I had a hard time narrowing down my top ten films of the year, but I’m pretty confident that this list represents my favorite movies of 2022. This exercise had me thinking of what I look for most in a film, and I arrived at a few different criteria.
- Is the movie entertaining? Did I have fun watching it?
- How unique is this movie – did I feel like I was watching something new?
- Would I rewatch this movie?
- How stylish is the movie? I’m big on mood – did this film feel immersive?
- Are the characters unique, memorable, nuanced, and realistic? Were the heroes likable and the villains detestable?
- Is this movie memorable?
- Would I proudly recommend the movie?
Notably absent categories are story and acting. I’ll admit – I have a hard time with those two, but I think that my “uniqueness” and “characters” categories account for those, respectively.
I wrote down every movie I loved this year; I don’t think I forgot anything, but there are movies I’ve been meaning to see, including BABYLON, BARBARIAN, X, PEARL, and DECISION TO LEAVE.
First, here are the movies that didn’t make it to my top ten but I really loved this year, in no particular order:
- WOMEN TALKING
- THE BATMAN
- AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER
- EMILY THE CRIMINAL
- GOOD NIGHT, OPPY
- BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER
- THE MENU
- GUILLERMO DEL TORO’S PINOCCHIO
Note: This spot was the most contentious for me. I was debating between THE NORTHMAN and PUSS IN BOOTS: THE LAST WISH, but ultimately decided that NOPE deserves this spot (although those two movies are *chef’s kiss*). But honestly, PUSS IN BOOTS may deserve a spot of this list.
In what may be his most subtle stroke of cultural reflection yet, Peele explores themes of captivity, self-reflection, colonization, territory, enslavement, and self-defense. It seems some viewers are missing these points, but paying close attention to the narrative and subtleties in dialogue will only expand on the film and its many, many messages. The film is also simultaneously a love letter to AND harsh critique of film-making and cinema. – Ricky J Duarte
9. MARCEL THE SHELL WITH SHOES ON
MARCEL is not a “movie for kids that adults may enjoy” – instead, it’s a movie for adults that kids may enjoy. It has a strolling pace, unlike the high-octane antics that characterize many modern children’s movies. You won’t find bangs, crashes, and booms; instead, Dean Fleischer-Camp and Jenny Slate opt for quirks and blink-and-you-miss-it visual jokes. – me
At a brisk 98 minutes, the movie is tranquil, deeply melancholy, and incredibly affecting but doesn’t have a structured plot. As a viewer, you’re filling in the blanks as if you’re reflecting on a possibly painful memory from years ago. Bolstered by incredible performances by Mescal as Calum, a young father, and Frankie Corio, his 11-year-old daughter, AFTERSUN leaves you with a lump in your throat as you’re left deciding what’s happened. – me
7. AFTER YANG
AFTER YANG is … visually stunning, carefully folding in futuristic tech to maintain the suspension of disbelief but also is never too on the nose about it. This isn’t really BLACK MIRROR – it’s a hopeful world that doesn’t resent technology and instead focuses on its own universe’s future. – me
6. THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN
This is a movie about pride and stubbornness, needless physical aggression, and a lack of expressing emotions even when you KNOW the answer to your problem is doing exactly that with straightforward honesty. This is not only the best film about toxic masculinity that I’ve ever seen, but I’ll go as far as to say that any film that will be made about toxic masculinity will only be able to MATCH this film when it comes to covering all of the bases on the subject. – Eli Brumfield
5. FIRE ISLAND
Representation is often limited to white, cisgender gay men, and the nuances of intersectionality are lost to such narratives as LOVE, SIMON or CALL ME BY YOUR NAME. However, FIRE ISLAND features a cast of various identities that better reflect the modern world and include humorous, fresh perspectives on age-old questions about romance and friendship. Powerful ensemble performances from Margaret Cho and Conrad Ricamora help solidify the film’s central message: queer chosen family is volatile, but ultimately, indestructible. – Tavish Mohanti
Note: How could I not love a movie that is literally half of my name?
At this point, the only thing that there is to debate about Cate Blanchett is what her greatest role may be. I understand how corny it may sound for anybody who’s been watching her for as long as I have to say that this performance is THE performance given that it’s the most recent one, but I will say this… this is the best individual performance in a movie in 2022, it’s almost an assured lock for an Oscar nomination, and when it comes to talking about the career of Cate Blanchett, if you are as much a fan of her as I am, you would be a fool not to mention this in the top 5 performances of hers. – Eli Brumfield
3. TRIANGLE OF SADNESS
If PARASITE was the movie that took a sledgehammer to the image of elitism, then TRIANGLE OF SADNESS is the 15,000-pound wrecking Ball that ultimately turns it into rubble. If I were a billionaire…I’m sure I’d feel personally attacked by this film. But I’m not. So this film gave me great joy. – Eli Brumfield
2. BODIES, BODIES, BODIES
BODIES BODIES BODIES proves that hyperpop is the perfect soundtrack for murder. Rich twenty-somethings making TikToks and getting murdered, as Daddy AF by Slayyyter plays in the background, represents a new level of unhinged sardonicism that makes BODIES BODIES BODIES wildly entertaining. – Tavish Mohanti
1. EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE
From Michelle Yeoh’s performance to the “Daniels” excellent directing and producing, I found a grand total of zero faults with this movie. It’s (by far) the most unique film I’ve seen in years. – me
2022 was an excellent year for movies; I have a feeling we’ll be looking back and rewatching releases from last year for a while. I imagine this list may change a bit when looking back from the future, but for now, I hope you enjoyed reading about my top ten films of 2022.