As we find ourselves halfway through 2023, it’s time to look back at the cinematic highlights that have already made this year remarkable. From heart-stopping action flicks and deep-space sci-fi odysseys to poignant dramas and delightful animated features, the first half of 2023 has been a smorgasbord of cinematic gems. So, grab your note pads and settle in as we count down the 10 Best Movies of the Year 2023 (till June). These films have not only set a high bar for the rest of the year but have also carved an indelible mark in the hearts of moviegoers worldwide. Get ready to explore the cinematic journey of the year so far!
10 Best Movies of the Year 2023 (Till June)
Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.
It is a sparkling adaptation of Judy Blume’s groundbreaking novel. Acclaimed for its honest portrayal of adolescence, this film is a memorable coming-of-age story. Directed by Kelly Fremon Craig, it follows 11-year-old Margaret, played by Abby Ryder Fortson, as she navigates the trials of puberty after moving from the city to the suburbs. The movie features standout performances from Rachel McAdams and Kathy Bates, earning it multiple nominations and a Truly Moving Picture Award. Its an impactful narrative that continues to resonate with audiences just as the novel has for over fifty years.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
“Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” (2023) leaps beyond its predecessor with even more visual flamboyance and audacious storytelling. The Oscar-winning saga continues, diving deeper into the thrilling multiverse, adding new layers to the journey of Miles Morales. This sequel isn’t just larger and more psychedelic, but carries a narrative that meets the promise of the multiverse, being both daunting and mind-bending. Directed by Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, and Justin K. Thompson, and starring Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, Oscar Isaac, and Jake Johnson, it engages from start to cliffhanger conclusion. A rare comic-book film that expands boundaries while remaining engrossingly action-packed.
Directed by Celine Song, “Past Lives” is a deeply personal exploration of love and destiny. Beginning with a surreal scene in a New York bar, the film follows Nora, portrayed by Greta Lee, as she navigates the complexities of reconnection with her childhood sweetheart, Hae Sung, after two decades apart. Born out of Song’s own experiences, the film delves into unspoken emotions and what-might-have-been questions with sensitivity. This tender and open-hearted narrative is built around a week-long reunion that shakes the protagonists’ understanding of their past and future. “Past Lives” leaves viewers immersed in the poignancy of unvoiced feelings and unsaid words.
In “Air” (2023), Ben Affleck deftly directs a dramatic account of Nike’s rise from underdog to global juggernaut, focusing on the critical pitch to basketball rookie Michael Jordan. Affleck brings the vibrancy of sports films to the corporate hustle, with Matt Damon playing the desperate sports marketing executive, Sonny Vaccaro. The narrative unfolds in a compelling blend of “Moneyball” and “Jerry Maguire”, exposing the sports industry’s unseen facets without sidelining the human story. Affleck, portraying Nike founder Phil Knight, and Viola Davis, as Jordan’s influential mother, deliver captivating performances. An engaging tale of faith, determination, and one pivotal business move that changed sports marketing forever.
This 2023 film directed by Matt Johnson is a witty, astute exploration of the rise and fall of the world’s first smartphone. It chronicles the lives of Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, played by Jay Baruchel and Glenn Howerton, who charted the tumultuous journey of this generation-defining gadget. The film balances sharp humor with insightful commentary, offering an engaging view into the intricate world of tech innovation and corporate downfall. Featuring a standout performance from the cast, including Johnson himself, “BlackBerry” is an entertaining dive into the dramatic twists and turns that shaped a key chapter in the history of modern technology.
Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant
In “The Covenant” (2023), Guy Ritchie departs from his typical underworld narratives to present an intense, humanistic war story set in Afghanistan. The film follows Sergeant John, played by Jake Gyllenhaal in a career-defining performance, and local interpreter Ahmed, portrayed by Dar Salim, in a riveting tale of survival. When John is injured, Ahmed risks everything to carry him across punishing terrain to safety. This gripping account, fraught with suspense, fear, and loyalty, uncovers the harsh realities of combat. Ritchie’s unexpected foray into the war genre results in a compelling cinematic experience that redefines his place in Hollywood as a versatile and serious artist.
Directed by Raine Allen-Miller, the film is a charming addition to the rom-com genre. It tells the story of Yas (Vivian Oparah) and Dom (David Jonsson), two twenty-somethings navigating the aftermath of hurtful break-ups. Their paths cross during a fateful day in South London, sparking an endearing connection. The film combines humor and heart in a smart, engaging narrative that delves into the intricacies of relationships and healing. Starring a compelling cast, including Charlie Knight and Simon Manyonda, “Rye Lane” is a testament to the power of unexpected encounters and the beauty of new beginnings, making it a must-watch for rom-com enthusiasts.
John Wick: Chapter 4
Chad Stahelski’s film continues the thrilling saga of the iconic assassin. In his quest to defeat The High Table, Wick (Keanu Reeves) must confront a formidable enemy, who maintains powerful global alliances and manipulates friendships into adversarial relationships. Replete with Keanu Reeves’ lethal, balletic action sequences, the film intensifies the franchise’s trademark elements. Co-starring Donnie Yen, Bill Skarsgård, and Laurence Fishburne, this chapter promises an action-packed journey that not only expands on Wick’s quest for freedom but also testifies that when it comes to its stylish action, there can never be too much.
Little Richard: I Am Everything
It is a riveting documentary celebrating the life of rock ‘n’ roll’s most innovative showman, Little Richard. This film not only delivers the electrifying energy of his performances but also delves into the complexities of his identity as a Black queer man, aspects he openly embraced despite societal norms. Richard Penniman emerges as a paradox, an embodiment of ecstasy and torment, who shaped the world of music, yet struggled to wholly live within it. Cortes’ film illuminates the man behind the legend, offering an engaging and insightful testament to the genius of Little Richard.
Nida Manzoor’s “Polite Society”, is a unique fusion of coming-of-age, action-comedy genres. It follows the story of a determined Pakistani British girl, Ria (Priya Kansara), who embarks on a quest to disrupt her sister’s wedding to a mysteriously macabre groom. Blending martial arts, teen-movie tropes, and Guy Ritchie-esque elements, this audacious narrative propels sisterhood over patriarchy. With an unexpected twist reminiscent of a Jordan Peele film, Manzoor creates a story that’s both entertaining and thought-provoking. This unusual blend of elements gives rise to a film that not only showcases a charismatic protagonist but also highlights the power of family bonds and self-empowerment.
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