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Top 20 Films to Watch in 2023

The year 2023 is almost coming to a close and film critics, Nicholas Barber and Caryn James, from BBC Culture put together a list of top films to watch in 2023 so far. This list is a cocktail of all genres of movies and Anime lovers will relate to it just as much as Thriller, Action, and Comedy lovers.


1. Saint Omer

A distressing drama exploring themes of race, class, and motherhood based on a true case of a young woman in France who was charged with abandoning her baby to die.

Films: Saint Omer.
Film: Saint Omer. Photo| BBC

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2. Close

A moving coming-of-age drama portraying the strain of peer pressure on teenage friendships. Two 13-year-old boys are cast as friends whose friendship is challenged in high school through peer pressure and bullying. A film that also redefines the dynamic of bullying as these boys’ are changed mostly by the conversations around and within them.

3. John Wick: Chapter 4

There goes the best mainstream, commercial film of the year so far. Assassin John Wick yet again proves to be “badder” than any modern-day James Bond with a body count that keeps soaring higher than Kenya’s fuel prices. John Wick: Chapter 4 is nothing like the previous John Wick entries.

4. Holy Spider

Holy Spider tells of the true story of a married builder Mehdi Bajestani, who murdered 16 workers in Iran’s Holy City of Mashhad in 2001 and 2002. It is a serial killer drama that features a local man masquerading as a community hero on a moral crusade. The film is a dark exploration of misogyny in society.

5. The Worst Ones

Imagine a movie in which real students are cast to act in fictional versions of their real-life stories on screen! Quite a compelling drama to watch. The film sheds light on the bad reputation, lives, and behavior of children and adolescents in a neglected neighborhood.

6. EO

A surreal journey of a donkey trotting across Europe, after losing its job in a circus due to a shutdown. The movie showcases man’s inhumanity to man through a donkey’s eyes as well as man’s inhumanity to the donkey. It is a sweet, loving, and mischievous watch that will surely change one’s view of donkeys and life in general.

7. Return to Seoul

A film delving into identity and self-discovery as a Korean woman adopted and raised in France, seeks her birth parents. It is also packed with moments of time traveling that leave the woman questioning so many things in her life, most of all, whether she really wants to find out who her parents are and who she really is.

8. Infinity Pool

Films: Infinity Pool.
Film: Infinity Pool. Photo| BBC

A darkly comedic tale set in a beach resort, exploring extremes of human behavior is what Infinity Pool is all about. When rich people want to have a bad time on an Island, always trust the holiday to turn into hell. The film is bloody, with jaw-dropping scenes that involve a struggling writer and a wealthy wife at a beach resort in a country that carries out immediate execution for certain crimes.

9. Polite Society

A culture-clash comedy of manners with a twist of horror that also offers a fun and fresh viewing experience. The movie involves Ria, a London, teenage girl of Pakistani descent who has dreams of becoming a professional stuntwoman, however, the opportunity to showcase her abilities comes sooner when her elder sister gets involved with a man whom Ria suspects to be a deadly catfish.

10. How to Blow Up a Pipeline

This may be a movie about people hatching up a sinister plan, however, it is not your everyday sinister plan movie. It revolves around a disorganized group of eco-activists who go to life-risking ends to blow up a pipeline. The group, unlike many others, is not motivated by greed or acts of terrorism but by anger. They are fighting back out of the dangerous effect pollution has had on them, corporate greed, and climate crisis.

11. Showing Up

A slice-of-an-artist’s-life tale set at an art college. The film stars an ordinary woman without wild dreams and fame in a big city. It is a feel-good movie that is absorbing and light-handed.

12. Suzume

Here is one for the anime lovers! Suzume is an imagination-filled movie with magical fantasy, humor, warmth, and patriotism all telling the story of a teenage girl who discovers secrets portals to another dimension in the abandoned towns of Japan. Her sidekick is a boy who was turned into a chair and together they have to prevent an evil monster from accessing their world through the portal.

13. Past Lives

The lives of two best friends since childhood change after one of them relocates to Canada with her family. In Canada, Nora starts a new life and later on, gets married and settles down in New York. Hae Sung eventually re-enters her life thus challenging Nora’s strength of marriage and depicting the strength of long-aged love. A film that redefines romance and leaves the viewer questioning the impact of childhood friendship on adult life.

14. Broker

A funny film that takes viewers through the life of a Korean launderette owner with a queer side hustle. Together with his sidekick, the two sell unwanted babies to couples escaping the legal adoption process. However, hell breaks loose for these budding businessmen when one birth mother demands to be involved in the business.

15. The Lesson

The Lesson perfectly depicts what betrayal, revenge, and ambition look like in a family setting. Throughout the plot, the characters’ hidden agendas and secrets grow darker and more devastating. It features a famous and aging British novelist, living with his unhappy wife and their teenage son who decide to welcome a tutor in their home to guide their son into being a world-class, award-winning novelist.

16. Reality

The film takes us through an FBI interrogation of a woman named Reality Winner back in 2017. Winner was a US government translator who had leaked a classified document to the press. The movie takes the form of a documentary, with stellar art installation and horror that brings recordings from Reality’s interrogation to reality. Reality, a branded treacherous radical turns out to be a vulnerable young woman, who was trapped in a room with two intimidating men, twice her size.

17. Oppenheimer

J Robert Oppenheimer is an American hero and a physicist known as the Father of the Atomic Bomb. Retired from war, the scientist lives the rest of his life struggling with the moral consequences of his actions. However, drama ensues when Oppenheimer’s nemesis, who is a government bureaucrat with massive political ambitions weaves false suspicions of communist involvement in the scientist’s post-war life.

18. Barbie

The highest-grossing film of the year so far as well as the highest-grossing film ever to be directed solely by a woman could not miss from this list. Barbie is a feel-good and funny comedy movie that has also earned itself more critics than views as it calls out patriarchy and commercialism. Nonetheless, it somewhat involves a colorful rendition of Charlie Kaufman’s quirkiness.

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19. Anatomy of a Fall

When a writer gets accused of killing her husband, it is upon the court to establish whether the husband who fell from the window was murdered, committed suicide, or encountered a life-ending accident. Outside the courtroom, the film deals with the couple’s dwindling marriage. However, the elusive truth of the man’s death creates a plot twist that has eyebrows raising toward the couple’s 11-year-old son.

20. The Creator

Deep down, we are all dreading the day that Artificial Intelligence will brutally take over Human Intelligence. The Creator is a movie that “predicts” a near future for humanity striving for survival in a world dominated by AI robots. Its lead actor is a commando who is tasked with destroying the enemy’s ultimate tool. The film’s imagery makes even the most favorite androids and spaceships look real.


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