155 Best Movies & Shows Released in 2023 On Netflix UK (Page 5)

Staff & contributors
Find the best movies and show to watch from the year 2023. These handpicked recommendations are highly-rated by viewers and critics.

Family is one of the bonds we don’t really get to choose, and for better or for worse, they’re the bonds that form the foundation of our lives. Familia depicts this bond faithfully, as Leo’s remaining family, his three adult daughters, all travel back to the family’s olive orchard to decide on its fate. The way the bond is depicted feels realistic, as each of the family members can confront each other with their choices in the one time of the year they can do so. The film is able to make it work with its excellent cast, and carefully written dialogue that makes the conversation flow naturally. While Familia isn’t a holiday film, it’s a fairly realistic depiction of a family gathering and a timely film to watch before heading home to your family for the holidays.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Cassandra Ciangherotti, Daniel Giménez Cacho, Ilse Salas, Maribel Verdú, Natalia Solián, Vicky Araico

Director: Rodrigo García

Rating: R

It’s slower and talkier than you’d expect from a semi-erotic film, but Ehnegard lives up to its title well enough to satisfy. It’s titillating, but in a cheeky rather than provocative way. The dialogues are lengthy, but they’re alternately witty and poetic, so despite the pace they never actually bore. Ehnegard’s real delight, however, is its beauty. Set in the old kingdom of Babenhausen, Ehnegard looks like a fairy tale come to life. The towering castles, the sprawling meadows, the twinkling forest lakes, and of course, the smartly costumed people who populate the scenery—all these and more ensure that each frame has a picturesque glow to it. And with Sidse Babett Knudsen (Borgen, Westworld) taking charge of an appealing cast, Ehnegard proves to be a charming watch. 

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Actor: Alice E. Bier Zandén, Christopher Laesso, Jacob Ulrik Lohmann, Mikkel Boe Følsgaard, Paul Hüttel, Sara-Marie Maltha, Sidse Babett Knudsen

Director: Bille August

Rating: R

With a new, fast-paced media landscape, Call Me Chihiro might feel too slow for people new to the story. Composed of serene, slice-of-life moments, the film starts off feeling plotless, as the titular protagonist builds random interactions with the townspeople. She makes friends with people who seemingly don’t have much in common with her. Despite this, each interaction feels meaningful and genuine, thanks to the subtle acting of Kasumi Arimura. And as these scenes build up, and Chihiro’s friends begin to become friends with each other, these day-to-day moments form a character study of a lonely woman whose kindness and appreciation for life make her feel so admirable. For those wistful Sunday nights, Call Me Chihiro might be a great watch, but only if you’re in that certain mood.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Fusako Urabe, Hana Toyoshima, Itsuki Nagasawa, Jun Fubuki, Kasumi Arimura, Keiichi Suzuki, Lily Franky, Mitsuru Hirata, Miwako Ichikawa, Ryuya Wakaba, Shigeo Ôsako, Toshie Negishi, Van, Wakaba Ryuuya, Yoichiro Saito, Yui Sakuma

Director: Rikiya Imaizumi

Rating: R, TV-14

Pollution disproportionately affects developing nations, and when governments continue to allow the lackluster waste management processes of large-scale industries, sometimes the only option is to leave. That’s what the six protagonists do in Blood Vessel, though escaping the situation isn’t as easy as it sounds. The first half starts out fairly slow, as we get to know the group, but it’s all to bring about emotional devastation as the film unfolds into violent ends. While certain plot elements don’t have a neat resolution, and certain technical aspects sometimes feel distracting, Blood Vessel works through the strength of its six lead performances.

Genre: Drama, Thriller

Actor: Alex Budin, Bimbo Manuel, David Ezekiel, Dibor Adaobi, Jidekene Achufusi, Slyvester Ekanem

Director: Moses Inwang

With social media inextricably linked to our lives, the way we navigate relationships is different now. Kho Gaye Hum Kahan is a visually stunning debut that depicts this unique modern anxiety, and its different facets through three childhood friends. Adarsh Gourav, Siddhant Chaturvedi, and Ananya Panday have the easy, breezy dynamic that grounds the film. This, along with the chill soundtrack and stylish approach of writer-director Arjun Varain Singh took in depicting their issues, definitely match the aesthetic appeal we’re used to from the online world. The film’s conclusion doesn’t fully resolve things– after all, there’s no stopping the interconnectedness between real life and the online world– but Kho Gaye Hum Kahan’s struggles feel relatable, even if it’s as surface-level as the world it wishes to criticize.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Adarsh Gourav, Ananya Panday, Anya Singh, Divya Jagdale, Farhan Akhtar, Kalki Koechlin, Siddhant Chaturvedi, Suchitra Pillai, Vijay Maurya

Director: Arjun Varain Singh

Rating: PG-13

More streamlined and more technically ambitious than its predecessor, yet even less interested in developing an interesting setting or characters, Extraction 2 takes the most predictable route available for an action sequel. The first film's attempts to center its narrative on the unnecessary loss of life of children is nothing but an inconsequential footnote in this movie—which gestures toward the same ideas but never actually allows its already generic characters to be emotionally affected by anything.

So thank goodness that Extraction 2's action is so frequently fun to watch, proudly wearing its influences from movies like The Raid, and from the most relentless of video game set pieces. There's genuine inspiration behind how creative and how brutal the violence can get here, brought to life by crisp sound design and production design that the characters can constantly interact with. So while all the halfhearted character work doesn't give the action any extra weight, the action on its own is already so dynamic, that every set piece is still worth the wait.

Genre: Action, Thriller

Actor: Adam Bessa, Andro Japaridze, Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Bernhardt, Dato Bakhtadze, George Lasha, Golshifteh Farahani, Idris Elba, Irakli Kvirikadze, Justin Howell, Levan Saginashvili, Olga Kurylenko, Patrick Newall, Sam Hargrave, Sinéad Phelps, Tinatin Dalakishvili, Tornike Bziava, Tornike Gogrichiani

Director: Sam Hargrave

Rating: R

Straight to the point and without any overly elaborate set-ups or personal anecdotes, Shane Gillis' Beautiful Dogs is a sort of back-to-basics approach to stand-up comedy that proves surprisingly effective. Over the course of about 50 minutes, Gillis' jokes move smoothly and freely—loose in structure but still clearly centering around very American notions of authority and masculinity (revolving around the military and U.S. history), which the comedian is quick to poke holes in. Gillis' humor is definitely of the lowbrow variety though, and while this in itself isn't a bad thing, a number of his jokes begin to repeat their point to no additional effect, usually relying on low-hanging fruit. Gillis skirts and occasionally dips into offensive territory, which he fully acknowledges. And while some of the stuff in this special is a little tasteless, at least Gillis is sheepishly honest about it.

Genre: Comedy, Documentary

Actor: Shane Gillis

Director: John McKeever

After Nimona's long journey to the big screen (involving the shutdown of animation studio Blue Sky, and Disney's resistance to LGTBQ+ themes), the fact that the movie has been completed and allowed to tell its story at all is something to be celebrated. The film itself is pretty standard fare for American children's animation, with a script that spends far too much time on quips, and visuals that don't take advantage of the movie's science-fantasy world. But if you can get beyond its more ordinary aspects, Nimona becomes a surprisingly thorough metaphor of Otherness and queerness—best represented in the title character's shapeshifting abilities, and how people fear and become violent with her before even trying to understand her. It's a film that's sadly become more relevant than ever now, addressing how prejudice is something that's taught and passed down, packaged in an easy, entertaining manner for younger audiences.

Genre: Action, Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Family, Fantasy, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Science Fiction

Actor: Beck Bennett, Chloë Grace Moretz, Cindy Slattery, Eugene Lee Yang, Frances Conroy, Indya Moore, Julio Torres, Karen Ryan, Lorraine Toussaint, ND Stevenson, Nick Bruno, Riz Ahmed, RuPaul, Sarah Sherman, Troy Quane

Director: Nick Bruno, Troy Quane

Rating: PG

While marketed as a family drama, Long Live Love! plays out more like a romance film between parents Sati and Meta. Where Meta has dived in, and accepted her role as a wife and mother, former model Sati still clings to the immature lifestyle he’s used to, to the glimmers of fame that he used to have. The premise is genius– there’s something poetic in the way someone who’s constantly obsessed with the look of a photo now has to go on the quest for its behind-the-scenes. There’s something here that questions previous portrayals of toxic masculinity and of marriage primarily because of how they’ll be perceived. However, there seems to be some missing sequences that could have made the ending more devastating.

Genre: Comedy, Romance

Actor: Araya A. Hargate, Becky Armstrong, Bhumibhat Thavornsiri, Niti Chaichitathorn, Nopachai Jayanama, Panissara Arayaskul, Pannawit Phattanasiri, Paweenut Pangnakorn, Sadanont Durongkhaweroj, Sunny Suwanmethanon

Director: Piyakarn Butprasert

Being a priest requires full devotion to God, so falling in love would naturally challenge a seminarian and make them question whether priesthood is the right path for them. I Love Lizzy portrays this conflict as the seminarian Jeff falls in love with Bicol tour guide Lizzy, on the break where he’s supposed to make his discernment. It’s an intriguing love story, especially as Jeff and Lizzy heal past wounds with each other, and Carlo Aquino adeptly navigates his second seminarian role with ease. However, it’s clear that more care and attention was given to Jeff’s storyline rather than Lizzy’s. Despite this, I Love Lizzy is a unique, if a bit uneven, take on the seminarian love story that continues to captivate the predominantly Catholic country today.

Genre: Romance

Actor: Barbie Imperial, Carlo Aquino, Meanne Espinosa, Robert Seña, Turs Daza

Director: RC Delos Reyes

Following the success of the Zom 100 manga and anime, Netflix quickly followed suit with a live-action film, which begs the question: why? Why bother, when the freshly released series is barely a month old and already a vibrant interpretation of the comic book it was based from? Why bother, when you’re not going to bring anything new to the table? The film, more than anything, feels like a rushed cash grab that hopes to capitalize on its predecessors’ success. The premise is clever and relatable—after years of living like a zombie, a jaded employee regains a lust for life when an outbreak threatens to kill him—but the film milks it to death, so much so that by the ending, when the characters finally reach this conclusion, they can’t help but seem slow for spelling out what we’ve already known from the start. The film also looks drab and dreary, a far cry from the series’ experimental wonders. Instead of multi-colored blood bursting with every kill, we simply get metallic confetti in the movie. Instead of dynamic action, we get barely believable stunts that seem more awkward than awe-inspiring. Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead isn’t bad per se, but it doesn’t look so good next to its much-better counterparts on TV and in print. 

Genre: Action, Comedy, Drama, Horror

Actor: Akari Hayami, Daiki Miyagi, Eiji Akaso, Kazuki Kitamura, Kenta Satoi, Mai Shiraishi, Mayo Kawasaki, Miwako Kakei, Mukau Nakamura, Shota Taniguchi, Shuntaro Yanagi, Yo Takahashi, Yui Ichikawa

Director: Yusuke Ishida

Rating: R, TV-MA

 As glad as I am to see a film celebrating the complex joys of interracial love and debunking the stigma of arranged marriages, I can’t help but wonder how and why a film about love got to be so dry and passionless. Is dating really this painfully awkward? Is marriage really this burdensome? Realistically, yes, but when you’re trying to make a point about true love supposedly trumping it all, including cultural differences and age-old traditions, then you should at least make it seem like the winner. The movie tries to have its cake and eat it too by serving us heaps of realism and fantasy on one plate, failing to understand that you only have to pick one to be palatable. “Love Contractually” is the title of Zoe’s documentary, but it’s also the name this movie should’ve gone with, seeing as how everyone acts like they’re obligated to be here. 

Genre: Comedy, Romance

Actor: Alexander Owen, Alice Orr-Ewing, Asim Chaudhry, Ben Ashenden, Emma Thompson, Jamal Andreas, Jeff Mirza, Lily James, Mim Shaikh, Munir Khairdin, Nikkita Chadha, Nosheen Phoenix, Oliver Chris, Peter Sandys-Clarke, Ravi Aujla, Sajal Ali, Shabana Azmi, Shaheen Khan, Shazad Latif, Sindhu Vee, Taj Atwal, Wasim Zakir

Director: Shekhar Kapur

Rating: PG-13

From the moment it begins, The Monkey King hardly pauses to take a breath. The characters are always frantically jumping into the next scene, the action is nonstop, and the jokes, though juvenile, arrive one after the other. This is okay if you’re looking for a brisk viewing experience, but not so if you’re prone to vertigo. It moves at a relentless pace, which doesn’t just make the film a dizzying watch; it also robs the animation’s beautiful details of the time it needs to be appreciated. The movie’s core message, too, is buried under all the film’s pizzaz, which is a shame considering its refreshing pragmatism. When all the other kids’ movies are promoting courage and confidence, The Monkey King actually warns against the dangers of an inflated ego. The Monkey King is passable entertainment for the family, but with a better pace, it could’ve been great. 

Genre: Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Family, Fantasy, Kids

Actor: Andrew Kishino, Andrew Pang, Artemis Snow, BD Wong, Bowen Yang, David Chen, Dee Bradley Baker, Hoon Lee, James Sie, Jimmy O. Yang, Jo Koy, Jodi Long, Jolie Hoang-Rappaport, Kaiji Tang, Mark Benninghoffen, Robert Wu, Ron Yuan, Sophie Wu, Stephanie Hsu, Vic Chao

Director: Anthony Stacchi

Rating: PG

As a documentary, The Darkness Within doesn't dig as deep as it probably could have. It doesn't offer a particularly specific account of how La Luz del Mundo has achieved its popularity and what exactly keeps it in power today. However, due to the fact that many church members seem to remain loyal to its corrupt, criminal leaders, a straightforward testimony is also exactly what this film needs to be. In direct, uncompromising detail—but always edited with a solemn respect for the survivors, who get to make their statements without the camera in their face—it lays out the mountain of damning personal experiences that too many La Luz del Mundo have suffered, as the rest of the church has turned a blind eye towards them.

Genre: Crime, Documentary

Director: Carlos Pérez Osorio

Inspired by the real-life Hepta Group, Phenomena is an entertaining, though familiar supernatural horror comedy. As the three women in the Hepta Group take on a case that took down their leader, Sagrario, Paz, and Gloria can’t help but bite and snap at each other affectionately, even just before conducting a seance. But it’s their chemistry that keeps the predictable plot entertaining. It’s a bit old school, and at times, inconsistent, but the technical aspects are decently executed. Big horror fans and viewers looking for a creepier thrill might not enjoy this lighthearted seance, but it might be a fun watch for viewers new to the genre.

Genre: Comedy, Horror, Thriller

Actor: Antonio Pagudo, Belén Rueda, Emilio Gutiérrez Caba, Gracia Olayo, Ivan Massagué, Jesús Puente, Lorena López, Miren Ibarguren, Óscar Ortuño, Pedro Casablanc, Toni Acosta

Director: Carlos Therón