COPY’s Favorites of 2023: Film + TV

Past Lives takes the lead in a landmark year for hopeless romantics. 

By the COpy team



Past Lives (dir. Celine Song)

Made me weep in the theater. It’s gentle, but it drove a knife into my heart. 

Live Your Truth! With Gilli Schilling (dir. Ben Gauthier; written by Natalie Rotter-Laitman and Ben Gauthier)

Natalie Rotter-Laitman might be this generation’s Lisa Kudrow—she’s got the false sincerity and awkward politeness, the facial expressions, the head tilts, and the way of making every sentence funny. In this quasi-mockumentary, she plays an “award-winning author and mental health storyteller” hosting a podcast where she gives advice and talks about topics like boundaries and trauma. It’s full of therapy-speak, characters with names like Nicky Pellegrino, and quotes from Nicole Scherzinger. It features so many incredible comedians and zero helpful psychological information. I love it.

Live Your Truth! With Gilli Schilling


Killers of the Flower Moon (dir. Martin Scorsese)

Lily Gladstone is beyond phenomenal in this film. There is a visceral and sensitive humanity to her performance that grounds a vast story of American evil. It’s not a “love story” at all if you ask me; the real love here exists between Mollie (Gladstone) and the women of her family. After over three hours of propulsive action, Scorsese sticks the landing with a sinister wink at his audience—the blood is on our hands.

P.S. I loved this profile of renowned set designer Jack Fisk, and the GQ profile of Martin Scorsese made me emotional. I felt lucky to see his work in theaters. 

Killers of the Flower Moon


Past Lives (dir. Celine Song)

I put off watching this movie all year because I knew it would break me. But then I met a girl who was the definition of right person, wrong time, which is the entire conceit of the film. We were both well aware of the impossibility of us, but we kept crashing back together anyway. When I told her I was thinking about watching Past Lives, she said, “ah yes. I cried,” and then asked me to let her know what I thought. We were so right and our circumstances so wrong that she couldn’t face it: the text conversation we had after I watched the film was the last conversation we ever had. I never heard from her again. Ghosting me after a convo about Past Lives (2023) dir. Celine Song? Really? It’s a little too on the nose. But in terms of the actual movie, I’ll let her speak for me:

it gave me a feeling of peace strangely

that they were lovers in a past life 

it’s so simple but it really feels like something to hold onto that actually accounts for the enormity of this relationship that never was [...] it doesn’t make it Not Sad but it makes it feel less empty. like there is no waste in the universe


Past Lives (dir. Celine Song)


Passages (dir. Ira Sachs)

I want to be Adèle Exarchopoulos, full stop.

The film reminded me of Hayley Williams screaming in the last minute of “All I Wanted” by Paramore—so much want, so much constraint, so much unfulfilled desire. I loved the idea of “passages” or transgressions, the liminality of sexuality that was conveyed in the fluid sexual interests of the immature protagonist. I’m happy I saw it alone at 11pm on a Saturday, under the warmth of subtle alcoholic influence—it was gorgeous!



Theater Camp (dir. Molly Gordon and Nick Lieberman)

A quaint and contained underdog story with musical numbers featuring indie darlings Molly Gordon and Ayo Edebiri. I saw it on a Sunday afternoon alone, but I wish I waited to see it with my one other former-theater-camp-teacher friend. It would have been nice to have someone to exchange a knowing leg slap with when the characters said things like “I do believe her as a French prostitute” while a 10-year-old sings a Les Misérables song. Sorry I’m impatient, Jenna.

Theater Camp

SWIM! (dir. Isabel Santos)

SWIM! is still making its festival rounds, but I was able to catch it at Los Angeles’s favorite monthly short film screening event, Silver Lake Shorts, back in October. This experimental film uses the medium of animation with hand-drawn characters on grid paper to visualize the awkwardness of puberty in its most honest and distorted form. It’s funny, clever, and moving, and it looks like nothing I’ve seen before!!

Coco McCracken

“Fishes,” The Bear (dir. Christopher Storer; written by Joanna Calo, Christopher Storer, and Sofya Leviskty-Weitz)

It felt like anyone who’s ever done the dishes once had at least some level of PTSD watching The Bear, and I’m no exception. My unhealthy relationship with this show was also compounded by my possessive nature to claim Matty Matheson (Fak) as “mine,” since I lived and bartended in Toronto’s West End when he was the executive chef of Queen West’s Parts & Labour over a decade ago. On opening night, their bar downstairs gave girls free beers if we’d shotgun them. If I were to choose a metaphor for The Bear’s episode “Fishes,” stabbing a pocket knife into a cold can of beer and letting it explode into your mouth would be pretty apt. Jamie Lee Curtis played my mom—er, Carmy’s mom—to perfection.

The Bear

The Summer I Turned Pretty Season Two (created by Jenny Han)

Sometimes I watch shows/films about high school to feel young again (which, FYI, is a surefire way to feel that much older). But when TSITP first came out in 2022, I was also thrilled beyond measure to see an Asian girl in a leading role. Fast-forward to Season Two’s release in 2023, and I was officially down the rabbit hole. I was following all the actors on Instagram and figuring out how to copy author Jenny Han's career. Cities apart, my sister and I would watch the episodes at the same time, texting at each of her Team Conrad or my Team Jeremiah wins. At every soapy turn, this show succeeded in making me feel all those high-school feels again, except this time, I didn’t have to feel shitty that I didn’t look like the girl next door. However, TSITP hasn’t made me a Swiftie yet, so the buck stops there.

The Summer I Turned Pretty

Women Talking (dir. Sarah Polley; screenplay by Sarah Polley and Miriam Toews)

Because I was raised (lol, sorry, still live in) a patriarchal society, I found myself protecting this film before I even saw it, saying things like: “I know, terrible title to attract all people*,” and “hopefully others** talk in it too.”  And then, when I did see it, I was floored, gobsmacked, gut-punched, filled with adoration for screenwriting again. This was one of my favorite movies of the entire year. And yet, I still found myself saying condescending shit like, “It’s actually phenomenal,” and, “Surprisingly, it’s funny.” The latter I am most ashamed of telling my cis male friends, as if certain people*** need humor to watch “yet another movie about women trying to prove they’ve been assaulted.” We must beware of the collective groan getting louder. This movie is fabulous, and everyone**** should watch it immediately.






The Beast (dir. Bertrand Bonello) and Past Lives (dir. Celine Song)

2023 was the year for hopeless romantics who want a movie to rip their hearts into a million pieces. Both of my favorite films this year explore destiny, specifically romances that never had the space to bloom. The Beast's sci-fi elements allow it to go beyond one lifetime of yearning, examining two ill-fated lovers who find each other in multiple incarnations. Every time they meet, there is an undeniable spark, but the conditions are just never right for them to be together. Past Lives takes a more realistic approach to love and fate, dissecting the what-if’s of Nora's life as a writer in New York. While The Beast and Past Lives left me in tears, they shared a similar strand of optimism—that maybe the heartache and anguish of this life will work themselves out in our next.

The Beast


Past Lives (dir. Celine Song)

Favorite of the year.

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret (dir. Kelly Fremon Craig)

13-year-old me felt seen.

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret

The Red Shoes (dir. Emeric Pressburger and Michael Powell, 1948)

Haven’t stopped thinking about this one. I think the “Fall of Rachel Ziegler/Meg March supremacy/Sometimes we just want love/Women have dreams that aren’t just about being a man” conversation is beautifully explored in this film. Both of and before its time.

Catherine Spino

Priscilla (dir. Sofia Coppola)

Played hooky to see it before it was officially released and held my own hand the entire time. The scene where the instrumental of “Country” by Porches played made me cry. I was stunned when I left the theater; I saw it three more times after that. Oh, to be a woman and be seen by Sofia Coppola.



Past Lives (dir. Celine Song)

Everything I want in a movie. Devastatingly real and raw, and full of painful intimacy in the in-between moments rather than sweeping gestures.

Bottoms (dir. Emma Seligman)

Made me laugh out loud many MANY times in the theater. Gay, dumb, and hilarious. I often take things too seriously, and this movie reminded me that not everything has to be that deep.



I’m a Virgo (dir. Boots Riley)

The definition of a Boots Riley original, this series is an otherworldly wake-up call that is sprinkled with astrology inside jokes. I started watching it for Mike Epps and ended up staying for the fall of The Hero.  If you like weird sh*t, this is for you.

I’m a Virgo


“Rush” (dir. Gordon von Steiner)

Troye Sivan’s music video for this single off Something to Give Each Other was fucking hot. Culturally, we need more sex in the mainstream. This music video also accompanied the pregame my friends and I had for Halloween weekend. Thank you Troye and Gordon.