Best Tamil Movies of 2023 - MovieCrow Annual Ranking

PUBLISHED DATE : 25/Dec/2023

Best Tamil Movies of 2023 - MovieCrow Annual Ranking

MovieCrow Annual Ranking - Best Tamil Movies of 2023

2023 was a year of some really good movies for Tamil cinema. Solid content aside, the following list of films were also ranked highly by critics and the audience. The top 14 list of Kollywood movies for the year 2023, in order of their MovieCrow aggregate: 

1. Por Thozil:  A film that no one saw coming this year, Por Thozhil written by Alfred Prakash, Vignesh Raja and directed by Vignesh Raja is a whodunit thriller that worked wonders both critically and commercially. True to it genre, Por Thozhil had no songs or other deviations, and did an extremely good job of maintaining the suspense intact till the last minute. The unique selling point (USP) about Por Thozhil, which also seems to have worked big time for the movie are its villains; despite the characters being aged and not physically threatening, their mere screen presence sent chills down the viewers' spine. Ashok Selvan and Sarath Kumar as conflicting lead stars served as backbones.  


2. Viduthalai: Part 1: This film is a heart-wrenching period crime thriller based on B. Jeyamohan's Thunaivan, and in turn police brutality. Directed by Vetrimaaran, Viduthalai: Part 1 is one of the few films this year that earned the praise of critics in all departments - plot, narration, performances, background score, cinematography, et all. Comedy actor Soori made his debut as a lead with this film, and Vetrimaaran as a filmmaker stood out once again by making his viewers completely forget of the Soori the Tamil audience is used to. The opening train sequence and voice over by Vetrimaaran served as cherry on top of this gritty tale. 

3. Chithha: SU Arunkumar directed Chithha produced by and starring actor Siddharth is a compelling and haunting film on child abuse. Despite the film's title (which means paternal uncle), the movie focusses on not just a bonding between a niece and her father's younger brother, but also between two friends, family members and romantic partners. Chittha may not be unexplored territory for Tamil cinema, but the presentation surely was new and very relevant.


4. Jigarthanda DoubleX: Highlighting the plight of tribal people, and how governments and those in authority take undue advantage of this populace, was a big theme in Tamil cinema this year. If Viduthalai: Part 1 was a serious tale on the same, Karthik Subbaraj's Jigarthanda DoubleX highlighted this with a lot of light-hearted moments. The movie remained glorious regardless, and Karthik Subbaraj's surprise after surprise, leaving whole lots to unpack, is what made Jigarthanda DoubleX a 2023 favourite. 

5. Ponnyin Selvan: II: Despite being based on the celebrated writing by Amarar Kalki, the Ponniyin Selvan movies stand testament to the pedigree of one of Tamil cinema's finest directors - Mani Ratnam. The ace filmmaker took on a huge responsibility with these films, and Ponniyin Selvan: II reinforces that he has done his best justice to the epic Tamil novel.  The web of conspiracies, mysteries, political turmoil, et all, was presented in the most tasteful manner in PS-2, ensuring a full cinematic experience this year. 

6. Maaveeran: If Hero saw Sivakarthikeyan, fighting the system in the guise of a super-hero, Maaveeran showcased the actor taking on the powerful once again, but with actual super-hero qualities  this time.  The fantasy action comedy written by Madonne Ashwin, Chandru A, directed by Madonne Ashwin was the full package, earning applause from both the critics and audience this year. 

7. Dada: Written and directed by debutant Ganesh K Babu, Dada is loosely based on true life events of the filmmaker's friend. The 135-minute film starring Kavin, Aparna Das touched on the topic of parenthood being gender-neutral, and struck a chord with the MZ generation of the Tamil audience. 



8. Jailer: It had been a hot minute since Rajinikanth delivered a hit to the liking of his audience, and this Nelson Dilipkumar directed film of 2023 put an end to this yearning. Despite varying complaints from critics, Jailer served to the taste of regional Tamil audience, and fans were more than delighted to see their favourite 72 year old [Rajinikanth has turned 73 since] in slick action avatar. 


9. Leo: With several Hollywood inspired themes, Leo directed by Lokesh Kanagaraj was the 2023 addon to the filmmaker's Lokesh Cinematic Universe aka the LCU. Starring Vijay, Trisha, Sanjay Dutt, Gautham Menon, Madonna Sebastin among others, this action outing unlocked lead star Vijay in a new dimension, an served as a treat to both his fans and otherwise.


10. Irugapatru: Written and directed by Yuvaraj Dhayalan, Irugapatru is a tale of different types of marriages conflicts, and is another film that seems to have struck a chord with the MZ generation of Tamil film audience this year. It's a feel-good movie that preaches to tightly hold on to your significant other. 


11. Good Night: Relationship endurement was another major theme in Tamil films this year, and Good Night touched on this topic with a twist. Written and directed by debutant Vinayak Chandrasekaran, this film starring Manikandan, Meetha Raghunath was a simple yet relatable tale. 

12. Ayothi: The fight to not loose the relevance of regional language over Hindi imposition, is often misconstrued as intolerance towards Hindi speaking Indians by the Tamil general public. A film like Ayothi shatters this myth, and also showcases that the Hindu-Muslim intolerance upheld religiously by North Indians will always loose in front of sheer humanity. Written and directed by debutant R. Manthira Moorthy, the emotionally-high Ayothi stars actor Sasikumar in the lead.     


Special Mention:

13. Bommai Nayagi: Written and directed by debutant Shan, Bommai Nayagi backed by director Pa. Ranjith was another stirring tale on child sexual abuse this year. Yogi Babu as a helpless father fighting for justice for his nine-year-old daughter, who has been subject to sexual assault by two men, was the focal point of this social drama. He along with child actor Srimathi breathed life into this important film. 

14. Parking: Another praise-worthy attempt by a debut filmmaker this year, Parking written and directed by Ramkumar Balakrishnan touches a territory popularized by Malayalam movies. The light-hearted nature of the film, along with funny aspects of everyday characters, is what made Parking enjoybale. The film stars Harish Kalyan, MS Bhaskar, Indhuja among others. 

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