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By Tom Naylor on

Pictureville’s Top Films of 2023

It’s been an amazing year for cinema, so we asked the staff of Pictureville and the National Science and Media Museum to tell us their favourite films of 2023.

Read on for the top five plus some honourable mentions and let us know your favourite in the comments.

The top 5

5. Spider-Man: Across the Spiderverse

I thought the first movie was lightning in a bottle, but this absolutely lives up to the bar set by the first, builds some great character progression and is absolutely gorgeous to watch. (Lewis Pollard, Curator of Television and Broadcast)

One of my most eagerly anticipated releases of 2023, both this film and its predecessor did not disappoint. I loved everything, from the art style to the voice acting to the soundtrack. Can’t wait for the next one—even with the long wait! (Abbi Senior, Communications Officer)

4. Scrapper

From its opening credits with a soundtrack by The Streets, to the sparky young protagonist Georgie, Scrapper reeled me in. Aged just 12, she’s keeping social services at arm’s length since losing her mum and doing remarkably well until her absent dad Jason appears unexpectedly. The story plays out against the backdrop of a dreary estate transformed by a colour palette worthy of Wes Anderson. (Rebecca Land, Head of Communications and Advocacy)

A really moving story that brought me to tears and laughter! Definitely on my watch again list. (Hattie Charnely-Shaw, Learning Producer)

3. Oppenheimer (Tie)

I think for the sheer spectacle of it and the big ‘movies are back’ energy I will go for Oppenheimer, specifically on 70mm at Pictureville. (Cathy Pilkington, Marketing Manager)

I feel the cultural impact of Barbie and Oppenheimer sharing a release date means they should be listed together. Both very different films but both worth watching, despite the tonal whiplash. (Saquib Idrees, Assistant Curator)

3. Barbie (Tie)

Need I say more? It’s a Barbie world, we just got to live in it for a short while—weren’t we lucky? (Abbi Senior, Communications Officer)

Obviously! (Brittany Noppe, Senior Press Officer)

2. Past Lives

A beautiful, bittersweet story of two people that love each other’s company but are never in the same place long enough to actually get their relationship going. It skips through time, so we see them as childhood sweethearts, students talking on Skype, and as adults when one travels abroad to visit the other. It has a lot of really charming scenes and well written dialogue. (Josh Jones, Associate Curator of Sound and Vision)

A beautifully tender drama about first loves and what ifs, if you need a good cry this is the one. (Cathy Pilkington, Marketing Manager)

1. Rye Lane

Absolutely loved this! A genuinely funny romcom, doesn’t miss a beat, just a great time. (Cathy Pilkington, Marketing Manager)

What an infectiously joyous romcom… Vibrant colours and charming leads, you’re going to leave the cinema smiling after this one. (Tom Naylor, Cinema Marketing Officer)

A pure joy that left me smiling from ear to ear! (Harriet Cash, Website Manager)

Best of the rest

Triangle of Sadness

I had no idea what to expect from this, and what I witnessed will never leave me. Very enjoyable and thought-provoking though! (Hattie Charnley-Shaw, Learning Producer)

Enys Men

Totally strange and transfixing with incredible sound, I was very glad to have seen it on the big screen. (Harriet Cash, Website Manager)

May December

I can’t stop thinking about this intricate melodrama from Todd Haynes and the astonishing performances from Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore. The lines between reality and performance collapse as an actress prepares to play the lead in a scandalous tabloid romance and I was hooked! (Tom Naylor, Cinema Marketing Officer)

Name Me Lawand

A documentary film about the struggles of a Deaf child and his family who fled to the UK from Iraq in search of a better life, only to have to fight deportation here as well. It shows the incredible value of BSL, both for Lawand himself and also for the people around him. Very well shot and edited, and a real eye-opening, empathy-building watch. (Josh Jones, Associate Curator of Sound and Vision)

Cocaine Bear

A ridiculous concept for a film executed to perfection. Pretty much does what it says on the tin and leaves no complaints. Arguably my favourite film of all time for how it can balance being both dark and silly. (Saquib Idrees, Assistant Curator)


Fascinating and unnerving at the same time. The inspired use of actual court transcripts for the script shows that sometimes life and film doesn’t need any additional drama. (Toni Booth, Curator of Film)


Openly queer, beautifully animated and a gorgeous story. Pretty much perfect. (Jack Weedon, Festivals and Cinema Events Co-ordinator)

The Lord of the Rings all-nighter

Although not technically a 2023 release, my best film experience of the year was by far the Lord of the Rings marathon during this year’s Widescreen Weekend. There’s nothing like shared sleep deprivation to turn a cinema audience into a fellowship! Seeing all three films on the Cinerama screen was a unique treat too. (Kate Burnett, Interpretation Developer)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem

Did not get the attention it deserved! Not only does it look amazing, but the chemistry in the voice cast is something else and really captures the ‘teenage’ aspect of the turtles. Perhaps one-too-many pop-culture references, but it’s all in good fun, eh? (Lewis Pollard, Curator of Television and Broadcast)

Ama Gloria

A deceptively complex film with an astounding and heartbreaking performance from the young lead actor. I’d challenge anyone to watch this and not shed tears. (Toni Booth, Curator of Film)

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