Cannes Film Festival Reviews 2023: ‘Indiana Jones 5, ‘Strange Way of Life’ and More

The 2023 Cannes Film Festival is jam-packed with buzzy world premieres, from Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” to Wes Anderson’s “Asteroid City.” Todd Haynes is also back to unveil “May December,” featuring the A-list pairing of Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore, while Disney is bringing Harrison Ford to the Croisette for “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.” New films from Pedro Almodovar, Jessica Hautner, Jonathan Glazer, Catherine Corsini, Hirokazu Kore-eda and more are also set to make their debuts at Cannes this year.

Cannes is often seen as a launching pad for Oscar season. Warner Bros. in 2022 kicked off its lengthy awards run for Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis” on the French Riviera, with the film going on to land eight Academy Award nominations, including best picture. Palme d’Or winner “Triangle of Sadness” also picked up Oscar nods for best picture, director and original screenplay. Two international film nominees, “Close” and “EO,” launched at last year’s festival, while “Aftersun” best actor nominee Paul Mescal got his awards start in the Directors Fortnight sidebar. All of this is to say the industry will be closely watching the buzz on all of this year’s world premieres.

See all of Variety’s review from the 2023 Cannes Film Festival below. The roundup will be updated daily to include the most recent batch of reviews. Reviews presented in alphabetical order following the opening night selection.

Jeanne du Barry

Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

Section: Opening Night Film/Out of Competition

Director: Maïwenn

Cast: Maïwenn, Johnny Depp, Benjamin Lavernhe, Pierre Richard, Melvil Poupaud, Pascal Greggory,

Variety’s Review: French actor-director Maïwenn can relate, casting herself as the courtesan-turned-comtesse in “Jeanne du Barry,” a sensitive and surprisingly low-key portrait of the French monarch’s last mistress. That Maïwenn saw fit to engage tabloid-embattled Johnny Depp as ‘her king’ is just one of the many hurdles she set for herself — but then, no one embarks on such a project with the intention of pleasing her critics. – Peter Debruge


Courtesy of Road Movies/Photograph by Wim Wenders

Section: Special Screenings

Director: Wim Wenders

Variety’s Review: Not enough directors have capitalized on the ability of 3D to convey a sense of physical depth; fewer still have seized on the possibility of adding philosophical depth. Thank goodness, then, for Wim Wenders. The first of two new films by the German veteran in this year’s Cannes official selection, “Anselm” is a tour de force 3D 6K portrait of the artist Anselm Kiefer, both rich in ideas and breathtaking in technical execution. – Catherine Bray

The Goldman Case

Courtesy of Moonshaker

Section: Director’s Fortnight

Director: Cédric Kahn

Cast: Arieh Worthalter, Arthur Harari, Stéphan Guérin-Tillié, Nicolas Briançon, Aurélien Chaussade

Variety’s Review: In “The Goldman Case,” Cédric Kahn’s formally restrained but ultimately electrifying dramatization of a trial that gripped and divided France in 1976, that canny inconsistency is but one unexpected fold in a courtroom drama that finds equal intrigue in legal order and human chaos. – Guy Lodge


Courtesy of @emmyloumai

Section: Competition

Director: Catherine Corsini

Cast: Suzy Bemba, Esther Gohourou, Aïssatou Diallo Sagna, Lomane de Dietrich

Variety’s Review: For all the secrets and lies that shape the narrative of Catherine Corsini’s straightforwardly told but consistently intriguing new film, its most interesting tensions often emerge from things its characters already know, even if they haven’t acknowledged them out loud. – Guy Lodge

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny


Section: Out of Competition

Director: James Mangold

Cast: Harrison Ford, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Antonio Banderas, John Rhys-Davies, Toby Jones, Boyd Holbrook, Mads Mikkelsen

Variety’s Review: “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” is a dutifully eager but ultimately rather joyless piece of nostalgic hokum. It’s the fifth installment of the “Indiana Jones” franchise, and though it has its quota of “relentless” action, it rarely tries to match (let alone top) the ingeniously staged kinetic bravura of “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” – Owen Gleiberman


Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

Section: Competition

Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda

Cast: Mugino Saori, Hori Michitoshi, Mugino Minato, Hoshikawa Yori, Fushimi Makiko.

Variety’s Review: A tricksy timeline and the selective unveiling of crucial information keeps audiences from guessing where this convoluted portrait of a pre-teen in turmoil might be headed. – Peter Debruge

The Nature of Love

Fred Gervais

Section: Un Certain Regard

Director: Monia Chokri

Cast: Magalie Lépine-Blondeau, Pierre-Yves Cardinal, Francis-William Rhéaume

Variety’s Review: A sexy, funny treat, Chokri’s third feature communicates some home truths about desire and familiarity, but not at the expense of comedy…The film is impeccably cast. As Sophia, Magalie Lépine Blondeau is wonderful, gifted with great comic timing and a particular knack for telegraphing that sense of someone who knows they’re making a huge mistake, but are compelled to go ahead and make it anyway. – Catherine Bray

Occupied City

Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

Section: Special Screenings

Director: Steve McQueen

Variety’s Review: When it was announced that McQueen would be directing his first documentary feature, and that it would tackle the subject of the Holocaust, dealing with the victims of the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam (the city where McQueen now lives), my anticipation took the form of thinking: How, with a director of McQueen’s skill and imagination and gravity, could this be less than fascinating? But “Occupied City,” it’s my sad duty to report, is a good deal less than fascinating. I’ll be blunt: The film is a trial to sit through, and you feel that from almost the opening moments. – Owen Gleiberman

Strange Way of Life

Strange Way of Life
Credit: El Deseo

Section: Special Screenings

Director: Pedro Almodóvar

Cast: Ethan Hawke, Pedro Pascal, Pedro Casablanc, Manu Ríos

Variety’s Review: Commissioned by Saint Laurent Productions (which is also premiering a Jean-Luc Godard short at Cannes), this half-baked half-hour serves as a sexy showcase for creative director Anthony Vaccarello’s latest designs, while barely delivering on the promise that an Almodóvar-made “gay cowboy” movie conjures in the imagination. – Peter Debruge

The Sweet East

Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

Section: Directors’ Fortnight

Director: Sean Price Williams.

Cast: Talia Ryder, Simon Rex, Earl Cave, Jacob Elordi, Jeremy O Harris, Ayo Edebiri

Variety’s Review: Festival reviews just love to hype a breakout performance, to the extent that one worries about becoming the little critic that cried breakout. But here goes: Talia Ryder, lead actor in “The Sweet East,” is a star. There’s something of Kristen Stewart about her, not merely in terms of physical resemblance, but more in her gift for not just acting but reacting. – Catherine Bray

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