Best of Sundance: 17 Must-See Movies From the 2023 Festival

Fair Play Eileen Past Lives Sundance
Courtesy of Sundance Film Festival

As the first in-person edition of the Sundance Film Festival since 2020, this year’s festival came as a welcome reminder of what it’s like to mingle with fellow film fanatics in the cold air and pristine mountain beauty of Park City. In fact, most everyone at Sundance was so glad simply to be there that the real revelation of this year’s festival — what maybe few were even expecting — was how supremely good the movies were. The year after a Sundance movie (“CODA”) went on to win best picture at the Oscars, the programmers offered up a mix of independent films that were bold, sharp, daring, exciting, challenging, amusing and relevant, not to mention (in a number of key cases) relatively commercial. If this is what the first month of 2023 has to offer, then it looks like film lovers are in for a promising year. Here are the Variety critics’ picks of the Sundance discoveries that loomed over all the others.