Ten Big-Time Directors Have Buzzy Films This Fall: 2023 Preview

There are many anticipated movies being released in Fall 2023, but these ten stand out because they also feature lauded artists in the director’s seat. Be on the lookout for these feature films by some of the great auteurs, being released in coming months and generating awards season heat:

10. The Holdovers by Alexander Payne (Election, Nebraska) made a splash at the Telluride Film Festival and is expected to release Nov. 10 in theatres everywhere. Set in the early ’70s, this Focus Films dramedy pits a disliked private school teacher (Paul Giamatti, reuniting with his director of Sideways) and a troubled student (Dominic Sessa) against one another over an extended holiday break. Both male leads plus Da’Vine Joy Randolph are being touted for acting awards; and even though Payne didn’t also write the film, his direction is being praised and compared favorably to droll comedies from the ’70s (think Harold & Maude). Many moviegoers are hoping it’s a return to form after Downsizing, which seemingly only I liked!

9. May December by Todd Haynes (Carol, Far from Heaven) is a romantic drama starring Natalie Portman as an actress who travels to the American South to study the life of a woman she is set to portray on film. Julianne Moore plays the subject of a two-decade old tabloid romance that gripped the nation because her character dated someone substantially younger. The talk from the film’s premiere at Cannes Film Festival was that Haynes has once again proven himself one of the best directors of women. It’s the opening night film of the New York Film Festival and is slated for distribution in select theatres Nov. 17 before streaming on Netflix Dec. 1.

8. Priscilla by Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation, On the Rocks) is an American biopic starring Cailee Spaeny as Priscilla Presley and Jacob Elordi as Elvis. Expect Coppola, a master at chronicling the lives of women coming of age, to have a singular take on Priscilla’s memoirs as well as a distinctive soundtrack collaboration by Coppola’s husband Thomas Mars and his band Phoenix with music by the band Sons of Raphael (Elvis music is not featured in the film). After premiering at Venice International Film Festival, this A24 feature is slated for Nov. 3 in theatres.

7. Saltburn by Emerald Fennell is the acerbic director’s sophomore directorial follow-up to Promising Young Woman and caused quite a lot of interest at Telluride leading up to its limited theatrical release Nov. 17 before going wide Nov. 22. This psychological thriller/drama stars Barry Keoghan as a young Oxford University student who becomes infatuated with his aristocratic schoolmate, played by the ubiquitous Jacob Elordi, who invites his classmate for a summer he won’t forget at his eccentric family’s sprawling estate (namesake of the movie). Expect devilish details by this visionary director. Rosamund Pike and Richard E. Grant co-star.

6. All of Us Strangers by Andrew Haigh (45 Years, Weekend) is a romantic fantasy that premiered at Telluride starring Andrew Scott, Paul Mescal, Jamie Bell and Claire Foy. This Searchlight Pictures film is getting an Oscar-qualifying run late this year, with a Dec. 22 release. A chance encounter between those who are living and those who died three decades before provides an unlikely premise for Haigh’s latest journey into the human psyche.

5. Origin by Ava DuVernay (Selma, 13th) is an ambitious biographical drama about a writer played by Aunjanue Ellis grappling with personal tragedy, who embarks on a global exploration of discovery. This Neon film premiered at the Venice festival and is slated for late 2023. It co-stars Jon Bernthal, Vera Farmiga, Blair Underwood and Broadway belter Audra McDonald. Expect multiple story lines across various dimensions of life on earth in this intriguing entry.

4. Boy and the Heron by Hayao Miyazaki (My Neighbor Totoro, Howl’s Moving Castle) is rumored to be the final film by the animation master behind Studio Ghibli. This Japanese fantasy follows a boy who discovers an abandoned tower in his new town and enters a fantastical world with the talking bird of the title. The director draws heavily from his own childhood and explores conflict and loss in this hand-drawn epic slated for theatres Dec. 8 following special preview engagements Nov. 22.

3. The Killer by David Fincher (Fight Club, The Social Network) is a neo-noir action thriller based on a graphic novel series starring a deadpan Michael Fassbender as the titular assassin who gets embroiled in a global manhunt after a hit goes wrong. This too premiered in Venice and has been lauded for its acting and style. It co-stars Arliss Howard and Charles Parness with a small part played by Tilda Swinton. Music by The Smiths is featured prominently. Expect a limited theatrical run Oct. 27 before the film streams Nov. 10 on Netflix.

2. Poor Things by Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster, The Favourite) is a steampunk black comedy fantasy film and all the rage in Venice, capturing that festival’s top prize, the Golden Lion. Emma Stone plays “Bella,” an initially naive woman brought back to life by a scientist, Willem Dafoe. Bella’s desire to learn more about the world takes her across continents in search of equality and liberation. Mark Ruffalo plays her debauched lawyer companion. Expect wry comic highs and imaginative visuals. Stone is said to give her best performance yet. This Searchlight Pictures film also played Telluride and screens at the New York Film Festival among other prestigious competitions before coming to a screen near you Dec. 8.

1. Killers of the Flower Moon by Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street, Goodfellas) is the sixth feature film collaboration between the director and Leonardo DiCaprio and the tenth between the filmmaker and Robert De Niro. Based on the novel of the same name, the story depicts members of the Osage tribe in northeastern Oklahoma murdered under mysterious circumstances in the 1920s, sparking an investigation. DiCaprio plays the nephew of De Niro’s character and courts a Native American woman played by Lily Gladstone, who is said to be the film’s spiritual center. This epic saga premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and has garnered momentum all year. This Apple Original Films/Paramount Pictures production is slated for wide release Oct. 20. Like most of Marty’s works, this promises to be dark and demanding with a three-and-a-half-hour running time. It also features a propulsive score by the late Robbie Robertson and supporting turns by Jesse Plemons and Brendan Fraser. Expect powerhouse acting and a compelling story line that shows the cynical underbelly of America as it pertains to indigenous people.

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