Friday, March 24
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What were the best films and how can you see them?

Here’s a list of some of the best Sundance movies from the 2023 edition of the festival, and when you can expect to see them.

The Sundance Film Festival has wrapped up, and overall their first year back in person since the pandemic was a rousing success. Several of the movie’s big films have been snapped up for distribution in record-breaking deals and will be seen soon. However, the two biggest deals (so far) have been for streaming services, so while you may not be seeing a lot of these on the big screen, but they should create a lot of buzz when the drop.

Here’s a list of highlights from the festival and when you can expect to see them:

Flora and Son

John Carney’s follow-up to his trilogy of music-driven romances, OnceBegin Again and Sing Street, was one of the most beloved films to play Park City this year. Eve Hewson, Jack Reynor and Joseph Gordon-Levitt star in this story of a divorced mother in Ireland who signs up for online guitar lesson courts of a hunky teacher (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and discovers an unexpected talent that brings her closer to her ex and her troubled son. Apple picked this one up, and given how widely acclaimed Hewson was in the lead, this feels like a potential fall release from the company (they also shelled out a rumoured $25 million for the film, so they must have big plans for it). Their fall slate is packed with Killers of the Flower Moon and Napoleon, so it’s possible this might get a summer release.

Bridgerton’s Phoebe Dynevor and Solo star Alden Ehrenreich star in this erotic thriller about a wannabe power couple toiling on Wall Street whose power dynamic shifts when one lands a coveted promotion. This was the talk of the fest, with Netflix shelling out $20 million for what plays a bit like a variation on retro thrillers like DisclosureFatal Attraction and more. While it’s probably too pulpy to be a big Oscar player, Netflix would be wise to give this a big push during the summer, as it has the potential to be a breakout, water-cooler hit for them. If Netflix has had a problem with their movies, they’re often too generic and forgettable, while Fair Play is anything but.

Polite Society

If you liked Everything Everywhere All At Once, you might enjoy this comedy-kung fu mashup, which is coming out from Focus on April 28th. While I didn’t love the film as much as some critics did, it’s still a blast with two terrific, star-making performances from Priya Kansara and Ritu Arya.

Landscape with Invisible Hand

United Artists/MGM has the rights to this elevated alien invasion tale, which depicts a non-violent takeover from the perspective of a teenage artist trying to cope on Earth while society more-or-less breaks down. Cory Finley (Bad Education, Thoroughbreds) is a great director, and this was pretty buzzy at the fest. As UA/MGM has it, it should get a theatrical release, although I imagine it’ll get seen by more people once it hits streaming.

Talk to Me

A24 picked up this highlight of the Midnight section that centers around a group of mischievous Australian teenagers that mess with an enabled hand that allows them to talk to the dead. This was a total blast, and if A24 plays their cards right, this could be the next Babadook or Hereditary.

Cassandro

Prime Video has the rights to this big-screen biopic of legendary wrestler “Cassandro” who broke barriers by being an openly gay “exotico” who won matches (and the public’s hearts) in Mexico. Gael Garcia Bernal is terrific in this often funny, sometimes harrowing, action-packed wrestling movie.

Of course, there were a lot of other great movies that played at the festival, with some of my favorite titles, including Magazine DreamsEileen and Cat Person, still needing distributors, although those deals should fall into place soon. On the other side of that, titles I didn’t love, like Run Rabbit Run (Netflix) and Theatre Camp (Searchlight), also got pricy deals, while one of the best movies of the fest, Infinity Pool, is actually in theaters now. So, pretty much everything I saw will come out sooner or later.

Check out all of my Sundance reviews here!

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