The Top 10 Films of 2023

May December, Past Lives tied in the affections of the Chronicle’s critics


May December

When is a Top 10 list composed of 12 movies? When there's such a wealth of great films released in a year that the Chronicle's team of critics stuffs extras into your seasonal stocking.

The surfeit of riches begins this year with the No. 1 film – or rather, films, as two movies tied for the top slot in the Chronicle's Top 10 films of 2023. It was a dead heat between an indie veteran and a first-time feature director, with a tie between Todd Haynes' sly melodrama May December and Past Lives, Celine Song's story of love found and lost across decades and continents.

But the bonus comes at the end of the list, with a three-way tie between three European releases: Fallen Leaves by Finnish satirist Aki Kaurismäki, Danish socioreligious commentary Godland, and French courtroom drama Anatomy of a Fall.

Each of our core eight reviewers made their selection, and it's a testament to the strength of this year's releases that no film made everyone's list. If this had gone by highest number of No. 1 picks, then this year would have been a tie between two historical dramas: Christopher Nolan's recounting of the birth of the nuclear era, Oppenheimer, and Martin Scorsese's searing indictment of a midcentury crime wave, Killers of the Flower Moon. But while they too would have been deserving winners, this is about a broader consensus amongst all our reviewers. So thank you to Marjorie Baumgarten, Steve Davis, Kimberley Jones, Josh Kupecki, Alejandra Martinez, Matthew Monagle, and Jenny Nulf for their dedication and sage opinions this year, and for years to come.

Here's the complete list, with what our critics said about each film: Find the full reviews at austinchronicle.com/screens.


Past Lives

The Austin Chronicle's Top 10 Films of 2023

1) TIE:

May December "An unnerving melodrama startled by fibrillations of black comedy." – Kimberley Jones

Past Lives "A decades-spanning love story preoccupied with all the ineluctable fine details of life that decide the destination of one's adulthood." – Trace Sauveur

3) Oppenheimer "Each tiny spark interlocks to create a massive, breathtaking, terrifying conflagration." – Richard Whittaker

4) Killers of the Flower Moon "The work of a filmmaker who is doing more than just ticking off boxes on a decades-old wish list." – R.W.

5) Maestro "Unfurls in movements, shifting in force and feeling – forte, piano, espressivo. It moves." – K.J.

6) The Holdovers "An unconventional Christmas movie that finds reasons to move forward even in the hardest of times." – Matthew Monagle

7) American Fiction "Wants nothing more than for Black people to be seen as full participants in our society." – Rod Machen

8) Poor Things "A revelation, a potent story about self-creation that's worth seeking out." – Alejandra Martinez

9) Asteroid City "I flatly delighted in everything." – K.J.

10) TIE:

Fallen Leaves "[Director Aki Kaurismäki] is a sly skeptic, a prankster with a penchant for old-school R&B and downtrodden losers." – Josh Kupecki

Anatomy of a Fall "With surgical precision, [the] script exposes nearly every contemporary relationship schism." – J.K.

Godland "Absolutely breathtaking work ... both terrifying and beautiful." – Jenny Nulf

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