The Best New British Films To Watch Now (& Look Forward To In 2023)
Sit back, relax, and put these new British classics on
Are we back in a golden era of British films? With the likes of The Favourite, Ex Machina and Dunkirk all released in recent years, it certainly seems like it. But where to start? C&TH cuts through the noise with our selection of the best new British films released in 2022, and those to look forward to in 2023.
What To Watch Now: 2022’s Best New British Films
The Banshees of Inisherin
Starring Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson and Barry Keoghan, this Irish black tragicomedy transports viewers to the fictional Irish isle of Inisherin, where Farrell and Gleeson play two lifelong friends who face turmoil when one abruptly ends their relationship. Currently holding nine Oscar nominations – including Best Picture and Best Actor for Farrell, to be realised in March 2023 – the film debuted at the 79th Venice International Film Festival to immediate critical acclaim.
Where to watch: The Banshees of Inisherin is streaming now on Disney+.
Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical
Inspired by the West End show via Roald Dahl’s classic childhood tale of a mistreated schoolgirl with strange powers, Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical arrived in British cinemas at the start of December in 2022 to immediate popularity and acclaim. Starring Alisha Weir as the titular Matilda Wormwood, Emma Thompson as the infamous Trunchbull, Lashana Lynch as loveable Miss Honey and Boiling Point’s Stephen Graham as Mr Wormwood, it’s an all-singing, all-dancing, star-studded affair.
Where to watch: Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical will stream on Netflix UK from summer 2023. Buy and stream via Prime Video from 8 February.
Lady Chatterley’s Lover
D. H. Lawrence’s famously steamy novel got the Netflix treatment in 2022, starring Emma Corrin and Jack O’Connell. Set across the expansive (fiction) Chatterley estate, the film follows Conni (the titular Lady Chatterley) who embarks on an affair at the instruction of her paralysed husband in order to have a child.
Where to watch: Lady Chatterley’s Lover is streaming now on Netflix.
Directed by Oliver Hermanus from a screenplay written by Nobel Prize winner Kazuo Ishiguro, inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s 1952 Japanese film, Ikiru. Bill Nighy plays Rodney Williams, a senior London County Council bureaucrat in 1953 London, who has just received a terminal cancer diagnosis. Nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at the 2023 Oscars, Nighy is up for his first Academy Award, for Best Actor.
Where to watch: Living is currently not streaming online, but it set to be released for renting online from 6 March 2023.
Also earning Paul Mescal his first Oscar nomination – in the same category as Nighy, no less – Aftersun was produced by BBC Film and the BFI. Written and directed by Charlotte Wells, her first feature film, Aftersun transports us to an early 2000s Turkish resort, where 11-year-old Sophie (Frankie Corio) is on holiday with her father, Calum (Paul Mescal).
Where to watch: Aftersun is currently streaming on Mubi via Prime Video.
Death on the Nile
Kenneth Branagh’s sequel to his previous Agatha Christie flick, Murder on the Orient Express (2017), Death on the Nile stars an ensemble British-American cast, including Branagh, Tom Bateman, Russell Brand, Ali Fazal, Dawn French, Rose Leslie and Emma Mackey (among many more famous faces). The flick brings Poirot back to the silver screen, where his Egyptian vacation turns into a murder hunt. Make sure you watch before 2023’s follow-up, A Haunting in Venice, arrives in cinemas in September.
Where to watch: Death on the Nile is streaming now on Disney+.
See How They Run
Currently nominated for the BAFTA Award for Outstanding British Film (to be realised on 19 February 2023), See How They Run transports viewers to 1950s London, where plans for a movie version of Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap West End show are halted when a member of the crew is murdered. Starring Saoirse Ronan and Sam Rockwell, this new British film draws on the old but remains a fresh, glamorous whodunit in classic British style.
Where to watch: See How They Run is now streaming on Disney+.
Empire of Light
Released in UK cinemas on 9 January 2023, this romantic drama is situated in Margate on the Kent coast in 1980, starring Olivia Coleman as Hilary, a cinema manager, opposite Michael Ward as Stephen, a new starter at the cinema.
Where to watch: Empire of Light is still in cinemas, and will later be streaming on Disney+.
What To Look Forward To: 2023’s Best New British Films
What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Set between London and Lahore, What’s Love Got To Do With It? Is produced by British film studio Working Title Films, starring Lily James, Shazad Latif, Shabana Azmi and Emma Thompson, James plays a filmmaker documenting her childhood friend and neighbour’s arranged marriage to a bride from Pakistan.
When? In cinemas 24 February 2023
A Haunting in Venice
A sequel to Murder on the Orient Express (2017) and Death on the Nile (2022), A Haunting in Venice will be based on Agatha Christie’s 1969 novel Hallowe’en Party. Directed by Kenneth Branagh – who also plays the lead – the film will follow Poirot who, now retired, must solve the mysterious murder of a guest at a séance he attended.
When? In cinemas 15 September 2023
A Take That jukebox musical (famous past examples include ABBA jukebox musical, Mamma Mia!) will arrive in cinemas this summer, hot on the heels of the stage musical, which is scheduled to tour the UK from May. Comedian Aisling Bee will star in the lead role, with a fictional Take That band made up of Aaron Bryan, Dalvin Cory, Joshua Jung, Mark Samaras and Mervin Noronha.
When? Release date TBC – estimated summer 2023
With filming wrapped in December 2022, this World War II biopic is expected to be released in 2023, with Kate Winslet in the titular lead role. The film will follow Lee Miller, a real New York City glamour model who became a photojournalist and Vogue’s war correspondent during WWII, chronicling events such as the London Blitz, the liberation of Paris and concentration camps. Andy Samberg, Marion Cotillard and Josh O’Connor will also star.
When? Release date TBC
Featured image: (L-R) Paul Mescal as Calum and Frankie Corio as Sophie in Aftersun. A24 © 2022.
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