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BFI London Film Festival Director Kristy Matheson reveals top 6 must-watch movie picks for 2023

HELLO! spoke to the LFF Director on her favourite films for this year

Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal in ALL OF US STRANGERS
Emmy Griffiths
Emmy GriffithsTV & Film Editor
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BFI London Film Festival is right around the corner, and will see over 160 brand new films debut, from first-time directors to Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon. With so many movies coming to our cinemas, it is impossible to know where to start, so we sat down with the LFF Director, Kristy Matheson, who gave us her must-watch list. Here are the top movies to look out for, according to the expert…  

All of Us Strangers

And finally, if you love Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal, you’ll definitely like this one! Kristy explained: "All of Us Strangers… is wonderful. It’s quite a mysterious story, and one of those films that you don’t want to know too much about when you go in to watch it. 

WATCH: Paul Mescal stars in All of Us Strangers trailer

"It’s about a man who is examining his life; it’s a film about memory and ghosts, and it takes some very interesting highways and byways. I also love the idea that people are going to walk out of the cinema after seeing this film and then walk through the streets of the city they’ve just seen on screen. I think it will be a very special screening for everyone." 

The New Boy 

Kristy’s top choice is the Cate Blanchett movie, The New Boy. She explained: "I’m so proud that we have the new film by director Warwick Thornton, The New Boy, with Cate Blanchett giving a powerhouse performance. It’s set in the 1940s and Cate plays a nun looking after a monastery inhabited by young boys who are Indigenous and have been orphaned by the authorities. 

Awesome TV shows coming in Autumn 2023

Sex Education season 4, Netflix - 21 September 

Still Up, Apple TV+ - 22 September

Gen V, Amazon Prime Video - 29 September

Loki season 2, Disney+ - 6 October

Lessons in Chemistry, Apple TV+ - 13 October

The Fall of the House of Usher, Netflix - 12 October

All the Light We Cannot See, Netflix - 2 November

The Buccaneers, Apple TV+ - 8 November

"It’s a very interesting film about spiritual worlds colliding. Warwick is a wonderful cinematographer, so it’s an incredibly beautiful film, and Nick Cave and Warren Ellis have written the score. It’s a lush cinema experience, but it’s also telling a very important story." 

Cate Blanchett stars as a nun
Cate Blanchett stars as a nun

Bonus Track

Are you a fan of rom-coms? Then this is one for you! Kristy said: "[Bonus Track] is a gorgeous, really fun romcom. It stars Joe Anders, Samuel Small and Susan Wokoma and looks at how you find your place in the world and find someone who gets you." 

Bonus Track will show at LFF© James Loxely
Bonus Track will show at LFF


We smell Oscar buzz with this one! Starring Jodie Foster and Annette Bening, and from the creators of Free Solo,  this sounds seriously gripping. "It’s a really thrilling film [following a woman named Dianne Nyad, played by Annette Bening, who returns to open-water swimming in her 60s to take on the challenge of a record- breaking swim from Cuba to Florida]," Kristy said. "It’s from the people who made an Oscar-winning documentary called Free Solo and it keeps you on the edge of your seat. It’s a great human story and again, it’s a really gripping watch in the cinema." 

Annette Bening as Diana Nyad in NYAD© Liz Parkinson/Netflix
Annette Bening as Diana Nyad in NYAD

Restless Dreams  

For a documentary, Kristy suggested a Paul Simon special. "For fans of documentaries, I recommend In Restless Dreams, which looks at the musician Paul Simon," she said. "It’s a portrait of him as an artist and it’s a wonderful document of a terrific career." 

The film will look at the music of Paul Simons
The film will look at the music of Paul Simons


"My foreign film pick is Tótem, a beautiful Mexican movie [about a young girl living with her ill father, with all the action set in their home]. This very unusual story asks: “How do you navigate grief and how do you navigate life?” All the performances are terrific. After watching it, I left the cinema feeling very emotional but so excited, too." 

Totem is a Mexican movie
Totem is a Mexican movie