The final month of 2023 brings action, frights, music, and tragedy to the big screen with these last must-see movies of the year.
‘May December’ December 1st (Netflix)
Twenty years after their notorious tabloid romance gripped the nation, Gracie Atherton-Yu (Julianne Moore) and her husband Joe (Charles Melton) (twenty-three years her junior) brace themselves for their twins to graduate from high school. When Hollywood actress Elizabeth Berry (Natalie Portman) comes to spend time with the family to better understand Gracie, who she will be playing in a film, family dynamics unravel under the pressure of the outside gaze. Set in picturesque and comfortable Camden, Maine, May December is an exploration of truth, storytelling, and the difficulties (or impossibility) of fully understanding another person.
‘The Boy and the Heron’ December 8th (Theaters)
Hayao Miyazaki's first feature film in 10 years, The Boy and the Heron is a hand-drawn, original story written and directed by the Academy Award-winning director. Mahito, a young 12-year-old boy, struggles to settle in a new town after his mother's death. However, when a talking heron informs Mahito that his mother is still alive, he enters an abandoned tower in search of her, which takes him to another world.
‘The Sacrifice Game’ December 8th (Shudder)
The Blackvale School for Girls, 1971. It's bad enough that students Samantha (Madison Baines) and Clara (Georgia Acken) can't go home for the holidays, but things take a deadly turn when a gang of cult killers arrives at their doorstep--just in time for Christmas.
‘Poor Things’ December 8th (Theaters)
From filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos and producer Emma Stone comes the incredible tale and fantastical evolution of Bella Baxter (Stone), a young woman brought back to life by the brilliant and unorthodox scientist Dr. Godwin Baxter (Willem Dafoe). Under Baxter’s protection, Bella is eager to learn. Hungry for the worldliness she is lacking, Bella runs off with Duncan Wedderburn (Mark Ruffalo), a slick and debauched lawyer, on a whirlwind adventure across the continents. Free from the prejudices of her times, Bella grows steadfast in her purpose to stand for equality and liberation.
‘Leave the World Behind’ December 8th (Netflix)
In this apocalyptic thriller from award-winning writer and director Sam Esmail (Mr. Robot), Amanda (Julia Roberts) and her husband Clay (Ethan Hawke), rent a luxurious home for the weekend with their kids, Archie (Charlie Evans) and Rose (Farrah Mackenzie). Their vacation is soon upended when two strangers -- G.H. (Mahershala Ali) and his daughter Ruth (Myha'la) -- arrive in the night, bearing news of a mysterious cyberattack and seeking refuge in the house they claim is theirs. The two families reckon with a looming disaster that grows more terrifying by the minute, forcing everyone to come to terms with their places in a collapsing world.
‘The Family Plan’ December 15th (Apple TV+)
Dan Morgan (Mark Wahlberg) loves his quiet suburban life as a devoted husband, father of three and successful car salesman. But that’s only half the story. Decades earlier, he was an elite government assassin tasked with eliminating the world’s deadliest threats. When enemies from his past track him down, Dan packs his unsuspecting wife (Michelle Monaghan), angsty teen daughter, pro-gamer teen son and adorable 10-month-old baby into their minivan and takes off on an impromptu cross-country road trip to Las Vegas. Determined to protect his family — while treating them to the vacation of a lifetime — Dan must put his long-dormant skills into action, without revealing his true identity.
‘Wonka’ December 15th (Theaters)
From Paul King, writer/director of the Paddington films, comes an intoxicating mix of magic and music, mayhem and emotion, all told with fabulous heart and humor. Starring Timothée Chalamet in the title role, this irresistibly vivid and inventive big screen spectacle will introduce audiences to a young Willy Wonka, chock-full of ideas and determined to change the world one delectable bite at a time—proving that the best things in life begin with a dream, and if you’re lucky enough to meet Willy Wonka, anything is possible.
‘Maestro’ December 20th (Netflix)
From Director Bradley Cooper, Maestro is the towering and fearless love story chronicling the lifelong relationship between cultural icon Leonard Bernstein (Cooper) and Felicia Montealegre Cohn Bernstein (Carey Mulligan). A love letter to life and art, Maestro, at its core, is an emotionally epic portrayal of family and love.
‘The Iron Claw’ December 22nd (Theaters)
The true story of the inseparable Von Erich brothers, who make history in the intensely competitive world of professional wrestling in the early 1980s. Through tragedy and triumph, under the shadow of their domineering father and coach, the brothers seek larger-than-life immortality on the biggest stage in sports.
‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’ December 22nd (Theaters)
Having failed to defeat Aquaman (Jason Momoa) the first time, Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), still driven by the need to avenge his father’s death, will stop at nothing to take Aquaman down once and for all. This time Black Manta is more formidable than ever before, wielding the power of the mythic Black Trident, which unleashes an ancient and malevolent force. To defeat him, Aquaman will turn to his imprisoned brother Orm (Patrick Wilson), the former King of Atlantis, to forge an unlikely alliance. Together, they must set aside their differences in order to protect their kingdom and save Aquaman’s family, and the world, from irreversible destruction.
'Rebel Moon - Part One: A Child of Fire' December 22nd (Netflix)
From Zack Snyder, the filmmaker behind 300, Man of Steel, and Army of the Dead, comes Rebel Moon, a 2-part movie event decades in the making. After crash landing on a moon in the furthest reaches of the universe, Kora (Sofia Boutella), a stranger with a mysterious past, begins a new life among a peaceful settlement of farmers. But she soon becomes their only hope for survival when the tyrannical Regent Balisarius (Fra Fee) and his cruel emissary, Admiral Noble (Ed Skrein), discover the farmers have unwittingly sold their crops to the Bloodaxes (Cleopatra Coleman and Ray Fisher) — leaders of a fierce group of insurgents hunted by the Motherworld.
‘Ferrari’ December 25th (Theaters)
It is the summer of 1957. Behind the spectacle of Formula 1, ex-racer Enzo Ferrari (Adam Driver) is in crisis. Bankruptcy threatens the factory he and his wife, Laura (Penelope Cruz) built from nothing ten years earlier. Their volatile marriage has been battered by the loss of their son, Dino a year earlier. Ferrari struggles to acknowledge his son Piero with Lina Lardi. Meanwhile, his drivers' passion to win pushes them to the edge as they launch into the treacherous 1,000-mile race across Italy, the Mille Miglia.
‘The Color Purple’ December 25th (Theaters)
A story of love and resilience based on the novel and the Broadway musical, The Color Purple is a decades-spanning tale of one woman's journey to independence. Celie faces many hardships in her life, but ultimately finds extraordinary strength and hope in the unbreakable bonds of sisterhood.