart-pounding immigration dramas ‘RMN’ and ‘Tori and Lokita’, as well as the more narcotized films like ‘Godland’ and ‘Pacification’ – are inevitable holdovers from last year’s Cannes lineup, while more recent festival breakouts like ‘Rye Lane’, ‘The Starling Girl’, ‘A Thousand and One’ have already come down the mountain since Sundance. There’s also an assortment of even older festival tunes, such as ‘Monica’, ‘Falcon Lake’, ‘The Blackening’ and ‘Master Gardener’ that have finally made it to American shores, alongside the recent release of the indie hit British “Blue Jean.»
But the most pleasant surprise of the cinematic year so far is that many of the new releases this winter and spring have far exceeded expectations (eg “M3GAN”, “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret”), while the author – driven tracks like Wes Anderson’s “Asteroid City,” Celine Song’s “Past Lives,” Ari Aster’s “Beau Is Afraid,” and Makoto Shinkai’s “Suzume,” took great pleasure in mixing them up. A big hit by any metric? “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”, which delighted the viewers AND critics, and made a pretty penny while doing it.
With new work from masters and favorites like Martin Scorsese, Greta Gerwig, Christopher Nolan and Yorgos Lanthmios on the immediate horizon – and surely many more gems to emerge this autumn festival season – there’s reason to hope that our already excellent film year is just starting to heat up.
Here are our picks for the 30 best movies of 2023 (so far). We will update and refine this list throughout the year as new films are released.
This article includes contributions from Siddhant Adlakha, Carlos Aguilar, Christian Blauvelt, Jude Dry, Steph Green, Ella Kemp, Leila Latif, Ryan Lattanzio, Marisa Mirabal, Rafael Motomayor, Christian Zilko, and Esther Zuckerman.