Top 20 Films of 2022

With a spate of new comic book movies, indie darlings, and Tom Cruise soaring to box office heights once again, 2022 has been a pretty stellar year for film-goers with something for everyone on the silver screen. In recent months, the taste of cinema has been soured by the closure of several independent picture houses up and down the country, including the Filmhouse in Edinburgh, my beloved local. As we approach awards season with new releases from the likes of Steven Spielberg, Damien Chazelle, and Darren Aronofsky just around the corner, I pick out my favourites from this years’ selection…

20. Fall (Scott Mann)

Scott Mann’s B-movie has an admittedly schlocky premise, but it works perfectly in getting its protagonist, played by Grace Fulton, climbing all 2,000 feet of an abandoned radio tower. Fall plays to its strengths in suspense and should be seen on the biggest screen available. It comes as no surprise that this was a hit amongst horror film festivals this year.

Check out Matt Turner’s review at Nerdly!

19. Funny Pages (Owen Kline)

The weird kid from Noah Baumbach’s The Squid & The Whale is all grown up, making his directorial debut with this gross-out coming-of-age comedy. It’s produced by rough and ready specialists Safdie brothers but marches to the hilarious beat of its own oily drum.

Check out Adam Mulgrew’s review at Seensome!

18. The Menu (Mark Mylod)

From the mind of the man that bizarrely brought us Ali G Indahouse two decades ago, this razor-sharp black comedy sees Succession director Mark Mylod team up with producers Adam McKay and Will Ferrell to present a satirical feast that pokes fun at the pretentious. The Menu boasts terrific turns from Ralph Fiennes and Nicholas Hoult, and this might be Anya Taylor-Joy’s best film performance to date.

Check out Ian Sandwell’s review at Digital Spy!

17. Moonage Daydream (Brett Morgen)

Like the subject himself, this documentary doesn’t conform to the expected. Brett Morgen explores the life and career of David Bowie as a beautiful and engaging cinematic exhibition, and it’s an absolute must-see for fans of the icon.

Check out Lou Thomas’ review at Empire!

16. Zero Fucks Given (Julie Lecoustre & Emmanuel Marre)

Like HBO’s The Flight Attendant but a little more grounded in reality, Adèle Exarchopoulos is excellent as low-cost airline worker Cassandra in this surprisingly tender comedy drama. It features the most heartbreaking conversation you’ll ever hear about a phone tariff.

Check out Carmen Paddock’s review at One Room with a View!

15. The Outfit (Graham Moore)

Mark Rylance has had a particularly strong year, starring in Craig Roberts’ charming golf comedy Phantom of the Open as well as revelling in a madcap turn in Luca Guadagnino’s cannibal romance Bones & All. His leading performance in Graham Moore’s understated Chicago crime flick The Outfit is tailored to perfection.

Check out Dallas King’s review at FlickFeast!

14. Vengeance (B.J. Novak)

Known for his role in the US version of The Office, B.J. Novak is constantly adding strings to his bow. Having already written books and a TV series, he made his big screen directorial debut this year with Vengeance, a very timely tale about a journalist who starts a true crime podcast when an old girlfriend is found dead. It features a rare appearance from Ashton Kutcher.

Check out my review!

13. Decision to Leave (Park Chan-wook)

A satisfyingly slow-burning, slow-twisting detective noir, Park Chan-wook’s Decision to Leave weaves romance into thriller majestically. There’s so much chemistry between the leads that even a scene about them synchronising their breathing is electric!

Check out Sara Clements’ review at Pay or Wait!

12. Licorice Pizza (Paul Thomas Anderson)

Inspired by his own childhood in 1970s LA, Paul Thomas Anderson’s nostalgic hangout movie introduces us to nepotism baby Cooper Hoffman, son of the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Check out my review!

11. The Worst Person in the World (Joachim Trier)

The final part of Joachim Trier’s unconnected Oslo trilogy, The Worst Person in the World is a romantic dramedy starring Renate Reinsve as Julie, a thirtysomething student who finds herself at a crossroads in life at the end of her recent relationship.

Check out my review!

10. Ali & Ava (Clio Barnard)

Adeel Akhtar and Claire Rushbrook are magnificent as the titular protagonists of Clio Barnard’s tender working-class romance. Both suffering from loneliness, they lean on each other as friends and their relationship develops into something special.

Check out Jason Solomons’ review at The Wrap!

9. Boiling Point (Philip Barantini)

Set during the hectic run-up to Christmas at one of London’s most high-end eateries, Boiling Point is a one-shot masterclass in cinematic intensity.

Check out my review and my exclusive interview with writer and director Philip Barantini!

8. Aftersun (Charlotte Wells)

Inspired by a childhood holiday of Scottish writer and director Charlotte Wells, father-daughter drama Aftersun has been wowing audiences all year since it’s premiere at Cannes Film Festival. With tremendous performances from Frankie Corio and Paul Mescal at its heart, it looks set to be an underdog indie contender during the awards season.

Check out my review and my exclusive interview with Frankie Corio!

7. The Forgiven (John Michael McDonagh)

The Forgiven has one of the most impressive ensemble casts I’ve seen on screen in a long time; Jessica Chastain, Ralph Fiennes, Christopher Abbott, Saïd Taghmaoui, Matt Smith, Caleb Landry-Jones. A deliciously dark, self-aware comedy set in the scorching sun.

Check out my review and Adam Mulgrew’s exclusive interview with writer and director John Michael McDonagh!

6. Bergman Island (Mia Hansen-Løve)

A film within a film about filmmaking. Inspired, inspiring, complicated storytelling from writer and director Mia Hansen-Løve, and boasting a quartet of fantastic performances.

Check out Peter Cox’s review at Lost Highway Hotel!

5. Parallel Mothers (Pedro Almodovar)

Bookended by a plot that needs to be dug up, Almodóvar’s family drama Parallel Mothers moves to the messy rhythm of life. The twists are somehow both understated and impactful, highlighting the significance of integrity and legacy.

Check out Rafa Sales Ross’s programme notes at Glasgow Film!

4. Elvis (Baz Luhrmann)

Luhrmann conducts a big, bold, glossy, spectacular tragedy, full of flamboyant energy and oozing with electric Bazmatazz. Austin Butler is jaw-dropping!

Check out David Rooney’s review at The Hollywood Reporter!

3. The Banshees of Inisherin (Martin McDonagh)

A simple but effective allegory on the Irish Civil War, Martin McDonagh masterfully blends brilliant black comedy and heartbreaking tragedy in The Banshees of Inisherin, a bleak but beautiful illustration of the stubbornness and futility of conflict and its legacy.

Check out my review!

2. Happening (Audrey Diwan)

Often a score will be used to create or heighten tension in a film, but in 60s set French drama Happening, the director Audrey Diwan uses its absence to craft absolute terror with silence in its most horrific moments.

Check out my review!

1. Paris, 13th District (Jacques Audiard)

Loosely inspired by the work of American graphic novelist Adrian Tomine, romantic drama Paris, 13th District by director Jacques Audiard presents a stunning slice of life in modern-day Paris. It’s a black-and-white millennial masterpiece, and my favourite film of 2022.

Check out my review!


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