Friday, January 5, 2024

The Interested Bystander's Top Films of 2023 (and 2022!)

Passages (c) MUBI

Two Years in Films: Best of 2022 & 2023 

The 2023 film year was hampered (but necessarily so) by the Writer’s Guild and SAG-AFTRA strike, but I have a feeling that the full effect of the work stoppage will be felt in 2024. Still the lack of promotion of some of the indie films really hurt their chances in the theaters, so I hope you will check out the films listed below that are unfamiliar to you. 

Like last year, I will only list my favorite twenty films of 2023, in alphabetical order and not actually list them in order of my top ten favorites until the end of 2023, after a year of reflection and catching up on films I may have missed. In fact, at the time of this article, I have not seen Napoleon or American Symphony yet. 

Which means, my final Top Ten of films of 2022 is below. I am also pointing out some 2023performances that haven’t gotten the recognition they deserve from award groups so far. 

So, enjoy my wrap up of 2023 and, as always, I hope you have a safe and cinematically rich 2024. 


Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (c) Blue Fox Entertainment

TIB’s Top 20 Favorite Movies of 2023 

* As of Dec 31, 2023, possible candidates for No. 1 

All of Us Strangers – Andrew Haigh*
American Fiction – Cord Jefferson
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – Aitch Alberto
Asteroid City – Wes Anderson
The Boy and the Heron – Hayao Miyazaki
The Color Purple – Blitz Bazawule 
Eismayer – David Wagner
Joyland – Salm Sadiq
Killers of the Flower Moon – Martin Scorsese 
Memory – Michel Franco
Monica – Andrea Pallaoro 
Monster – Hirokazu Kore-Eda* 
Mutt – Vuk Lungulov-Klotz
Oppenheimer – Christopher Nolan  
Origin – Ava DuVernay
Passages – Ira Sachs
Past Lives – Celine Song  
Perfect Days – Wim Wenders* 
Poor Things – Yorgos Lanthimos 
Rustin – George C. Wolfe  
You Hurt My Feelings – Nicole Holofcener 

PS. I also loved Kelly Reichardt’s Showing Up but alas I worked on the film, so I have to recuse the film from consideration. 

Final rankings announced at the end of 2024. 

11 Best Performances of 2022 

(that have not gotten much film award recognition) 

All of Us Strangers (c) Searchlight Pictures

All of Us Strangers – Jamie Bell 

While many of the stars of the excellent Andrew Haigh film have gotten award chatter, Jamie Bell has not, despite the warm reception for his open-hearted Dad. 

The Burial (c) Amazon MGM 

The Burial – Jamie Foxx 

One of the best comic performances of the year in an enjoyable if unremarkable film. 

Cassandro (c) Amazon MGM

Cassandro – Gael Garcia Bernal 

When Cassandro opened at Sundance, Bernal’s performance caused quite the stir, but ever since it opened, buzz has almost been non-existent. 

Eismayer (c) Peccadillo Pictures

Eismayer - Gerhard Liebmann 

A mostly unseen film Liebmann was astonishing and transcends the awful drill sergeant trope in this true-life story of a closeted family man. 

Fremont (c) Music Box Films

Fremont – Jeremy Allen White 

While White has had more high profiled film performances in 2023 (The Iron Claw and Fingernails), his quietly humanistic role as a loner mechanic was the unlikely beacon of hope for the main character in Fremont.  Yes, Chef.

A Haunting in Venice (c) 20th Century Studios

A Haunting in Venice – Jude Hill 

Hill was impressive as the innocent child caught in Ireland politics in Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast, he’s even more exciting here as a kid who is tasked with taking care of his unstable father in A Haunting in Venice

L'Immensita (c) Music Box Pictures

L’Immensita – Penelope Cruz 


If you thought Penelope Cruz playing an unhappy Italian wife was irresistible in Ferrari you should try L’Immensita in which she plays the exact same role, but she does it speaking Italian. 

Mutt (c) Strand Releasing

Mutt – Cole Dolman 

Lío Mehiel deserves all the acclaim as a trans man trying to navigate a hectic day in New York City, Cole Dolman as his ex-boyfriend is equally good navigating a complicated situation with grace. 

Saltburn (c) Amazon MGM

Saltburn - Jacob Elordi

Elordi has always played the object of someone's affections (or everyone in the case of Elvis in Priscilla), but in Saltburn, his Felix is also pretty empathetic.  It may seem like he's playing the usual rich egoist, but that just seems to be other people's perception of his character.  Sure, he could be a bit less heartless, but after what happens in the film, he is actually pretty sympathetic.

She Came to Me (c) Vertical Entertainment

She Came to Me – Anne Hathaway 

I love the current trajectory of Anne Hathaway’s career. In 2023, she was fun as the provocative femme fatale mentor in Eileen, but she had the better role as the psychiatrist wife of an opera composer going through her own crisis of faith in the underrated She Came to Me

Shortcomings (c) Sony Pictures Classics

Shortcomings – Sherry Cola 

Sherry Cola had a breakout year. Along with her continuing role in the TV series Good Trouble, Cola had a great year in film, first as the best friend of the main character in the raunch Asian American comedy, Joy Ride and then as the more no-nonsense lesbian best friend in Randall Park’s Shortcomings


After Yang (c) A24

And finally, after a year of catching up on movies I missed and re-evaluating the ones I did see, here is the final list of my favorite 2022 films. 

TIB’s Top Ten Films of 2022 

1. After Yang – Kogonada 
2. Benediction – Terence Davies 
3. Everything Everywhere All at Once - Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert 
4. Decision to Leave – Park Chan-wook 
5. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On – Dean Fleischer-Camp 
6. Great Freedom – Sebastian Meise 
7. Close – Lukas Dhont 
8. Broker – Kore-eda 
9. All That Breathes – Shaunak Sen 
10. The Fabelmans – Steven Spielberg 

Honorable Mentions:
* No Bears – Jafar Panahi 
* Fire Island – Andrew Ahn (deemed as a TV movie, but great in any category)

If you want to comment on this article, please do so on my 
Instagram account.  All articles have their own post.  And please follow to know when new reviews and articles are released.