This is the first full year we’ve had post-COVID where the movie theaters were opened and films were flocking into the big screen week to week. We’ve also had a bigger influx of films since a lot of them were put on hold or delayed in order for them to be showcased on the biggest screen possible. As a result, we’ve had an incredible year of films, both on the big and small screen. We have compiled 25 of the best films of 2022. Check out what ended up making the list below and see if your favorite film made our list.
25. The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
Nic Cage playing Nick Cage in a movie about Nic Cage being Nick Cage. Do you honestly need another pitch to see this movie? Read our review.
24. Clerks III
It’ll be hard to convince many people to check out Clerks III if you aren’t a fan of the View Askew universe Kevin Smith has constructed over the past 20-plus years. But if you are one of those people, you’ll be able to enjoy the potentially final act in this story that began all the way in the 90s. A film built on love and passion for this story and these characters, Kevin Smith really poured his soul into this narrative. Jeff Anderson and Brian O’Halloran boast some stellar performances that frankly we’ve never seen come out of them in any other film they’ve been in. It’s a beautiful final act for these characters we saw since the 90s, and although this is not comparable to the Before trilogy directed by Richard Linklater, it comes pretty close to being one of the best third parts of any trilogy ever made.
23. Brian and Charles
A film about a creator and its creation, Brian and Charles acts as a British quirky version of Pinocchio, but more Ricky Gervais’ The Office than the animated Disney classic. It’s simple, sweet, and adorable. One of the few examples I can think of where the translation from short film to feature film works very nicely and adds an added dimension the short film didn’t have, given the shorter running time. If you love dry British humor and an ugly-looking fake robot, you’re gonna dig this movie.
22. The Menu
Mark Mylod, of Succession fame, crafts a methodical ensemble piece filled with tense culinary goodness. It’s a tight, proficient, and hilarious script filled with an anxiety-driven mood and tone. It provides a well-rounded eccentric cast of characters, including a sarcastic Anya Taylor-Joy, a fanboy foodie Nicholas Hoult and a razor-sharp chef Ralph Finnes. Great cinematography and excellent shot composition. If you love anything with Gordon Ramsey or if you’re generally a foodie, you’re gonna love this film.
21. Triangle of Sadness
Swedish director Ruben Östlund always has a keen sensibility when it comes to capturing absurdism in horrific or intense circumstances. Much like in Force Majeure and The Square, he understands and knows how to play up the comedic moments roped around the dire or ridiculous events our leads might be in. In the case of his newest Palme d’Or-winning feature film, Triangle of Sadness, this is no different and even pushes the boundary more in terms of how absurdist he can get away with.
The movie deals with a plethora of themes, ranging from social-economic power structures, gender dynamics, and capitalist/communist ideologies, all wrapped up under the guise of satire and self-criticism. Triangle of Sadness satirizes the super-rich, gender dynamics in our current age, social hierarchies, the fashion industry, and so much more. While the satire is admittedly very skin-deep, it never stops being consistently funny and slightly introspective.
20. Bones and All
The topic of cannibalism in media has been slowly incrementing in the last few years, from examples such as Steven Craig Zahler’s Bone Tomahawk to Julia Docournau’s Raw and Mimi Cave’s Fresh. However, in each of these examples, we’ve seen the theme of cannibalism treated primarily in the context of a horror film. And while this might still be the case to a certain degree in Italian filmmaker Luca Guadagino’s latest film Bones And All, he decidedly added a level of tenderness and chaotic romanticism to his piece to differentiate enough from the fray.
I appreciate the film not relying so much on gore to sell you on this narrative and its characters. It communicates a great level of restraint to pull back from showing you all the awful bits, exemplifying how great of a director Guadagnino is. As a result, the movie has a tense atmosphere for most of its duration since you never know what the ultimate fate of these star-crossed lovers will be. Bones And All traverses a teenager pushed into adulthood through the lens of cannibalism pretty effectively.
19. Jackass Forever
This one was a nostalgic trip to when I was in high school and watched all those old jackass clips and skater videos. Jackass Forever feels like a final hoorah, a final farewell to a dear friend. Filled with all the gross-out humor and debauchery you’ve come to expect from the Jackass crew the film never misses a beat. It almost feels like a bygone era, and even if the film lacks the same intensity as the previous ones did, given the crowd’s age, the film is still filled with fantastic gags and memorable stunts you won’t soon forget.
Alcarrás is a minimalist, sun-kissed grounded portrayal of a family amidst some dire news. It’s beautiful, poignant, very relevant, and heartbreaking in its execution. It provides you with somber performances and a fantastic dynamic between the cast. They all feel believable and earnest. The exploration of the struggling farmer’s life in Spain is very real and tragic considering the world we live in.
17. A Life on the Farm
Art can be therapeutic. It can save someone’s soul and be a gateway to cleansing the spirit. Art can transform and mold you. On a small farm in Somerset, it was everything to Charles Carson, the subject of the documentary A Life on the Farm. The documentary is surprisingly endearing and sweet, even if it’s a tad morbid and dwells on the macabre from time to time.
By analyzing Charles Carson’s life on the farm, you get some introspection of how someone deals with grief and loss and how they hone in on these tragedies into something positive and uplifting. As a result, A Life on the Farm becomes this poignant celebration of the cycle of life and death. It provides a tribute to a man who wanted to document his life uniquely but was creating a ravishing piece of art, probably without even realizing it.
16. A Hero
An exploration of what happens when you let a lie snowball into something you can’t control anymore. Director Asghar Farhadi has always been a great filmmaker who can continuously dissect how humble and lower-class people are and react to increasingly horrible circumstances and how they prevail in spite of them. A Hero is no different, as we follow Rahim who is given a choice to clean off his debt by way of a missing purse filled with gold, but he instead decides to turn it in, and all hell breaks loose because of this. Incredible performances all around, a great script and tragic circumstances fill the film. Sadly, in spite of this film being excellent, it must be stressed that there’s a very real possibility the film is completely plagiarized by a former student of Farhadi, so take that into account when seeing this film.
15. All The Beauty and the Bloodshed
Both an exploration into the life of world-renowned photographer and artist Nan Goldin and a deep look into the opioid crisis and the family that enabled it, All The Beauty and The Bloodshed is a fierce, raw, and poignant documentary. It touches on the past and present injustices in the healthcare world and the neglect that’s been given to this horrible crisis. Paralleling the struggles Nan Goldin faced throughout her life as an artist and as a victim of the system, we get insight into how the people in power can corrupt and destroy our entire infrastructure. Very timely and relevant in today’s world.
14. Holy Spider
A tense, horrific Iranian thriller that explores religious extremism. A captivating, complex thriller that forces the audience to observe both the serial killer as he goes from his day-to-day committing horrid acts of violence in the name of moral righteousness and the journalist trying to fix a broken system. It’s shocking, traumatic and a real look at what happens when you let yourself be driven by extremism. Extremely harrowing.
13. You Won’t Be Alone
A poetic, lyrical, atmospheric piece about the sense of belonging, of never feeling alone. A unique take on the coming-of-age structure, exploring many aspects of the human condition through the lens of someone deprived of such things. It’s powerful. But don’t come expecting an A24-Esque folksy horror film, because you’re going to be extremely disappointed. Think of it more like Terrence Malick meets The VVitch meets Under my Skin. I loved it immensely. However, I believe the marketing got this film very wrong and it’s going to lead to a lot of people thinking this film is one thing when it clearly is not.
12. Marcel The Shell With Shoes On
Based on the viral short films on Youtube, Marcel The Shell With Shoes On is a beautiful and emotional mockumentary following the life of Marcel, a cute little sentient shell that happens to have small shoes on. The film is totally adorable, helmed by a sweet tender performance by Jenny Slate as Marcel. The blend of stop-motion animation and live-action is truly impressive, given the budget of the film. It’s a tender, funny, and thought-provoking piece that makes us evaluate our lot in life, our family, and our sense of community.
11. The Northman
A classical Shakespearean tale gets molded into a distinct, unique Viking story by Robert Eggers. Eggers brings his style, dialect, and epic scope into The Northman with ease and a deft hand. It’s potentially one of the most interesting blockbuster-Esque experiments I’ve seen in the last few years. Whoever thought to give Robert Eggers, an independent art house director, 90 million to do a Viking movie that’s based on the original Norse text that inspired Shakespeare’s Hamlet should honestly get a raise because choices like these aren’t made in a post-Marvel and post-streaming world.
10.Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio
Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio is a welcome return to a familiar topic Del Toro constantly tackles throughout his filmography, mainly children’s dark fairy tales. Using the familiar Pinocchio story as a baseline, Del Toro crafts a beautiful, harrowing reinterpretation of the tale, by injecting more of his aesthetic, tone, and feel, thus elevating the movie into a story of broken fathers and broken sons. This film will make you feel empathy for Geppetto as he tries to navigate the loss of his son and how he desperately tries to fill that void with Pinocchio. The social and religious critiques are pitch-perfect and add more layers to this animated movie.
9. The Batman
Matt Reeves had the monumental task of taking a character that’s been in films since the 50s and somehow bringing a new interpretation to the big screen. Thankfully he pulled it off expertly, by giving us the beginnings of The World’s Greatest Detective, an interpretation of The Batman we’ve yet to fully experience in film. Robert Pattinson shines as a young, naive, and chaotic Batman, a Batman who uses Bruce Wayne as the mask. Paul Dano is excellent as The Riddler, giving us very clear Zodiac vibes. The film itself used a lot from David Fincher to build this new world, tone, and aesthetic, but it works surprisingly well and it’s effective in providing a new fresh look at the Caped Crusader.
8. Bardo: False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths
Alejandro González Iñárritu lays it all out there in his newest film BARDO, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths. Iñárritu is at his most vulnerable and exposed, as he comes to the grips of who he is as an artist, as a storyteller, as a father, as a Latino, and as a man. Part 8 ½ by Federico Fellini and part The Tree of Life by Terrence Malick, BARDO explores many themes ranging from identity, colonialism, journalistic integrity, life, death, love, memory, and our worth on this Earth. It’s revelatory, experimental, chaotic, and memorable.
This depressing coming-of-age narrative that unfolds sets the tone beautifully for what the audience will be experiencing. It plays with the concept of memory a lot in many ways. Aftersun depicts the many ways how we perceive memories, how specific instances can define our lives, and the way we fill in the blanks when we are unsure of what happened, or we forget, of how unreliable memories and events are in our heads.
Paul Mescal crafts a layered, subdued, and melancholically quiet performance as Calum, a divorcee trying to retain some semblance of a relationship with his sort of estranged daughter. He’s a tour de force, ranging from fun and outgoing to borderline suicidal. Aftersun explores our complex relationships with the people we love. It also channels how we perceive our memories and how complex and messy it can be when you recollect the past and have to deal with the inevitability of trauma and happiness all blended together.
It’s beautiful, gut-wrenching, and reflective, a genuine look into how difficult it can be to hold on to the recollection of loved ones.
6. Fire of Love
A heartfelt, charming, and agonizing look at two world-renowned volcanologists, Katia and Maurice Krafft, Fire of Love is a magnificent documentary you won’t want to miss out on. Composed entirely of footage from the volcanologist couple, the film chronicles their whole life, from when they met to all their expeditions to their untimely death and everything in between. The movie plays like a Wes Anderson flick, both in shot composition, aesthetics, and even a tad of quirky humor thrown in. Seeing footage from all these volcanoes so up close is surprisingly very thrilling and exciting.
5. Decision to Leave
Playing like an expensive K-Drama, Park Chan-Wook hits it out of the park in a thrilling, intense, and electrifying detective-romance thriller. It’s unsettling, funny, intriguing, and engaging from beginning to end. In an age where sometimes filmmakers don’t push on what can be done with visual language, Chan-Wook comes with his film Decision to Leave and shows you a plethora of cinematic tricks to inform and amaze the audience on how he’s one of the best visual directors working today. Park Hae-il and Tang Wei have intense toxic chemistry on display and do so much with just a fleeting smile or sharing an intense look.
It’s fascinating how the current social media landscape has evolved and re-examined our social interactions with other people. The rise of the “Me Too” movement allows society to delve into power structures. However, at the opposite end of the spectrum, there’s also been a keen awareness of what’s deemed as ‘cancel culture’. Todd Field’s newest film TÁR is one of the few films that decidedly explores both ideas and digs deep into them without ever feeling reactionary.
Because of this, the movie feels nuanced, intelligent, and complex. Cate Blanchett as Lydia Tár is a revelation. You’ll genuinely believe she’s a maestro in her field, even when you see so little of her as an orchestral composer on screen (it takes almost a full hour before you see her musical prowess); when you do, it’s a sight to behold. TÁR ponders the idea, can you truly separate the art from the artist?
The movie will never commit to giving you a concrete answer, but great cinema is the one that lingers inside of you hours and days after you see it and creates thought-provoking dialogue amongst your peers. That’s the sign of a piece of cinema that will stand the test of time.
3. The Banshees of Inisherin
A critical look into the end of a long-term friendship. It’s a deep analysis of how men are unable to express their feelings. An exploration of depression, existential dread, and the futility of life itself all while being one of the funniest films of the year. Colin Farell & Brendan Gleeson give career-best performances as two lifelong friends who are at an impasse. The script, the directing, and the themes are all handled with care and nuance by director Martin McDonagh. It truly touched me and made me reflect on my own male friendships and how I’ve managed hardship in my life.
2. Everything Everywhere All At Once
An excellent example of maximalist cinema done right, The Daniels’ sophomore film Everything Everywhere All At Once brings their chaotic filmmaking into a story of family, generational trauma, and discovering our place in this world. Michelle Yeoh does her career best to channel a person who yearns for a better life, a mother who doesn’t know how to communicate with her daughter, and a wife in an unrequited marriage.
The filmmaking is bonkers, playing with a plethora of genres that all work seamlessly together to create the film equivalent of an exquisite corpse. The bombardment of film references, visual gags, and emotionally cathartic scenes create a unique experience that brings together fans of art houses and indie cinema and the mainstream audiences that consume Hollywood blockbusters.
It does a better job of exploring the multiverse in a film than Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness while also having something to say about the human condition.
1. After Yang
Kogonada’s sophomore feature After Yang is a masterwork of existentialism, family bonds, what it means to be human, and the musings of life and death. From its magnificent open sequence, you’ll be entranced in this tragic story of love and loss. It’s a quiet, meditative, reflective, existential & philosophical art piece. Themes of family, morality, mortality, cultural heritage & the search for purpose permeate all over this odyssey of loss. An impactful, beautiful, and lyrical sci-fi.
Thought-provoking in its approach, minimalist in its world-building, akin to Spike Jonze’s Her. Colin Farrell brings forth an excellent performance as a father yearning for answers and dealing with depression and despair. The third act is phenomenal, heartwarming, and depressing all at the same time. A fantastically deep piece that hopefully garners a bigger audience as the years go by.
Do you agree with our picks? Let us know in the comments!
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