The year 2023 is wrapping up and so are the movies that will be considered for the 2024 Academy Awards. Catch up on the best films of the year through Netflix and Max streaming, or rent a couple on Apple TV+ (the movies on this list are worth the extra rental fee). From biographical dramas to dark comedies, these are the five best new movies to stream right now.
May December (Netflix)
Based on a true story, this dark comedy from director Todd Haynes (Carol, Far from Heaven) follows Elizabeth Berry (played by Natalie Portman), a TV actress who comes to stay with Gracie (Julianne Moore) and Joe (Charles Melton) — a married couple who began their affair when she was 36 years old, and he was in middle school. It’s been twenty years since Gracie went to prison (pregnant with Joe’s first child) when Elizabeth arrives to research a role for a new movie where she will be playing the mom who left her husband and several children for 13-year-old Joe.
A highly anticipated new biographical drama, Maestro tells the story of American conductor-composer Leonard Bernstein (played by Bradley Cooper) and his lifelong relationship with actress Felicia Montealegre Cohn Bernstein (Carey Mulligan). Cooper’s directorial follow up to A Star is Born, the film focuses on the couple’s first meeting and the complicated love story that follows — including the composer’s famous infidelity. The movie also stars Matt Bomer, Maya Hawke, and Sarah Silverman.
Most of us have seen Barbie by now, but if you haven’t, now is your chance. Greta Gerwig’s film interpretation of the iconic American doll, played by Margot Robbie, is funny, heartwarming, and makes you think. When Barbie experiences an existential crisis in Barbie Land, she begins a journey of self-discovery and heads to the real world, where she begins to discover what it means to be human. The set design is killer and Ryan Gosling’s performance as Ken is a revelation.
Past Lives (Rent on Apple TV+)
One of our favorite movies of the year is now available to rent on streaming platforms. The drama film directed by Celine Song stars Greta Lee (The Morning Show) as Nora, a 30-something married woman who immigrated with her family to America from South Korea when she was a child. The story begins with Nora and her family getting ready to leave for the U.S. while her romantic relationship with fellow schoolmate, Hae Sung (played by Teo Yoo) is just beginning. The two later reconnect online when Nora is in grad school, but neither can seem to make the trip to visit the other. Years later, Hae Sung finally visits a now-married Nora in New York and the two are finally able to confront the love they had (and may still have) for each other.
The Holdovers (Rent on Apple TV+)
Another new film worth the price to rent, director Alexander Payne’s latest project stars Paul Giamatti as a jaded teacher at a New England boy’s boarding school in 1970. After finding out that he must babysit several students who have nowhere to go over Christmas break, chaos ensues. But soon he forms an unexpected bond with one of his students, Angus (played by Dominic Sessa), along with the school’s head cook, Mary — who recently lost her son to the Vietnam War. Similar to Payne’s Sideways, the story is told with so much care, humor, and the sentimentality of what it means to be a person.