Silas’ Top 12 Films Of 2023

Posted in Best Of, Favorite Films of 2023 by - January 02, 2024
Silas’ Top 12 Films Of 2023

I don’t do a top 10 list; I do a top 12 because there are twelve months in the year. And I do things differently, and you can’t stop me!

It took a lot of work to narrow down these films and create an order. I could move up or down several depending on my mood. But here it is. My list of the best films of 2023.

12. You Hurt My Feelings


Rated R ‧ Comedy/Romance ‧ 1h 33m

Directed by Nicole Holofcener

Starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tobias Menzies, Michaela Watkins, Arian Moayed, Owen Teague, Jeannie Berlin.

A novelist’s long-standing marriage suddenly turns upside down when she overhears her husband giving his honest reaction to her latest book.

Why did it make my list? 

Julia Louis-Dreyfus shines while starring in this honest film that explores honesty in relationships. A very well-crafted film from writer/director Nicole Holofcener, this is one of those films that lingers in your mind long after the movie ends.

The writing is beautiful, and the acting is top-notch. It’s a film I just kept thinking about, which means it really impacted me. 

Here’s the trailer:

11. Eileen

Rated R ‧ Thriller/Mystery ‧ 1h 38m

Directed by William Oldroyd

Starring: Thomasin McKenzie, Anne Hathaway, Shea Whigham, Marin Ireland, and Owen Teague

In 1964, in Massachusetts, a young secretary becomes enchanted by Rebecca, the glamorous new counselor at the prison where she works. Their budding friendship soon takes a twisted turn when Rebecca reveals a dark secret.

Why did it make my list? 

An intimate film that really drew me in from the beginning. It has surprises from the characters, mystery, and thrills. An outstanding performance by Thomasin McKenzie in the title role, and Anne Hathaway is top-notch in one of my favorite supporting roles I’ve ever seen her in. It’s adapted from a book, which is very obvious in that the world is so clearly defined, and the writing is really well-constructed and rich. Some films, you think, “This writing is so good, it must be a book,” this is one of them. 

Here’s the trailer:

10. The Iron Claw


R ‧ Drama/Wrestling Biopic ‧ 132 Minutes

Directed by Sean Durkin

Starring: Zac Efron, Jeremy Allen White, Harris Dickinson, Stanley Simons, Maura Tierney, with Holt McCallany and Lily James

 The true story of the inseparable Von Erich brothers, who made history in the intensely competitive world of professional wrestling in the early 1980s. Through tragedy and triumph, under the shadow of their domineering father and coach, the brothers seek larger-than-life immortality on the biggest stage in sports.

Why did it make my list? 

Zac Efron’s transformative performance alone could earn the film a spot on this list. It’s one of the best ensemble pieces of the year. The Von Erich’s story is nearly a modern-day tragedy. This film delivers moving performances, a captivating story, and a great glimpse into the behind-the-scenes lives of professional wrestlers. I don’t think this is a wrestling movie, but wrestling fans could use the film to get people more interested in the sport. 

Here’s the trailer:

9. The Color Purple

PG-13 ‧ Musical Drama ‧ 2 Hours 20 Minutes

Directed by Blitz Bazawule

Starring Taraji P. Henson, Danielle Brooks, Colman Domingo, Corey Hawkins, H.E.R., Halle Bailey, Phylicia Pearl Mpasi, and Fantasia Barrino in her film debut as Celie.

​​Torn apart from her sister and her children, Celie faces many hardships in life, including an abusive husband. With support from a sultry singer named Shug Avery and her stand-her-ground stepdaughter, Celie ultimately finds extraordinary strength in the unbreakable bonds of a new kind of sisterhood.

Why Did It Make My List? 

Compelling performances, soulful and impactful music, and a heart-wrenching story are the pillars of what this adaptation of the stage musical stands for. I’m surprised it ended up this far down on my list since I thoroughly enjoyed the film. People who love the original movie shouldn’t fear seeing this film. Think of it more as a supplement to the story you saw before. It will not take away from that film but rather add to the movie you already love. 

Here’s the trailer:

8. Bottoms

Rated R – Comedy ‧ 1h 32m

Directed by Emma Seligman,

Starring Rachel Sennott, Ayo Edebiri, Ruby Cruz, Havana Rose Liu, Kaia Gerber, Nicholas Galitzine, Miles Fowler, Dagmara Domińczyk, and Marshawn Lynch.

Unpopular best friends PJ and Josie start a high school fight club to meet girls and lose their virginity. They soon find themselves in over their heads when the most popular students begin beating each other up in the name of self-defense.

Why Did It Make My List?

This is possibly my favorite straight comedy of 2023. It’s irreverent, fresh, plays for keeps, and is from the disenfranchised’s point of view, which is an amazingly different take. The story is one that I’ve never seen, and it is full of jokes I’ve never heard of. I laughed out loud, hard, throughout the entire film. 

Here’s the trailer:

7. Poor Things

Rated R ‧ Fantasy/Sci-fi ‧ 2h 21m

Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos

Starring Emma Stone, Mark Ruffalo, Willem Dafoe, Ramy Youssef, Christopher Abbott, and Jerrod Carmichael, with Kathryn Hunter,

Brought back to life by an unorthodox scientist, a young woman runs off with a lawyer on a whirlwind adventure across the continents. Free from the prejudices of her times, she grows steadfast in her purpose to stand for equality and liberation.

Why Did It Make My List?

Very creative and original story, with some wonderful performances by the whole cast. Mark Ruffalo is outstanding as a bad guy, and Emma Stone solidifies herself as a top-notch actor with a bold performance. This film won’t be for everyone, but those who like it will love it. 

Here’s the trailer:

6. American Fiction

Rated R ‧ Comedy/Drama ‧ 1h 57m

Director: Cord Jefferson 

Starring Jeffrey Wright, Tracee Ellis Ross, Issa Rae, Sterling K. Brown, John Ortiz, Erika Alexander, Leslie Uggams, Adam Brody, and Keith David.

Monk is a frustrated novelist who’s fed up with the establishment that profits from Black entertainment that relies on tired and offensive tropes. To prove his point, he uses a pen name to write an outlandish Black book of his own, a book that propels him to the heart of hypocrisy and the madness he claims to disdain.

Why Did It Make My List?

This film’s ability to weave between comedy and drama is quite remarkable. As is its cast. A fun story showing a different kind of Black experience, which is also the film’s central plotline. Celebrating Black films that don’t rely on the tired tropes that the main character disdains is important. 

Here’s the trailer:

5. Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves 

PG-13 ‧ Action/Fantasy ‧ 2h 14m

Directed by Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley

Starring Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Regé-Jean Page, Justice Smith, Sophia Lillis, and Hugh Grant.

A charming thief and a band of unlikely adventurers embark on an epic quest to retrieve a long-lost relic, but their charming adventure goes dangerously awry when they run afoul of the wrong people.

Why Did It Make My List?

This film is the film that I had the single best time watching in the theater. It’s funny; the fast-paced adventure made me want to play the game again. The film made me tell other people they HAD to see this film. It made the theater fun again.  

Here’s the trailer:

4. Wonka

PG ‧ Fantasy/Musical ‧ 1h 56m

Directed by Paul King

Starring Timothée Chalamet, Calah Lane, Keegan-Michael Key, Paterson Joseph, Matt Lucas, Mathew Baynton, Sally Hawkins, Rowan Atkinson, Jim Carter, Natasha Rothwell, Olivia Colman, and Hugh Grant

Armed with nothing but a hatful of dreams, young chocolatier Willy Wonka manages to change the world, one delectable bite at a time.

Why Did It Make My List?

Chalamet is the perfect young Wonka. The film is a smile. I loved every second of it. This “sort of” prequel to the original movie makes the ideal number of nods at the original and keeps its own voice.

Here’s the trailer: 

3. Origin

PG-13 ‧ Drama ‧ 2h 21m

Directed by Ava DuVernay

Starring Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor as Wilkerson, alongside Jon Bernthal, Vera Farmiga, Audra McDonald, Niecy Nash-Betts, Nick Offerman, and Blair Underwood.

Grappling with tremendous personal tragedy, writer Isabel Wilkerson sets herself on a path of global investigation and discovery as she writes Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents.

Why Did It Make My List?

This is one of the few films I believe; if enough people saw it, it could transform how we communicate and view race in this country. It’s enlightening and features an incredibly nuanced performance by Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor. This is the film that is being left out of award discussions, and it really hurts me. It’s technically a 2023 film because it came out in limited release in December, but the wide release will only happen in mid-January of 2024. So you’ll still have a chance to see it. 

Here’s the trailer:

2. All Of Us Strangers

Rated R ‧ Fantasy/Romance ‧ 1h 45m

Directed by Andrew Haigh,

Starring Andrew Scott, Paul Mescal, Jamie Bell, and Claire Foy.

One night in his near-empty London tower block, screenwriter Adam has a chance encounter with mysterious neighbor Harry, puncturing the rhythm of his everyday life. As a relationship develops between them, Adam finds himself drawn back to his childhood home, where his parents appear to be living just as they were on the day they died 30 years ago.

Why Did It Make My List?

This is an absolutely beautiful film. It is one of the best films of this year and the last several. Touching and intimate, it’s a story so good that it should be a play, but its mystery/fantasy requires it to be a film. I can’t recommend this film enough. 

1. Barbie

PG-13 ‧ Comedy/Fantasy ‧ 1h 54m

Directed by Greta Gerwig

Starring Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, America Ferrera, Kate McKinnon, Issa Rae, Rhea Perlman, and Will Ferrell.

Barbie and Ken are having the time of their lives in the colorful and seemingly perfect world of Barbie Land. However, when they get a chance to go to the real world, they soon discover the joys and perils of living among humans.

Why Did It Make My List?

For me, Barbie had the perfect blend of entertainment and message. America Ferrera delivers the monologue of the year. Margot Robbie as Barbie is “perfection.” Ryan Gosling is a perfect Ken. I loved the humor, the style, the artistic direction…everything about the film. If one year ago you told me this would be my favorite movie of the year, I never would have believed you. Yet, here we are. 

This post was written by
When he’s not reviewing films or interviewing people for the Black & A Half podcast, Silas Lindenstein can be found in the greater metro Seattle, WA working as a real estate agent helping people buy and sell homes, or performing stand up comedy to fellow nerds. He has a wife and three children and desperately wants to learn to make the perfect homemade pizza.

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