The Top 20 Movies of 2023 That Defined the Year

As we bid farewell to 2023, the silver screen has left an indelible mark with a diverse array of films that captivated audiences worldwide. From thought-provoking dramas to uproarious comedies, the cinematic landscape offered a rich tapestry of storytelling. Here’s a curated list of the top 20 movies that defined the year:

1. “Barbie”

Director Greta Gerwig’s modern comedy challenges stereotypes as Margot Robbie’s Barbie confronts gender-imbalanced realities, delivering impactful messages wrapped in candy-colored entertainment.

2. “Maestro”

Bradley Cooper’s sophomore directing effort explores the troubled romance between Leonard Bernstein (Cooper) and Felicia Montealegre (Carey Mulligan), set against the backdrop of West Side Story’s musical genius.

3. “American Fiction”

A blistering satire, this film, starring Jeffrey Wright, critiques the industry’s tendency to portray Black storytelling with traumatic narratives, combining outrageously funny moments with poignant family melodrama.

4. “AIR”

Ben Affleck directs this underdog story, inspired by a historical footnote involving a Nike marketing whiz (Matt Damon) attempting to sign Michael Jordan, exploring themes of gumption, optimism, and faith.

5. “Oppenheimer”

Christopher Nolan’s epic delves into the creation of the atomic bomb, featuring a first-rate ensemble, including Cillian Murphy, Robert Downey Jr., Matt Damon, and Emily Blunt, making it a fascinating exploration of 20th-century history.

6. “Anatomy of a Fall”

The Palme d’Or winner from the Cannes Film Festival, this thriller features Sandra Huller as a German novelist standing trial for the murder of her possibly depressed husband, offering twisty intensity and deep analytical discussions.

7. “The Holdovers”

Set in 1970, this tale of damaged souls, starring Paul Giamatti, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, and Dominic Sessa, forges a bond over Christmas break at an all-boys boarding school, avoiding easy sentimentality.

8. “Past Lives”

Nora (Greta Lee) and Hae-Sung (Teo Yoo) reconnect as adults in this tender romance spanning 24 years and two continents, exploring palpable chemistry and bittersweet conversations.

9. “Poor Things”

Emma Stone delivers a career-defining performance as Bella Baxter, brought back to life in 19th century Europe in this buzzy and beyond-unhinged film directed by Yargos Lanthimos.

10. “May December”

Julianne Moore and Riverdale’s Charles Melton star in this unconventional love story, offering a riveting character study and a nefarious satire on celebrity, available on Netflix.

11. “Fair Play”

A 90s-era thriller with a mix of bloody period sex, workplace romance, and corporate intrigue, this film, available on Netflix, promises a rollercoaster ride of emotions and unexpected twists.

12. “Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret”

A poignant adaptation of Judy Blume’s novel, this coming-of-age story set in 1970 follows a sixth-grader (Abby Ryder Fortson) navigating the challenges of adolescence, streaming on Starz.

13. “The Burial”

Tommy Lee Jones and Jamie Foxx star in this fact-based courtroom drama that exposes corporate corruption and racial injustice, surprising audiences as a rousing crowd-pleaser, available on Prime Video.

14. “Killers of the Flower Moon”

Martin Scorsese’s sprawling epic, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro, delves into the tragic true story of murders in Oklahoma’s Osage Nation in the 1920s, offering sturdy performances and a brisk narrative.

15. “Dream Scenario”

Nicolas Cage shines in this wildly imaginative comedy and thought-provoking social satire, portraying a mild-mannered biology professor who starts appearing in people’s dreams, currently in theaters.

16. “You Hurt My Feelings”

Julia Louis-Dreyfus takes on the role of a neurotic New York City writer in this breezy effort from writer-director Nicole Holofcener, astutely examining the choices we make to protect our loved ones, available for purchase on digital and on demand.

17. “NYAD”

Annette Bening portrays the remarkable real-life feat of athlete and journalist Diana Nyad, free-swimming 110 miles from Cuba to Key West after turning 60, showcasing an inspirational adult friendship, available on Netflix.

18. “Priscilla”

Sofia Coppola delicately explores the teenage years of Priscilla (Cailee Spaeny), wooed by a significantly older rock star Elvis Presley, offering a transfixing and tart portrait of marital loneliness, currently in theaters.

19. “Dumb Money”

This wickedly entertaining comedy tells the true story of a Boston finance misfit (Paul Dano) taking on The Man by investing in GameStop stock, featuring a stellar cast including Seth Rogen, Sebastian Stan, America Ferrera, and Pete Davidson, available for purchase on digital and on demand.

20. “M3Gan”

An anti-Barbie doll takes center stage in this weirdly entertaining film that delivers laughs and thrills, leaving audiences anticipating a sequel, available for purchase on digital and on demand.

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