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Best of Fest: Sundance 2023 Wrap-Up

Sundance 2023 is officially a wrap! I broke my personal record and saw a whopping thirty films this year. Aside from some definite lows (I'm looking at you Bad Behaviour and Landscape with Invisible Hand), 2023 was a really great year for the festival! There are a few I'll catch up with when they eventually come out, but this year I saw pretty much everything I set out to see. I saw some films I absolutely adored that have a great chance at remaining on my top ten list at the end of the year, so let's go over my ten favorite films from the fest.


10. TIE: A LITTLE PRAYER

A Little Prayer felt like such a breath of fresh air in the midst of a lot of the weirder, experimental films I saw during Sundance. It's conventionally told and to the point, yet it has a weight to it all. I'm still thinking about a few poignant scenes from this family drama days later because of how well-written and acted they were. Every character is so perfectly cast here, there's not a false note to be found. I look forward to revisiting this movie when it is released by Sony Pictures Classics. You can find my full recap of A Little Prayer HERE


10. TIE: OTHER PEOPLE'S CHILDREN

What starts as a breezy French film, ends with a hard dose of reality in Other People's Children. It's such a film that sneaks up on you, making you realize how invested you actually are in Rachel getting her happy ending. You want so much for her to be a part of a family and get a chance at motherhood because of how hard she works to be there for Leila. Like A Little Prayer, there are a few scenes that really got me. Look for a release sometime in 2023. Full recap of Other People's Children HERE


9. CAT PERSON

Cat Person seemed to be one of the most divisive films of the festival because of its ever-changing tones and how ambitious a film it was. While not all of it entirely worked (the last act in particular), it totally nailed what it is like to be a single woman navigating the complex world of dating in the twenty-first century. Constantly on your guard, never knowing if you can really trust someone because of all the horror stories you've been told. Cat Person was funny, thrilling, and very relatable. Cat Person is still seeking distribution, but hopefully, it will find a home soon. Full recap of Cat Person HERE


8. RYE LANE

Dom and Yas share one of the best days of their lives bonding over the heartbreak of their previous relationships. Of all the films save one, Rye Lane I'm the most excited to revisit. The festival fatigue was hitting me hard, but I knew it was such a special romantic comedy. I loved their spark, I only wish they had a few more tender moments between the two throughout. Look for it hit Hulu end of March. Full recap of Rye Lane HERE


7. YOU HURT MY FEELINGS

You Hurt My Feelings was another one of those films that really stood out among heavier subject matter. It's so grounded and relatable--it felt like I was spending an hour and a half with some friends I hadn't seen in a while just catching up. It's a slight film, but still very poignant. I'm excited to watch this one again too when A24 releases it. No word yet on when it will have a wide release. Full recap of You Hurt My Feelings HERE


6. RADICAL

I'll be honest, I really wasn't expecting a lot from this film and was so surprised by it. I find inspirational teacher movies to be pretty cliched most of the time, but there was such an earnestness in Eugenio Derbez's performance that left me mesmerized. Plus it really hit me with an emotional gut punch in the final act. No word yet on if it has found distribution. Full recap of Radical HERE


5. POLITE SOCIETY

Right from the start, I knew I was going to have a great time with whatever was in store with Polite Society. Its humor and style were instantly reminiscent of one of my favorite movies, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. While it does lose steam in the middle, it's still such a fun, action-packed silly movie. I can even get behind its crazy twist. Really excited for this to hit theaters and see this one again when it is released through Focus Features on April 28th. Full recap of Polite Society HERE


4. FAIR PLAY

Corporate politics and gender bias are under the microscope as a couple's relationship self-destructs in Fair Play. Writer-director Chloe Domont's first-time feature was a knockout and one of the most talked about films of the festival. These characters truly went on a ride from its unforgettable opening to its epic end and their performances captured every nuance wonderfully. Fair Play will hit Netflix sometime presumably this year. Full recap of Fair Play HERE


3. TALK TO ME

After a couple of disappointing years for the midnight section, Talk to Me feels like the first horror movie in a while with the potential to make a real splash. While it's not a horror film with a deeper message or metaphor, it's simply a great concept put to screen incredibly effectively. There's some really nightmarish imagery and an ending that leaves you wanting more. This could easily be a franchise film and I hope A24 takes full advantage. Full recap of Talk To Me HERE


2. FLORA & SON

John Carney creates a worthy successor to Sing Street with Flora and Son. This film was charming, laugh-out-loud hilarious, and filled with tunes I can't wait to listen to on repeat. I loved every second and really only wanted more. I'm very eager to see if the ending of the film grows on me whenever it makes its way to Apple+. Full review of Flora and Son HERE


1. PAST LIVES

Past Lives is the gorgeous debut from Celine Song about missed opportunities and the chances we don't take. I loved the idea on paper, but I loved it even more in execution. Each section was so beautifully told and I can't stop thinking about it. It's a movie that will stay with you for a long time. A24 picked up the distribution rights, so hopefully, the film will release this year. Full review of Past Lives HERE


And with that, Sundance 2023 is officially over and we'll have to wait another year for more. I only hope next year's offerings can be just as amazing as what we got this year.

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