Here are the best Sundance 2023 movies so far
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After two years of fully virtual presence, the 2023 Sundance Film Festival chose a hybrid in-person and online experience for participants. Luckily I was able to experience that both sides this year: I spent the first half of the Sundance trekking all over Park City trying to see as many as possible movies as possible before flying back home to catch as many of them online as possible.
Sundance is the kind of isolated environment (often out of reach for most) that can inspire streamers to eight-figure acquisition deals (see: fair play Per Netflix and flora and son Per AppleTV+) or disproportionate buzz, sometimes for the same film. You could witness a Powerhouse performance People could talk all year long about how Jonathan Majors in Magazine Dreams. And there could only be one for you Preview of the discourse That will almost certainly follow some movies like the highly anticipated one cat lover Adjustment.
Will this result in the next best picture winner KODA a few years ago, or will this feisty Sundance film flop once a wider audience sees it? Will we still be talking about these films in December? Or will they be forgotten? While Sundance doesn’t end until Sunday, here are some of my favorites from the festival until now.
past livesthe directorial debut of playwright Celine Song – a slow and heartbreaking exploration of two childhood friends who find each other, grow closer and drift apart, wondering what might have been 20+ years from now –is a KO. Much of the film consists of conversations that several characters have with each other, but within this prolixity (which suggests a comparison with films such as Before sunrise) is a painfully beautiful and sensitive brooding this will break your heart. (A24 accepts the release.)
Another film that would deserve an apt Before sunrise Comparison (but with different execution) is Rye LaneRaine Allen-Millers absolutely charming British rom-com about two strangers across south London who bond after one of them trips over the other and ugly cries over his ex-girlfriend in the bathroom. Lively, very specific in its portrayal of Peckham and with great chemistry between its leads, it’s a showcase of the best rom-coms we have to offer. (Releases March 31 on Hulu.)
You hurt my feelings
We as a society don’t appreciate that Julia Louis Dreyfus enough (even with her legendary TV career at the top), so luckily writer/director Nicole Holofcener has her back You hurt my feelings. It centers on an author overhearing her supportive husband admit that he secretly hates her new book (a writer’s nightmare!), it’s a hilarious exam the types of white lies we tell our loved ones to support them and how those lies and truths affect how we perceive ourselves. (A24 accepts the release.)
I have never been to a summer camp like the one pictured theater campbut Molly Gordon’s and Nick Liberman’s mockumentary about a seedy summer camp struggling to stay open after its founder suffers a stroke that celebrates theater kids and the chaotic environment that thrives in this space, convinced me anyway. And while you’ll recognize many of the adult actors here, it’s the children who play the part the beating heart of the film. (Searchlight pics acquired it for around $8 million and planning a theatrical release.)
Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie
How many people, Michael J Fox‘s filmography—mainly the Back to the Future Trilogy – was a big part of my childhood, so this was one of my most anticipated films of the festival. and it does not disappoint Guggenheim lets Fox tell his story – his career, his personal life and his experiences with Parkinson’s disease – in his own words and shows that he is just as witty and charming as ever. (Apple TV+ handles publishing.)
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