In 2023, the work of some of the world’s greatest filmmakers has come to define what many consider to be cinema’s best year of the 2020s so far, with tentpole studio releases earning critical acclaim in greater numbers than in any other year for more than a decade and smaller films earning increased box office totals simply for being good.
Over the course of the year, our team and a number of established contributors have reviewed more than 100 new releases, covering everything from the phenomenon that was Barbenheimer to festival films without distribution, rating the following films as the Best In Class.
At The Film Magazine, we have always scored films out of 24 (as film was originally projected at 24 frames per second – the idea being that the score represents how many frames are worth watching, on average), though in 2023 we embraced a star ratings system for the first time. The following films have been rated 23 out of 24 and above, our equivalent of 5 stars, making them the highest-scoring films of 2023.
If you’re interested in revisiting which films earned the highest marks from previous years, please take a look at our lists from 2022, 2021 and 2020.
In this year’s (2023’s) edition, we will be presenting our team’s highest-scoring films in order of score (out of 24) and then organising them in alphabetical order.
Follow @thefilmagazine on X (Twitter).
1. Asteroid City – 23/24
“Underneath all of that style and organization is a deep sense of melancholy, the realization that life is random and impossible to control. The movie is a fascinating post-pandemic movie, as it deals with the feelings of isolation and reflection that have become all too common over the last couple of years.” – Margaret Roarty
Asteroid City Review
2. Bottoms – 23/24
“Bottoms is a truly laugh-out-loud rollercoaster ride from start to finish that already feels like a classic. It delights in riffing off teen sex comedies of the past, while also being unapologetically queer and current. Bottoms joins other genre classics like American Pie, Superbad, and more recent entries like Blockers, as a memorable satire about surviving high school that packs a serious, bloody punch.” – Margaret Roarty
3. The Killer – 23/24
“Though The Killer may seem conventional on paper, and the lack of big action set pieces may leave some disappointed, this slick and stripped back thriller brings us one of 2023’s best films through the character study of a cold as ice killer we simply can’t take our eyes off.” – Mark Carnochan
The Killer Review