What a 2022. From the second world domination of Avatar in Cameron’s The Way of Water, to the bizarrely compelling Everything, Everywhere, All at Once, it was quite the year for those cinema-inclined. But, that’s not it: with 2023 comes another rich year in cinema. Whether it’s Greta Gerwig’s mysteriously magnetic Barbie, or the long-awaited, Spielberg-less return of Indiana Jones, it’s worth switching on the silver screen. Christy Clark looks at some of the most anticipated films of 2023.
Starring: Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, Emma Mackey, Simu Liu
Director: Greta Gerwig
Release date: 21/07/23
Possibly the most anticipated film of 2023 comes in Greta Gerwig’s Barbie, which follows the iconic doll after her expulsion from Barbieland. Strategically, little has been revealed about the project, aside from a trailer referencing 2001: A Space Odyssey, (which possibly suggests a move against the grain), but Gerwig’s previous directorial efforts, Ladybird and Little Women, surely make for one of the year’s highlights. Margot Robbie appears perfect for the titular role, and alongside Ryan Gosling, Ncuti Gatwa and Emma Mackey (fresh off her portrayal of Emily Bronte in Emily: one of my favourites of last year), expectations are understandably high.
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
Starring: Harrison Ford, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Mads Mikkelsen, Antonio Banderas
Director: James Mangold
Release date: 30/06/23
Not since 2008 has Indiana Jones graced our screens, in the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The Dial of Destiny will serve as its sequel, with the iconic Harrison Ford remaining as Indiana Jones. Noticeably, the film is Spielberg-less (if you’re a fan, check out The Fabelmans). Instead, James Mangold (Walk the Line, Girl, Interrupted, Logan) directs and, with the addition of Waller-Bridge and Mikkelsen, it has every chance of being worth the fifteen year wait.
Starring: Cate Blanchett, Nina Hoss, Noémie Merlant, Mark Strong
Director: Todd Field
Release date: 13/01/23
If you want a sense of the anticipation around Tar, look no further than the odds on Cate Blanchett picking up a third Academy Award, in a performance that ‘will pierce you like a conductor’s baton through the heart’. The film follows a disgraced German conductor, and is a richly emotional experience if the trailer is anything to go by. At 2 hours 37 minutes it’s an effort to get through, but the buzz suggests it’s easily worth it.
Dune: Part Two
Starring: Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Austin Butler, Florence Pugh
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Release date: 03/11/23
The eruption around Dune arguably defined 2021: from those who’d read the novel and those who hadn’t alike. Its sequel, Dune: Part Two, promises to deliver, especially after the casting of fan favourite Florence Pugh (linking up with Chalamet for the first time since Little Women) and an Austin Butler fresh off his magnificent portrayal of Elvis. It’s surely worth keeping an eye on this one.
Starring: Cillian Murphy, Florence Pugh, Matt Damon, Emily Blunt
Director: Christopher Nolan
Release date: 21/07/23
Oppenheimer follows physician J. Robert Oppenheimer and his journey to the development of the atomic bomb. Continuing Hollywood’s recent trend for biopics, the film stars Murphy as the title character, and caps off a star-studded cast with the likes of Matt Damon, Florence Pugh, Emily Blunt and Robert Downey Jr. Nolan, too, boasts an impressive CV, having directed the likes of The Dark Knight and Interstellar, and will look to work his magic in one of the year’s most anticipated projects.
The Little Mermaid
Starring: Halle Bailey, Jonah Hauer-King, Melissa McCarthy, Simone Ashley
Director: Rob Marshall
Release Date: 26/05/23
A live action remake of 1989’s animated film of the same name, there’s a lot going for The Little Mermaid. Hot-shot Halle Bailey, already nominated for five GRAMMYS, will star as Ariel, with Jonah Hauer-King playing her love interest Prince Eric, and McCarthy as the evil Ursula who offers the mermaid a life on land. It’s also worth noting Lin Manuel-Miranda’s involvement: he composed music for the massively popular Hamilton and 2020’s Tick,Tick…Boom!
Starring: Claire Foy, Rooney Mara, Jessie Buckley, Frances McDormand
Director: Sarah Polley
Release date: 10/02/23
If you’re looking for something a little less mainstream yet emotionally pervaded and meaningful, Women Talking surely fits the bill. It follows women in a religious commune, and their struggle after a number of sexual assaults. The film’s starring trio, Foy, Buckley and Mara, are all in the Oscar conversation, and each boast impressive CVs over the previous few years. Oscar royalty Frances McDormand also produces, the last time she did that was the excellent Nomadland: this is definitely one a watch.
Starring: Margot Robbie, Tom Hanks, Maya Hawke, Edward Norton, Scarlett Johansson
Director: Wes Anderson
Release date: 16/06/23
Let’s finish with one of the year’s most exciting casts in Asteroid City. Anderson, back for the first time since 2020’s The French Dispatch, showcases his love of the ensemble cast, recruiting Margot Robbie, Tom Hanks, regulars Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton, Scarlett Johansson, Adrien Brody, and Tony Revolori, and rising-star Maya Hawke. The film, set in a fictional American town at a junior stargazing convention, has offered up little information thus far, but you can be sure it will be suitably quirky and well worth a watch.
Well, I hope to have covered the vast corners of 2023’s cinematic universe in eight revered films. It goes without saying that there’ll be unfounded gems, dark horses, and big let-downs, but in the way of anticipation, this is a good look-in. If you want an even better one, check out some of these (how could we sum the year up in eight films?): Babylon, The Super Mario Bros. Movie, John Wick: Chapter 4, Cocaine Bear, Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania, Beau Is Afraid, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes.
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