Sundance 2023 Watchlist Picks

by IMDb-Editors | last updated - 1 month ago

Here are some of the buzziest titles to come out of Park City at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. Add these to your Watchlist now!

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1. A Thousand and One (2023)

R | 117 min | Crime, Drama

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
71 Metascore

After unapologetic and fiercely loyal Inez kidnaps her son Terry from the foster care system, mother and son set out to reclaim their sense of home, identity, and stability, in a rapidly changing New York City.

Director: A.V. Rockwell | Stars: Teyana Taylor, Aaron Kingsley Adetola, Aven Courtney, Josiah Cross

Votes: 190

Writer-director A.V. Rockwell's directorial debut won the Grand Jury prize in the U.S. dramatic category. The film follows the repercussions of a New York City mother’s decision to kidnap her son from foster care.

2. Polite Society (2023)

103 min | Action, Comedy

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
74 Metascore

Ria Khan believes that she must save her older sister Lena from her impending marriage. After enlisting her friends' help, she attempts to pull off the most ambitious of all wedding heists, in the name of independence and sisterhood.

Director: Nida Manzoor | Stars: Priya Kansara, Ritu Arya, Renu Brindle, Rekha John-Cheriyan

Votes: 78

Writer-director Nida Manzoor (creator of British sitcom "We Are Lady Parts") delivers a wild action-comedy that mashes genres while balancing frenetic, off-the-wall action with heartfelt emotion. Watch the trailer and see why this is an instant "must see."

3. Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project (2023)

96 min | Documentary

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  
74 Metascore

A look at the life of poet, Nikki Giovanni and the revolutionary historical periods through which she lived, from the Civil Rights Movement to Black Lives Matter.

Directors: Joe Brewster, Michèle Stephenson | Stars: Nikki Giovanni, Taraji P. Henson, Virginia Fowler, Kai Giovanni

Votes: 23

Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson's film took home the Grand Jury prize for U.S. documentaries at this year's fest. Using archival footage and present day interviews with Giovanni, the film gives life to the world-renowned poet’s vision of our future by way of Black liberation.

4. Magazine Dreams (2023)

124 min | Drama

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72 Metascore

A Black amateur bodybuilder struggles to find human connection in this exploration of celebrity and violence.

Director: Elijah Bynum | Stars: Jonathan Majors, Harrison Page, Harriet Sansom Harris, Haley Bennett

Votes: 222

As thrilled as we are to see Jonathan Majors disrupt the Multiverse in 'Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania' and take on Michael B. Jordan in 'Creed III,' his all-in performance in director Elijah Bynum’s portrait of obsession and disconnection has reviewers raving.

5. Sometimes I Think About Dying (2023)

91 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

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66 Metascore

Fran, who likes to think about dying, makes the new guy at work laugh, which leads to dating and more, now the only thing standing in their way is Fran herself.

Director: Rachel Lambert | Stars: Daisy Ridley, Dave Merheje, Parvesh Cheena, Marcia DeBonis

Votes: 168

Director Rachel Lambert’s quirky rom-com gives audiences another side of 'Star Wars' alum Daisy Ridley—who’s been mostly quiet since 2021's 'Chaos Walking'—as a goofy new coworker shakes her out of her (literally) drab existence.

6. The Pod Generation (2023)

101 min | Comedy, Romance, Sci-Fi

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  
63 Metascore

A New York couple wild ride to parenthood using a new tool developed by a tech giant, Pegazus.

Director: Sophie Barthes | Stars: Emilia Clarke, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Vinette Robinson, Veerle Dejaeger

Votes: 142

Emilia Clarke and Chiwetel Ejiofor star in this sci-fi comedy as a couple about to become the ultimate detached parents, raising their unborn child in an artificial womb that exists outside the body. Reviews have been mixed, but near-future technology always makes for a fun and compelling hook in movies and TV.

7. Infinity Pool (2023)

R | 117 min | Crime, Horror, Mystery

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
72 Metascore

James and Em Foster are enjoying an all-inclusive beach vacation in the fictional island of La Tolqa, when a fatal accident exposes the resort's perverse subculture of hedonistic tourism, reckless violence and surreal horrors.

Director: Brandon Cronenberg | Stars: Alexander Skarsgård, Mia Goth, Cleopatra Coleman, Dunja Sepcic

Votes: 20,666

Audiences are already drawing comparisons between 'Infinity Pool' — the newest film by Brandon Cronenberg starring Alexander Skarsgård and Mia Goth — and "The White Lotus." But while the HBO show uses wry satire to make its point, Cronenberg's film aims to horrify with its adult themes and overt violence.

8. Cat Person (2023)

120 min | Drama, Thriller

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
54 Metascore

The brief relationship between a twenty-year-old sophomore college student Margot, and an older man Robert, who is a regular at the movie theater where Margot works.

Director: Susanna Fogel | Stars: Emilia Jones, Nicholas Braun, Geraldine Viswanathan, Isabella Rossellini

Votes: 142

Based on the viral New Yorker short story by Kristen Roupenian, 'Cat Person' may threaten audiences with permanent muscle damage thanks to its cringe-inducing central sex scene. Starring Nicholas Braun ("Succession") Emilia Jones (one of two trending Sundance 2023 titles for the 'CODA' star), the film’s portrayal of toxic relationships and misogyny may hit close to home for some viewers.

9. Eileen (2023)

R | 97 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
75 Metascore

A woman's friendship with a new co-worker at the prison facility where she works takes a sinister turn.

Director: William Oldroyd | Stars: Thomasin McKenzie, Shea Whigham, Sam Nivola, Siobhan Fallon Hogan

Votes: 107

Based on the novel by co-writer Ottessa Moshfegh, Anne Hathaway and Thomasin McKenzie are getting critical praise for their intense chemistry in this dark and twisty story of the relationship between a juvenile detention secretary and the new prison psychiatrist who shakes up her life.

10. Fairyland (2023)

114 min | Drama

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68 Metascore

A young girl recounts growing up in San Francisco in the '70s and '80s with her gay dad.

Director: Andrew Durham | Stars: Emilia Jones, Scoot McNairy, Nessa Dougherty, Geena Davis

Votes: 79

'Fairyland' looks to become one of those rare films based on a memoir that doesn’t dilute the emotional impact of the source material in favor of broad appeal. And the cast is a fascinating ensemble we’re looking forward to seeing together: Emilia Jones (the 'CODA' star with two buzzy titles at Sundance), Scoot McNairy, Geena Davis, Adam Lambert, and Maria Bakalova.

11. Fair Play (2023)

113 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
76 Metascore

An unexpected promotion at a cutthroat hedge fund pushes a young couple's relationship to the brink, threatening to unravel far more than their recent engagement.

Director: Chloe Domont | Stars: Phoebe Dynevor, Alden Ehrenreich, Eddie Marsan, Rich Sommer

Votes: 149

Chloe Domont’s 'Fair Play' looks to appeal to moviegoers unafraid of watching damaged people damaging each other, as Phoebe Dynevor (of "Bridgerton" fame) and Alden Ehrenreich ('Solo: A Star Wars Story') play out a corporate romance that brings out the worst in everyone. Sure to cause a stir, Netflix saw something it likes, as the streamer is reportedly ponying up $20 million to snag the rights.

12. Theater Camp (2023)

94 min | Comedy

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
66 Metascore

The eccentric staff of a rundown theater camp in upstate New York, as they band together with the beloved founder's bro-y son to keep the camp afloat, when she falls into a coma right before the summer session is set to begin.

Directors: Molly Gordon, Nick Lieberman | Stars: Ben Platt, Molly Gordon, Noah Galvin, Jimmy Tatro

Votes: 192

This mockumentary by real-life best friends Ben Platt, Noah Galvin, Molly Gordon, and Nick Lieberman got a standing ovation when it premiered at Sundance on January 21, 2023, and it's easy to understand why. With a stellar cast (Amy Sedaris, Patti Harrison) and a wholesome plot, 'Theater Camp' looks ready-made to become the feel-good movie of the year. Searchlight must think so — they just purchased worldwide rights to the film for $8 million.

13. Bad Behaviour (2023)

109 min | Comedy, Drama

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/10 X  
57 Metascore

The film is a dark comedy about Lucy (Connelly), a former child actress who seeks enlightenment at a retreat led by spiritual leader Elon (Whishaw) while she also navigates the close yet ... See full summary »

Director: Alice Englert | Stars: Jennifer Connelly, Alice Englert, Ana Scotney, Alistair Sewell

Votes: 124

Add this to your Watchlist if you’re drawn to a standout performance of Jennifer Connelly, darkly comic insights into mother-daughter relationships, or are interested to see what director Alice Englert (daughter of Jane Campion) achieves behind the camera.

14. Cassandro (2023)

R | 99 min | Biography, Drama, Sport

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
81 Metascore

Follows the true story of Cassandro, the ''exotico'' character created by Saúl Armendáriz, gay amateur wrestler from El Paso who rose to international stardom.

Director: Roger Ross Williams | Stars: Gael García Bernal, Roberta Colindrez, Perla De La Rosa, Raúl Castillo

Votes: 59

Gael Garcia Bernal lends his veritas to the true story of Saúl Armendáriz, an openly gay Luchadore who transcended the sport’s stereotypical queer-coded rudo personae to become a legend. This is director Roger Ross Williams' ('Life, Animated') second foray into Armendáriz’s life, following his 2016 short film "The Man Without a Mask."

15. Flora and Son (2023)

94 min | Drama, Music

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
76 Metascore

It follows Flora, a single mom who is at war with her son, Max. Trying to find a hobby for Max, she rescues a guitar from a dumpster and finds that one person's trash can be a family's salvation.

Director: John Carney | Stars: Eve Hewson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Orén Kinlan, Jack Reynor

Votes: 46

Writer/director John Carney has launched his two previous musical dramedies at Sundance ('Once' and 'Sing Street'), and both have gone on to please audiences and critics alike, so expect his latest, which stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt a as failed musician who becomes an inspiration for Flora (Eve Hewson), who is struggling with her failing marriage and troubled young son, to follow suit. Apple certainly believes in the film, as it has acquired 'Flora and Son' for an impressive $20 million.

16. Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie (2023)

R | 95 min | Documentary, Biography

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
75 Metascore

Follows the life of beloved actor and advocate Michael J. Fox, exploring his personal and professional triumphs and travails, and what happens when an incurable optimist confronts an incurable disease.

Director: Davis Guggenheim | Stars: Michael J. Fox, Tracy Pollan, Andrew Barber, Susan Bressman

Votes: 57

Because sometimes you need a good cry and confirmation that a beloved icon is someone you can still admire. At a time when so many profile docs tend to have a promotional edge, it’s refreshing that Michael J. Fox let director Davis Guggenheim have full creative freedom and waived any right to influence the film’s final cut.

17. Little Richard: I Am Everything (2023)

98 min | Documentary, Music

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79 Metascore

One of a kind rock 'n' roll icon who shaped the world of music.

Director: Lisa Cortes | Stars: John Waters, Mick Jagger, Tom Jones, Paul McCartney

Votes: 46

Little Richard, often credited as the architect of rock and roll, tended to defy categorization. His inner turmoil – growing up a Black man of faith who had trouble reconciling with his sexuality – is the focus of this documentary from director Lisa Cortes. Reviews have been mixed (some say there isn’t enough of his music to enjoy) though Magnolia/CNN Films picked up worldwide rights.

18. Judy Blume Forever (2023)

97 min | Documentary

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Judy Blume and the generations of readers who have sparked to her work. It will examine her impact on pop culture and the occasional controversies over her frankness about puberty and sex.

Directors: Davina Pardo, Leah Wolchok | Stars: Molly Ringwald, Samantha Bee, Judy Blume

Votes: 13

Suddenly, author Judy Blume is everywhere all at once, with the long-awaited adaptation of her novel 'Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret.' being released this April, and large crowds gathering at Sundance to enjoy 'Judy Blume Forever,' a documentary that examines her writing’s impact on generations of readers.

19. The Eternal Memory (2023)

85 min | Documentary

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Augusto and Paulina have been together for 25 years. Eight years ago, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Both fear the day he no longer recognizes her.

Director: Maite Alberdi | Star: Digav Aaditya Singh Rajput

Votes: 65

This tender yet heartbreaking documentary follows Chilean journalist Augusto Góngora and his wife Paulina as they confront the challenges of his battle with Alzheimer’s. The film won the top prize in Sundance’s world documentary category, and was promptly acquired by MTV Documentary Films.

20. Scrapper (2023)

84 min | Comedy, Drama

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
66 Metascore

Georgie, a dreamy 12-year-old girl, lives happily alone in her London flat, filling it with magic. Suddenly, her estranged father turns up and forces her to confront reality.

Director: Charlotte Regan | Stars: Lola Campbell, Alin Uzun, Cary Crankson, Carys Bowkett

Votes: 100

This Grand Jury prize winner in the world dramatic category could be an indie sleeper this year. Writer-director Charlotte Regan has crafted a small, sweet drama that follows a spirited young 12-year-old as she reunites with her estranged father.

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