Top 10 films to look forward to in 2023 • Art de Vivre
Top 10 films to look forward to in 2023

Top 10 films to look forward to in 2023

This year appears to be the year of the great return to cinemas and movie theatres. From critically acclaimed films to unusual subjects, here are 10 films you shouldn't miss in 2023

1. Empire of Light

Empire of Light is a British movie written and directed by Sam Mendes. The film, starring Olivia Colman, Colin Firth, and Toby Jones, had its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival in September 2022. This romantic drama tells the story of a depressed woman, Hilary Small, portrayed by Olivia Colman, who struggles with substance abuse in 1980s England. Hilary works at a cinema, where she encounters a new colleague, Stephen, a Black British man living with his mother. They embark on a passionate love affair, trying to find ways to deal with the racism Stephen faces. So far, critics have praised the film, earning Colman a nomination for Best Actress in a Motion Picture—Drama at the 80th Golden Globes. The Guardian's film critic Peter Bradshaw referred to the film as a “poignant, wonderfully acted drama."

2. Babylon

Babylon is an American epic period dramedy written and directed by Damien Chazelle. Featuring Brad Pitt alongside Margot Robbie, Tobey Maguire, and Li Jun Li, the film had its premiere in Los Angeles in December 2022. The film tells the story of the rise and fall of several Hollywood stars in the late 1920s during the transition from silent to sound films. Although it has thus far received 5 Golden Globe nominations, including Best Motion Picture—Musical or Comedy, and nine nominations at the 28th Critics' Choice Awards, including Best Picture, it has performed poorly at the box office due to its long runtime of 3 hours and 9 minutes, and its graphic content.

3. The Fabelmans

This 2022 film, directed and co-written by Steven Spielberg, is loosely based on Spielberg’s teens and first years in the industry as a filmmaker. Fictional Sammy Fabelman is a young filmmaker who discovers a family secret that helps him understand the power of cinema. Spielberg co-wrote and co-produced The Fabelmans with Tony, Pulitzer, and Emmy Award winner Tony Kushner. Starring Gabriel LaBelle, Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, and Seth Rogen, The Fabelmans had its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival in September 2022 and received 5 Golden Globe nominations, including "Best Motion Picture — Drama" and "Best Director" for Steven Spielberg, as well as 11 nominations at the 28th Critics' Choice Awards, including "Best Picture."

4. Tár

A psychological drama film written and directed by American filmmaker Todd Field, Tár tells the story of Lydia Tár, a fictional composer and conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic. Following her achievement of becoming the first female director of a major German orchestra, Tár loses her focus on music and becomes a master manipulator, which eventually will bring her downfall. In September 2022, Tár premiered at the 79th Venice International Film Festival, where its lead actress, Cate Blanchett, won the Volpi Cup for Best Actress. Tár was also named the best film of 2022 by the New York Film Critics Circle and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. It has received three Golden Globe nominations, including Best Motion Picture (Drama), Best Screenplay, and Best Actress in a Motion Picture (Drama). Cate Blanchett’s performance in Tár is so unbelievably perfect that the internet seems to think the film is actually a biopic. According to critics, Blanchett is a strong candidate for an Oscar with her portrayal of Lydia Tár.

5. The Whale

The Whale is an American psychological drama film based on the screenplay by Samuel D. Hunter of the same name. The film is directed by Darren Aronofsky and features Brendan Fraser, Sadie Sink, Hong Chau, and Samantha Morton. The Whale tells the story of a secluded gay English teacher trying to reconcile with his teenage daughter. Like Tár, The Whale premiered at the 79th Venice International Film Festival in September 2022. It includes received high praise from the critics for the performances of Fraser and Chau leading to Fraser's Best Actor nomination at the 80th Golden Globe Awards.

6. Oppenheimer

Christopher Nolan's star-studded film tells the story of J. Robert Oppenheimer, an American theoretical physicist who is often referred to as "the father of the atomic bomb" due to his involvement with the Manhattan Project, which produced the first nuclear weapons during WWII. Oppenheimer is based on Kai Bird's biography American Prometheus. The film features Cillian Murphy as Oppenheimer, with Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jr., Matt Damon, Rami Malek, Florence Pugh, Benny Safdie, Michael Angarano, Josh Hartnett, and Kenneth Branagh in supporting roles. Oppenheimer will be released internationally in July 2023.

7. The Eternal Daughter

The Eternal Daughter is a mystery, drama film written, produced, and directed by British film director Joanne Hogg and featuring Tilda Swinton in two different roles. The Eternal Daughter had its world premiere at the 79th Venice International Film Festival in September 2022. It focuses on the story of a filmmaker, Julie, who takes her mother to a secluded hotel following the death of her father. Julie hopes to spend some time with her mother in this formerly family home turned hotel, thinking that her time with her mother would give her enough material for a new film. However, long-forgotten family secrets and her haunted past interfere with her plans.

8. Cocaine Bear

Based on an unusual true story, Cocaine Bear is an American dark comedy thriller directed by Elizabeth Banks. In 1985, an American black bear finds a bag full of cocaine that was dropped from a small plane in the mountains of Georgia. Once the bear consumes cocaine, he becomes erratic and starts terrorising townspeople. The film stars Keri Russell, O'Shea Jackson Jr., Christian Convery-Jennings, Alden Ehrenreich, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Margo Martindale. Cocaine Bear is scheduled to hit theatres in February 2023.

9. Barbie

Greta Gerwig’s Barbie, starring Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie as Ken and Barbie, is the first live-action Barbie film. Barbie focuses on a storyline where dolls cannot live in Barbieland unless they are 100% perfect. Barbie decides to take her chances in the human world where Ken is having an existential crisis while supporting his full-blown human experience. Barbie is set to hit theatres in July 2023.

10. Wonka

Wonka is a musical fantasy film based on the same-titled novel and movie, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Wonka features Timothée Chalamet as its main character, while Keegan-Michael Key, Olivia Colman, and Rowan Atkinson star in supporting roles. It tells the story of a younger Willy Wonka and how he encountered the Oompa-Loompas. Wonka is scheduled to be released in December 2023, just in time for the holiday season.


Inspired to discover more must-watch movies? Check out the Venice Film Festival’s highlights in 2022 and our recommendations for films about artists


Credits for the Main photo: Margot Robbie and Diego Calva in Babylon (2022)


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