NYFF Preview

Photos: Courtesy of New York Film Festival

The 61st New York Film Festival is taking over Lincoln Center in New York City for the next two weeks, with an all-star line-up of films. Who’s ready to watch some movies?

This year’s festival runs from September 29 to October 15 and features new films from big-name directors like Sofia Coppola, Yorgos Lanthimos, Richard Linklater, and Hayao Miyazaki. There are also plenty of films from promising newcomers, including debuts from directors like Raven Jackson and Annie Baker.

Even if you didn’t buy a pass to the festival, you can still buy individual tickets to the public screenings of the movies. (Or, if they are sold out, you can try your luck in the stand-by line.) There are over 30 films in the festival’s main slate alone. Sadly, most of us have jobs and lives that don’t involve spending 10 hours a day watching movies, which means choices need to be made.

That’s where Decider comes in to help. Scroll down for a list of 13 films we’re most excited about at the 2023 New York Film Festival.

  1. May December. (L to R) Natalie Portman as Elizabeth Berry and Julianne Moore as Gracie Atherton-Yoo in May December
    Photo: Francois Duhamel / courtesy of Netflix

    Director: Todd Haynes
     Natalie Portman, Julianne Moore, Charles Melton
    Showtimes: Friday, September 29 at 6 pm, 6:15 pm, 6:30 pm, 6:45 pm, 9 pm, 9:15 pm, 9:30 pm, 9:45 pm; Saturday, October 7 at 6 pm; Saturday, October 14 at 6:15 pm.
    Why we’re hyped: Todd Haynes, an openly gay filmmaker, has already cemented his place in the queer cinema Hall of Fame with 2015’s Carol. May December, therefore, has a lot to live up to. Natalie Portman stars as an actress who goes to stay with a woman (Julianne Moore), whom Portman’s character is set to play in the film. I can already feel the gay longing from here.

  2. Emma Stone and Mark Ruffalo in POOR THINGS
    Photo: Atsushi Nishijima

    Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
    Cast: Emma Stone, Mark Ruffalo, Willem Dafoe, Ramy Youssef and Jerrod Carmichael Showtimes: Saturday, September 30 at 5 pm; Sunday, October 1 at 8:45 pm; Thursday, October 12 at 2:45 pm; Sunday, October 15 at 5:45 pm.
    Why We’re Hyped: If you loved The Favourite, get ready for Poor Things. Director Yorgos Lanthimos is reuniting with The Favourite co-writer Tony McNamara and star Emma Stone for what promises to be a uniquely bizarre and surreal Victorian love story. Stone stars as a formerly dead women resurrected by a mad scientist, who absconds with a sleazy lawyer (Mark Ruffalo) to see the world. How can you not want to watch that?

  3. Still from the movie Foe
    Photo: Amazon Studios

    Director: Garth Davis
    Saoirse Ronan, Paul Mescal and Aaron Pierre
    Why we’re hyped: The fest of Paul Mescal continues with this sci-fi thriller adapted from award-winning novelist Iain Reid (I’m Thinking of Ending Things). Co-written by Reid and director Garth Davis (Lion), the film follows a married couple whose lives are torn apart when a stranger arrives and informs the husband (Mescal) he must go to space and leave his wife (Oscar-nominated Saoirse Ronan) in the company of a robot. Two Irish national treasures on screen together? You just know this is going to be good.

  4. Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal in ALL OF US STRANGERS.
    Photo: Parisa Taghizadeh

    Director: Andrew Haigh
    Cast: Andrew Scott, Paul Mescal, Claire Foy, and Jamie Bell
    Sunday, October 1 at 6 pm; Monday, October 2 at 8:30 pm; Sunday October 8 at 9 pm; Sunday, October 14 at 9 pm.
    Why we’re hyped: 
    NYFF is the fest of Paul Mescal, starting with this upcoming sci-fi fantasy romance, loosely based on the 1987 novel of the same name. Andrew Scott stars as a screenwriter who falls into a romantic relationship with his hot neighbor (Mescal), and then returns to his childhood home. There, he discovers his long-dead parents are equally hot, young, thriving, and alive. We can safely say that this one will be a win for the gays.

  5. The Boy and the Heron
    Photo: Studio Ghibli

    Director: Hayao Miyazaki
    Cast: Soma Santoki, Masaki Suda, Aimyon
    Showtimes: Sunday, October 1 at 12:45pm; Monday, October 2 at 5:30pm; Thursday, October 12 at 12:00pm; Saturday, October 14 at 12:00pm
    Why we’re hyped: Who isn’t excited for the U.S. Premiere of Hayao Miyazaki first film in over a decade? The Boy and the Heron is set during WWII and follows a grieving teenager who moves to a rural town in Tokyo with his stepmother. Much like Miyazaki’s other works, which includes My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away, the movie explores a fantastical world with a talking heron and other oddities. Miyazaki always has plenty to say, and we’re sure this one will be no different.

  6. Bradley Cooper in 'Maestro'
    Photo: Netflix

    Director: Bradley Cooper
    Cast: Bradley Cooper, Carey Mulligan, Jeremy Strong, Matt Bomer, Maya Hawke, and Sarah Silverman
    Why we’re hyped: It’s unfortunate that Bradley Cooper made the controversial choice to wear a large prosthetic nose to play Jewish composer Leonard Bernstein in this upcoming biopic. That’s a big yikes. Still, Cooper proved he could direct with A Star Is Born, and now he’s taking on the directing (and acting) challenge of portraying the life of the famed West Side Story composer. Bernstein definitely deserves to have his story told. At the very least, we’ll hear some good music!

  7. Glenn Powell in a still from Hit Man
    Photo: Courtesy of New York Film Festival

    Director: Richard Linklater
    Cast: Glen Powell, Adria Arjona
    Why we’re hyped: Richard Linklater—the man behind patient, delicate drama masterpieces like the Before trilogy and Boyhood—is taking on a new genre with this action comedy. Based on a true story, Glen Powell stars as a college professor/techie who gets swept up in an undercover police operation that spiral out of control. Linklater’s dry, quirky humor mixed with an action crime thriller plot sounds like a recipe for intrigue.

  8. Cailee Spaeny as Priscilla Presley in Priscilla movie
    Photo: Sabrina Lantos

    Director: Sofia Coppola
    Cailee Spaeny and Jacob Elordi
    Showtimes: Friday, October 6 at 6 pm, 6:15 pm, 6:30 pm, 6:45 pm, 9 pm, 9:15 pm, 9:30 pm, 9:45 pm; Sunday, October 8 at 6 pm; Sunday, October 15 at 12 pm.
    Why we’re hyped: After the chaotic mess that was last year’s Elvis biopic, we’re hoping that director Sofia Coppola comes through with a more grounded take for A24, based on Priscilla Presley’s 1985 memoir, Elvis and Me. Jacob Elordi of The Kissing Booth fame plays Elvis, while Cailee Spaeny stars as his eponymous wife. Coppola knows how to handle messy women—Marie Antoinette, The Bling Ring—so we have faith she’ll get it right.

  9. a still from the movie Janet Planet
    Photo: Katie Skelly

    Director: Annie Baker
    Cast: Julianne Nicholson, Zoe Ziegler, Elias Koteas, Sophie Okonedo, and Will Patton.
    Why we’re hyped: A new A24 coming-of-age movie set in the ’90s? Yes, please! Zoe Ziegler stars as a young tween spending her summer before 6th grade hanging out with her mom, Janet (Julianne Nicholson), a tough-as-nails acupuncturist who lives in the woods. This is the debut film from Pulitzer Prize­–winning playwright Annie Baker, and we have a feeling that Baker is about to take the film world by storm.

  10. All-Dirt-Roads-Taste-of-Salt
    Photo: A24

    Director: Raven Jackson
    Cast: Charleen McClure, Moses Ingram, Reginald Helms Jr.
    Why we’re hyped: Produced by Barry Jenkins, All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt is an emotional drama that explores the life of a Black woman in Mississippi. The movie is Raven Jackson’s directorial debut and promises stunning visuals and nostalgia for life’s formative moments. With Jenkins’ sensational track record including MoonlightIf Beale Street Could Talk, and Aftersun, this movie is bound to tug on our heartstrings, while also offering a rewarding escape into another person’s story.

  11. Emma Stone and Nathan Fielder in 'The Curse'
    Photo: A24/Paramount+ with SHOWTIME

    Director: Nathan Fielder, David Zellner, Nathan Zellner
    Cast: Nathan Fielder, Emma Stone, Benny Safdie
    Why we’re hyped: Nathan Fielder and Benny Safdie are already a match made in heaven, but add Emma Stone to the mix and you’ve got yourself a guaranteed hit! Created and written by Fielder and Safdie, The Curse follows a couple who allegedly becomes cursed while hosting their HGTV show Flipanthropy. The Showtime series teases nonsensical comedy – “Did you know you can put out fires with the sun?” – and a sharp take on real estate reality television. In the current age of House HuntersProperty Brothers, and Selling Sunset, I’m already sold. Rip ‘em to shreds, Fielder!

  12. FERRARI, Adam Driver (left) as Enzo Ferrari, 2023
    Photo: Courtesy Everett Collection

    Director: Michael Mann
    Adam Driver, Penélope Cruz, Shailene Woodley
    Showtimes: Friday, October 13 at 6 pm, 6:15 pm, 6:30 pm, 6:45 pm, 9 pm, 9:15 pm, 9:30 pm, 9:45 pm; Sunday, October 15 at 2:45 pm.
    Why we’re hyped: Director Michael Mann has reportedly been trying to make a biopic about Enzo Ferrari, the founder of the Italian car manufacturer, for over 20 years. Originally, Christian Bale was attached, it’s been in development hell for at least a decade. So the pressure is on for this drama to be worth the trouble. If nothing else, though, Adam Driver needs a chance to redeem himself for his portrayal of another famous Italian in House of Gucci.

  13. 'The Killer'
    Photo: Everett Collection

    Director: David Fincher
    Cast: Michael Fassbender, Charles Parnell, Arliss Howard, Sophie Charlotte and Tilda Swinton
    Why we’re hyped: David Fincher is back again with another Netflix drama. The Killer is based on the French graphic novel series of the same name by Alexis Nolent, and stars Michael Fassbender as an expert assassin who is losing his touch. But perhaps most exciting is the fact that Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross will be doing the soundtrack, continuing one of the greatest composer/director partnerships of modern cinema history.