The 50 best films of 2023 – in reverse order: 30 to 21

We continue our countdown of our favourite movies released in Ireland this year

30. Joyland

Directed by Saim Sadiq. A married, sensitive daydreamer improbably lands work as a backing dancer for a trans female performer at a Lahore variety club. Tender romance blossoms in this Queer Palm winner.

29. Killers of the Flower Moon

Directed by Martin Scorsese. The great man stretches out in his telling of a complex, shocking story concerning abuses against the Osage people in 1920s Oklahoma. Standout turn from Lily Gladstone.

28. Oppenheimer

Directed by Christopher Nolan. Temporal jumps, dynamic edits and ceaseless camerawork invest meetings and disciplinary hearings with the grammar of high-octane cinema, as Cillian Murphy and his team descend on Los Alamos to develop an atomic bomb. Shame about the female characters.

27. Godland

Directed by Hlynur Pálmason. A feeble Danish priest is dispatched, during the 19th century, to sometime colony Iceland. The doomy tone of Werner Herzog’s calamitous colonial adventures is offset by sublime images.


26. EO

Directed by Jerzy Skolimowski. This contemporary reworking of Bresson’s Au Hasard Balthazar follows a donkey from the circus to the slaughterhouse, encountering football hooligans, wolves, hunters and a wealthy benefactor along the way.

25. Eileen

Directed by William Oldroyd. Oldroyd follows up Lady Macbeth with a moody, disturbing take on Ottessa Moshfegh’s noirish novel concerning a repressed woman’s eye-opening encounter with a glamorous outsider. Thomasin McKenzie and Anne Hathaway rule.

24. Enys Men

Directed by Mark Jenkin. Jenkin, director of Bait, again uses antique cinema equipment as he lays out the confusing story of a woman encountering vegetative strangeness on a remote island.

23. The Eight Mountains

Directed by Felix van Groeningen and Charlotte Vandermeersch. Luca Marinelli and Alessandro Borghi put in mountain-sized performances as long-time friends in the Cannes jury prize-winning epic from the makers of Broken Circle Breakdown.

22. Master Gardener

Directed by Paul Schrader. A reformed white supremacist (Joel Edgerton) falls for the “mixed blood” grandniece (Quintessa Swindell) of landowner and sometime lover Norma (Sigourney Weaver) in the writer-director’s latest provocation.

21. How to Have Sex

Directed by Molly Manning Walker. The plot promises and often delivers fun: three British teenage girls head off for the best boozy holiday ever at a Greek party resort. The drama delivers a nail-biting (and Cannes-winning) consideration of peer pressure and consent.

The 50 best films of 2023: 20 to 11

The 50 best films of 2023: 50 to 31