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Home » The Top 24 Movies of 2023 (So Far!)

The Top 24 Movies of 2023 (So Far!)

We’re midway through 2023 and I have, so far, seen 84 new movies. Some of these were bad, some of them were okay – a few were excellent. These are the best 24 of the year, so far.

Setting Some Guidelines

To keep this clear, I want to clarify the following:

  • In the interest of keeping this aligned with general takes on the internet, I will be going from US-release date. If we were to use UK-release date – then Tár would be #2, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish would be #6, Marcel The Shell With Shoes On would be #9, Pearl would be #13 and The Fabelmans would be #15.
  • I have not seen John Wick 4, Indiana Jones 5, Fast X or Ruby Gillman – probably some others, too. One of those may end up making it on the list – but I don’t think any would make it too high.
  • I am ready to love Past Lives and Blackberry, but they have not yet released in the UK.
  • This is my personal opinion based on a combination on how enjoyable these movies were and how well made they were. It’s my opinion, don’t hate me!

24. Air

Air was just a good time. It’s a delightfully simple movie, which is on a topic that I don’t think I could care less about. Nevertheless, this yassified Moneyball had me watching with anticipation, as Damon and Affleck just had fun.

23. Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves

I didn’t expect to like this one, the marketing was terrible – but it ended up being a pleasant surprise. Chris Pine is one of the best leading men out there, at the moment, and this movie just provided laugh after laugh. It’s not going to win an Oscar, but it’s a Dungeons & Dragons movie that wasn’t a disaster – that’s more impressive than an Oscar!

22. Actual People

I haven’t seen anybody talking about this one. It’s not the easiest to find movie and it’s not the most exciting movie out there, but it definitely captured emotions that I think will resonate with a lot of people in their early 20s. I’m so lucky that this didn’t come out in my final year of university, because it would’ve killed me. It’s a simple, short slice of life movie which doesn’t do anything too unique – but does stick with you.

21. Elemental

It’s far from Pixar’s finest, but it’s, also, not the generic movie that the internet seems determined to label it as. There’s a very personal, beautiful tale about first and second-generation immigrants here, as well as how they’re looked at by society. It’s funny and it’s enjoyable, though it doesn’t quite have the lasting power of some of Pixar’s greats.

20. A Good Person

This feels like an even more controversial pick than the last one. Zach Braff’s “A Good Person” has one thing going for it and that thing is mother-effing Florence Pugh, who carries this movie to the finish line, playing drug addict Allison. She is superb in this, despite a fairly generic script – you’ll forget all about that and just be sucked into the emotion. It’s not a good time (aside from a bizarre scene involving Morgan Freeman and a gun), but it’s an impressive display.

19. The Artifice Girl

Another one that’s kind of slipped under the radar, The Artifice Girl is a small-scale look at AI and how it may be utilized and the potential moral issues with doing so. It’s very Black Mirror-esque and couldn’t be more timely if it tried. If you can excuse the low budget, then it’s a very engaging and thought-provoking watch.

Check out our full review of The Artifice Girl here.

18. Beautiful Disaster

This movie is a special kind of awful, to the degree that you have to believe the filmmakers were in on the joke. My most-liked Letterboxd review of all time is a review for this movie describing it as a “Disney Channel original but horny”, and I stand by that description. It’s a ridiculous rom-com, with an odd underground fight club and a strange Poker backstory. You have to watch it to appreciate it, just don’t watch it sober. Still one of my favourite movie-going experiences of the year, even if it’s objectively an awful movie.

Check out our full review of Beautiful Disaster here.

17. Fanfic

Netflix haven’t had too many wins this year, but this Polish LGBT drama was interesting and enjoyable. It’s a fairly typical “trans coming out” story, but set against the backdrop of modern day Poland; with some creative direction.

Check out our full review for Fanfic here.

16. Missing

The standalone sequel to Searching, Missing takes place entirely on a computer screen. It’s exciting and extremely creative, finding ways of making sure that the gimmick never wears thin. Every few minutes, you’ll think that the movie has revealed everything and then it will drop a new twist; you can never be sure with this one. It’s a mystery masterclass.

15. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.

A charming movie, the type of which we don’t see cinema releases for anymore. Based on the iconic Judy Blume book, this movie has a lot of heart; a lot of laughs and a stellar performance from the entire cast, including Rachel McAdams.

Check out our full review of Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret here.

14. Influencer

You may be able to call this the biggest surprise of the year. Another one that’s gone completely under the radar, but this horror / thriller takes on the overdone moral of “aren’t influencers bad?” and gives us something unique. It’s a movie that never allows you to predict where it’s going, breaking a lot of traditional formats, and it’s all the better for it. A very enjoyable watch, if this years big budget horrors aren’t doing it for you.

Check out our full review of Influencer here.

13. Tetris

A lot of people didn’t like this movie, but I really enjoyed it. Clever visuals, a fast-paced and exciting plot – this was just a very enjoyable watch that built upon the same magic that I got out of watching Air. It’s not ground-breaking, but it’s a good time.

12. Polite Society

Easily one of the most creative movies of the year – Polite Society deserved to leave a bigger mark in our culture. Extremely creative fight sequences, a very entertaining cast of characters… it’s let-down slightly by a dull second act, but everything else is firing on all cylinders and this truly is one of the funniest movies of the year.

Check out our full review for Polite Society here.

11. One More Time

Okay, this movie just assaults all my weaknesses when it comes to movies. I love time loops, I love coming of age and I love queer tropes. This Swedish Netflix movie does all three really well and creates an experience that feels tailor-made to me; but is still enjoyable to others, I promise!

Check out our full review for One More Time here.

10. Scream VI

Scream VI is just a very well-done horror movie, that plays off of the tropes of the previous Scream movies but fully embraces the new cast. It’s the first Scream movie without Sydney and it manages just fine without her, with an abundance of creative scenes; an entertaining group of characters and some of the most brutal kills in the franchise. Six movies and still going strong, Scream may be the most unstoppable horror franchise.

9. Evil Dead Rise

Okay, maybe Scream isn’t the best horror franchise. Taking on all the challenges of Scream of trying to fully disestablish itself from the rules of the Evil Dead franchise – Evil Dead Rise took on a huge risk and in return, we got an incredibly disturbing horror; with a lot of thought behind it.

Check out our full review for Evil Dead Rise here.

8. No Hard Feelings

The sex comedy is back, and it is glorious. Jennifer Lawrence is hilarious in this movie and while it relies on some tried and tested tropes, it’s just a very well put-together version of a movie that we don’t see too often nowadays – especially not on the big screen. Very funny, not much else to say!

7. A Man Called Otto

It doesn’t look like this movie worked on many people, but it worked on me. A very storybook-esque tale of Tom Hanks playing a grumpy old man, who just wants to kill himself – but keeps getting distracted by his Mexican neighbours, a stray cat and a transgender kid. It’s predictable, it’s been done before, it had me sobbing.

6. Blue Jean

Another one that I don’t see too much conversation about – Blue Jean is a story of a lesbian schoolteacher trying to teach during Section 28, in Newcastle upon Tyne. It’s an incredibly bold story, not because it’s unapologetically pro-LGBT, but because it’s willing to say that sometimes LGBT people contribute to the problem and doesn’t feel like it has to sugarcoat this. It’s a movie that puts a lot of trust into the audience and speaks its mind.

5. Rye Lane

This is just pure joy, all the way through. Set over the course of a few days, we just get a really enjoyable romantic comedy – with no high stakes, just two people having a good time. I didn’t expect to enjoy this one as much as I did, but it really was just a really solid modern take on the rom-com genre.

4. Suzume

This has really grown on me and is one of my favourite animated movies of the year. It’s certainly the best looking animated movie of the year. A girl and a chair must team-up to stop a cat from opening doors across Japan, that unleash a giant worm creature. I promise it makes a bit more sense when you watch it. It can get a little bit too “anime” at times, but the scope of the story is epic; it’s full of emotion; it’s funny; it’s full of meaning… I think a lot of people will dismiss this because it’s anime, but it really is a solid watch.

Check out our full review for Suzume here.

3. Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 3

It takes a lot for an MCU movie to make it high on my list. Guardians 3 achieves it by being the complete anti-thesis of what the modern MCU stands for. It’s an epic movie on its own, it isn’t reliant on setting-up future projects, it’s very funny and it just a very endearing cast of characters. There’s an amazing villain, some tear-jerking flashbacks, many epic scenes and just a beautiful send-off to a part of the Marvel universe that we may not see (for some time).

Check out our full review for Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 3 here.

2. How To Blow-Up A Pipeline

I always think of movies as being good for one of two reasons: either they’re fun roller-coaster rides, or they make me think deeply about something. How To Blow-Up A Pipeline is unique in that it achieves both of these things. It’s, on its own, a very thrilling heist movie; which has you on the edge of your seat throughout, as you watch the characters try to… well, blow-up a pipeline. Yet, you leave the movie asking yourself questions like: were they in the right or the wrong? Was what they were doing terrorism? Am I cheering on terrorism by supporting them? Am I contributing to the climate crisis by not cheering them on? It is a deeply important, while still very entertaining movie that I highly recommend.

Check out our full review of How To Blow-Up A Pipeline here.

1. Nimona

On one hand, this movie does have timing to its advantage – it’s the most recent movie that I’ve seen, but I suspect it’s going to maintain a spot at the top come the year end. Despite a lot of misses this year, Netflix have put out this creative movie about queer identity in society; in the context of a futuristic knight society. It shouldn’t work, especially given that the movie has been in development hell for eight years; but it does. It’s charming, funny, entertaining and will make you feel.

Check out our full review for Nimona here.

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