Home » Rosa’s Reviews: Best Films Of 2023

Rosa’s Reviews: Best Films Of 2023

From Oppenheimer to Blue Beetle, there was no shortage of great films in 2023.

This year had its share of record-breaking cultural moments and misfires. Hollywood was put on hold for several months as writers and actors went on strike, many films were released with little marketing, superhero films weren’t the highest-grossing films, and “Mario,” “Barbie,” and “Oppenheimer” shocked many by becoming the biggest earners of the year.

As 2023 ends and we prepare to welcome 2024, I want to take a moment to highlight my favorite films, each which reminded me of my humanity by invoking an assortment of emotions, thoughts, and feelings.

20. Flamin’ Hot

Eva Longoria’s film follows Richard Montañez’s story and his involvement with creating and distributing the famous snack. It had several fun moments, an empowering narrative, and catchy songs.

The movie is currently on Hulu.

19. Asteroid City

Wes Anderson’s latest film brings his usual signature aesthetic, dialogue, and frames accompanied by some intriguing characters.

Currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

18. Nyad

Diana Nyad is a renowned swimmer known for her various attempts to swim in the open ocean from Cuba to Florida. When she turns 60, she decides that social norms don’t apply to her and that she’d give her long journey swim one last attempt.

This film is streaming on Netflix.

17. A Thousand and One

A mother kidnaps her son from the foster system and runs away with him in hopes of raising him and providing a future. Anchored by one of my favorite performances of 2023, this film had a shocking twist, and it’s a beautiful love letter to the love, sacrifice, and support mothers provide to their children.

Currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

16. The Fishbowl

This Puerto Rican film follows a woman who is suffering from a terminal illness. Living near a location where the U.S. Navy left radioactive contamination behind, she hopes to persuade the government to clean up. It is a beautifully shot, thought-provoking film of hope, perseverance, and purpose.

Available in select theaters.

15. The Holdovers

This holiday film follows a teacher who stays on campus during Christmas break and makes unlikely friendships with some unexpected individuals. This feel-good story is a must-watch.

The film is currently available on VOD.

14. American Fiction

This satire creatively pokes fun at how heads of publishing companies have control of what Black stories to tell. A writer (played brilliantly by Jeffrey Wright) who doesn’t have the most successful career must choose between staying true to his ideals or compromising them for money that would be used towards a family member’s medical treatment.

Currently in theaters.  

13. Blackberry

This biopic follows the first smartphone’s origins, the rise, and the fall.  With great performances and a compelling story, this movie is one of the few films to successfully present the origins of a product I grew up using.

Currently available on VOD.

12. The Eternal Memory

This Chilean documentary is a testament to how true love manifests and presents the different angles of Alzheimer’s. This story is beautiful and unforgettable.

The film is currently streaming on Paramount +.

11. Killers of the Flower Moon

Scorsese’s latest film highlights what the Osage nation lived through when oil was found on their land. It’s heartbreaking and infuriating to learn about the atrocities the Osage people suffered, and it’s a painful reminder of what comes with greed.

Currently on VOD.

10. Wonka

Timothee Chalamet delights as a young Willy Wonka in this charming, pure, and magical film with its memorable songs, performances, and beautiful messages of kindness, friendship, and hope.

Wonka is currently in theaters.

9. Godzilla Minus One

Without a doubt, this film is the definite surprise of 2023. A Japanese take on Godzilla, this film gives the humans a story to care about. A terrifying monster who isn’t sympathized with or masked as a misunderstood creature is a refreshing take (if not the best) on this franchise.

Currently in theaters.

8. Cassandro

Gael García Bernal delivers one of his best performances as Saúl Armendáriz, whose in-ring name is Cassandro. An empowering story of a trailblazer who succeeded in a world where the odds weren’t in his favor. Read my review here.

It is now streaming on Amazon Prime.

7. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

The best-animated film of the year is the follow-up to the Academy Award-winning predecessor. This is a perfect second entry into this franchise with standout animation, a memorable score, and a soundtrack.

Streaming now on Netflix.

6. The Iron Claw

The tragic story of the Von Erich family is brought to the big screen anchored by a career-making performance from Zac Efron. This is another excellent wrestling-themed film about the consequences of living your father’s dream.

Currently playing in theaters.

5. Radical

Eugenio Derbez stars in this inspiring, heartbreaking, crowd-pleasing depiction of a professor whose unorthodox teaching causes some ruckus. My full review here. Currently playing in select theaters.

4. John Wick: Chapter 4

The last entry into the John Wick franchise is filled with jaw-dropping choreographed fight sequences, stunning locations, and a respectful farewell to an iconic cinematic character.

Currently on Stars and VOD.

3. Oppenheimer

Christopher Nolan crafted a masterful cinematic experience about the man responsible for creating a world-destroying invention.

Currently on VOD.

2. Blue Beetle

Jaime Reyes becomes Blue Beetle in this funny, moving and wonderfully executed film. Easily one of the most relatable Mexican-American depictions on screen and a love letter to family and honoring our ancestors. Go here to read my full review of Blue Beetle.

Streaming now on Max.

1. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3

James Gunn’s last entry into the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise was precisely as the trailers promised: an emotional, fun, amusing, and beautiful farewell to the group of misfits who showed us the importance of friendship, individuality, and treating animals with respect.

Streaming now on Disney +.


About the author

Rosa Parra

Rosa Parra is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic, a member of LEJA (Latino Entertainment Journalists Association), and a member of OAFFC (Online Association of Female Film Critics). She is currently working on her Bachelor's degree in Film and Media studies. She is a Chicana born and raised in East L.A. and currently resides in El Monte, CA.

Enable Notifications OK No thanks