Call it 'A Portrait of the Artist In the Midst of Being Canceled’. In Todd Field's psychological character study, Cate Blanchett is Lydia Tár, a genius-level composer, EGOT winner and insufferable narcissist whose icy demeanor hardly fractures as accusations of sexual impropriety threaten to shatter her career. Blanchett's Oscar-nominated performance has rightly earned the lion's share of plaudits, but the superb acting is buoyed by Field's subtly off-kilter visual style, lending the ‘ripped from the headlines’ narrative a hint of Kubrickian uncanniness.
The cinematic year started off like a train, with Tár, The Fabelmans and EO all staggering into our cinemas laden with awards, and A.I. doll meme-athon M3GAN entertaining the crowds with its irresistibly malicious brand of horror-comedy. March delivered the surprisingly excellent Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves, ace London romcom Rye Lane and a pair of worthy French dramas in The Night Of The 12th and The Beasts. Fast forward to the summer months, and Barbenheimer was the double-bill absolutely no one saw coming, a true 50-year box-office storm of ridiculous proportions ($2.3 billion and counting) and then… nothing. Nada. Zilch. August turned out to be the dampest of post-storm squibs, with only a pair of loveable indies – Theater Camp and Scrapper – to distract from the existential doom of Hollywood’s ongoing civil war.
But it takes more than a total shutdown of all Hollywood movie productions to get us down, especially with so much more to come this year. Because despite the current doldrums, this list will continue to grow as we head into awards season. The Venice-winning Poor Things, Palme d’Or winner Anatomy of a Fall, Ridley Scott’s supersized Napoleon and our top pick, WWE family drama Iron Claw, all lie ahead. But for now, here are the best movies worth leaving your house for so far in 2023.