Top Films of 2023: ‘Oppenheimer,’ ‘Fallen Leaves,’ ‘May December’

by Andrew Wright
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Film Selection

Certainly, here’s a paraphrased and expanded version of the article:

The esteemed film critics Lindsey Bahr and Jake Coyle from “The Big Big News” share their selections for the standout films of 2023:


  1. “Oppenheimer”

    Christopher Nolan, known for his remarkable cinematic achievements, delivers “Oppenheimer,” a film that seamlessly weaves together his passion for large format filmmaking, the complex interplay between humanity and science, the inner turmoil of a brilliant mind, and the wonder of a group coming together to achieve the seemingly impossible—a nuclear weapon. On a meta level, the film itself becomes a work of art.

  2. “The Zone of Interest”

    Similar to “Oppenheimer,” Jonathan Glazer’s “The Zone of Interest” thrives on the unseen horrors. In a year when depiction became a prominent topic, this film underscores the power of imagination. It explores a chilling atmosphere, with a mere wall separating a Nazi family from the gas chambers of Auschwitz, illustrating the stark lines of complicity.

  3. “Priscilla”

    “Priscilla” showcases an actor’s ability to convey subtle moments through a quiet gaze. The absence of support from the Elvis estate only underscores the independent artistry that fuels this portrayal.

  4. “Asteroid City”

    Wes Anderson’s “Asteroid City” adopts a play within a play approach, offering a self-aware commentary on his own distinctive style and its artifice. This film boasts rewatchability, humor, memorable quotes, and stellar performances, notably Scarlett Johansson and a brilliant Margot Robbie cameo.

  5. “May December”

    Todd Haynes masterfully combines high camp and melodrama with genuine emotion in “May December.” It serves as both a satire of actors and the commercialization of human tragedies and a poignant portrayal of a victim who remains unaware of her plight.

  6. “Fallen Leaves”

    Aki Kaurismäki’s deadpan romance explores the missed connections between two lonely souls in an unglamorous, alcohol-soaked setting. It’s a wonderful introduction to Kaurismäki’s work, highlighting the timeless message that it’s never too late to change.

  7. “The Holdovers”

    Alexander Payne’s “The Holdovers” stands out as a well-crafted film that immerses viewers in a New England boarding school during a holiday break. It skillfully unravels the personal journeys of its characters, making it highly engaging and relatable.

  8. “Poor Things”

    Yorgos Lanthimos crafts a provocative and stylish fairy tale with “Poor Things.” While its themes are overt, the film’s audacious ambition pays off, delivering a fresh and compelling cinematic experience.

  9. “A Thousand and One”

    A.V. Rockwell’s debut feature, “A Thousand and One,” offers a vibrant portrayal of a mother and son in 1990s New York City. The city itself becomes a character, undergoing transformation and gentrification alongside the evolving relationship of its inhabitants.

  10. “Bottoms”

    “Bottoms,” a surprising release from MGM, directed by Emma Seligman and featuring Rachel Sennott, presents a wild and humorous take on high school life that is sure to captivate the Gen Z audience.


  1. “Fallen Leaves”

    Finnish filmmaker Aki Kaurismäki’s “Fallen Leaves” explores loneliness and difficult bosses in a cold world. This minimalist fable offers a glimpse of romance between two working-class loners and serves as a soothing 82-minute escape from the bleakness of reality.

  2. “The Holdovers”

    Alexander Payne’s “The Holdovers” embraces the warmth of Christmas in New England but also carries a strong anti-authoritarian undertone, reminiscent of ’70s cinema. The impeccable cast, including Paul Giamatti, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, and Dominic Sessa, adds depth to this captivating film.

  3. “The Eight Mountains”

    Felix Van Groeningen and Charlotte Vandermeersch’s tale of friendship set in the Italian Alps spans years and envelops its characters in breathtaking scenery and evocative folk songs, creating a vast yet intimate cinematic experience.

  4. “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”

    This year’s most exhilarating film, “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” pushes boundaries in both superhero storytelling and animation. It builds upon the success of its predecessor, offering a dazzling cinematic spectacle.

  5. “Perfect Days”

    Koji Yakusho shines in Wim Wenders’ ode to the everyday in Tokyo. “Perfect Days” focuses on the daily rhythms of a solitary public toilet cleaner, highlighting the beauty in life’s simple moments.

  6. “Origin”

    Ava DuVernay’s adaptation of Isabel Wilkerson’s “Caste” creatively blends social commentary with personal drama, offering a moving exploration of both.

  7. “Barbie”

    Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” stands out as the funniest film of the year, cleverly balancing brand marketing and gender satire. Margot Robbie delivers a remarkable performance in this runaway sensation.

  8. “La Chimera”

    Alice Rohrwacher’s enchanting folk tale set in 1980s Italy weaves a magical but grounded story, led by Josh O’Connor’s captivating portrayal of an Englishman immersed in ancient Etruscan history.

  9. “All of Us Strangers”

    Andrew Haigh’s “All of Us Strangers” offers an unforgettable ghost story that delves into themes of family, loss, fiction, and growing older, leaving a profound impact on its viewers.

  10. “Tótem”

    Lila Aviles’ “Tótem” explores family and grief through the perspective of young Sol, providing a poignant portrayal of a multigenerational family facing a painful truth.

These films represent the best of 2023, offering diverse and thought-provoking cinematic experiences for audiences to enjoy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Film Selection

What are the top films of 2023 mentioned in the article?

The top films of 2023 highlighted in the article are “Oppenheimer,” “Fallen Leaves,” and “May December.” These films are praised for their cinematic excellence and storytelling.

Who are the film critics mentioned in the article?

The film critics mentioned in the article are Lindsey Bahr and Jake Coyle, who share their selections for the best films of 2023.

What makes “Oppenheimer” a noteworthy film?

“Oppenheimer” is notable for its fusion of large format filmmaking, exploration of the tension between humanity and science, the portrayal of a brilliant mind in turmoil, and the wonder of a group working together on a monumental project—a nuclear weapon. The film is also praised for its meta-level commentary on filmmaking.

Why is “The Zone of Interest” mentioned in the article?

“The Zone of Interest” is highlighted for its ability to convey horror through what is left unseen. The film’s exploration of a wall separating a Nazi family from the gas chambers of Auschwitz is noted as a chilling portrayal of complicity.

What themes does “Asteroid City” by Wes Anderson explore?

“Asteroid City” by Wes Anderson is noted for its self-conscious exploration of filmmaking style and artifice. The film is described as rewatchable, humorous, and features standout performances by Scarlett Johansson and Margot Robbie.

Who directed “May December,” and what is its premise?

“May December” is directed by Todd Haynes and is recognized for its satirical take on actors and the commercialization of human tragedies. It is also praised for its portrayal of a victim who remains unaware of their situation.

What is the central theme of “Fallen Leaves”?

“Fallen Leaves” is described as a deadpan romance directed by Aki Kaurismäki. The film explores missed connections and lonely souls in a cold, alcohol-soaked setting, emphasizing the idea that it’s never too late to make meaningful connections.

What is the premise of “The Holdovers”?

“The Holdovers” by Alexander Payne is characterized as a well-written, well-acted film set in a New England boarding school during a holiday break. It is said to provide insight into personal growth and self-discovery.

What distinguishes “Poor Things” from other films?

“Poor Things” is noted for its deranged, stylish, and humorous fairy tale directed by Yorgos Lanthimos. The film is described as an ambitious work with themes that are not subtle but effectively portrayed.

Who directed “A Thousand and One,” and what is its focus?

“A Thousand and One” is directed by A.V. Rockwell and is recognized as the year’s best debut feature. The film focuses on a mother and son’s dynamic in 1990s New York City, with the city itself undergoing change and gentrification as the relationship evolves.

Why is “Bottoms” mentioned in the article?

“Bottoms” is highlighted as an unexpected release by MGM. Directed by Emma Seligman, it is described as a wild, funny, and unconventional high school movie that appeals to the Gen Z audience.

More about Film Selection

  • [Oppenheimer](Link to Oppenheimer article)
  • [Fallen Leaves](Link to Fallen Leaves article)
  • [May December](Link to May December article)
  • [Lindsey Bahr](Link to Lindsey Bahr’s profile)
  • [Jake Coyle](Link to Jake Coyle’s profile)
  • [Asteroid City](Link to Asteroid City article)
  • [The Zone of Interest](Link to The Zone of Interest article)
  • [Priscilla](Link to Priscilla article)
  • [The Holdovers](Link to The Holdovers article)
  • [Poor Things](Link to Poor Things article)
  • [A Thousand and One](Link to A Thousand and One article)
  • [Bottoms](Link to Bottoms article)
  • [Perfect Days](Link to Perfect Days article)
  • [Origin](Link to Origin article)
  • [Barbie](Link to Barbie article)
  • [La Chimera](Link to La Chimera article)
  • [All of Us Strangers](Link to All of Us Strangers article)
  • [Tótem](Link to Tótem article)
  • [Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse](Link to Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse article)
  • [The Eight Mountains](Link to The Eight Mountains article)

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1 comment

MovieMan December 8, 2023 - 8:11 pm

“Bottoms” wut a name lol. defo gonna check it out tho


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