Since the views of any reviewer are by their very nature subjective, the lists that follow are not intended to be definitive or directive. They are simply my personal favorites and those of my esteemed colleagues in the THR review team. If they reflect, clash, or challenge your own tastes and opinions, that’s a good thing; if they inspire you to look for a title you haven’t had time for yet, or maybe you haven’t even realized, even better. Either way, this was a solid year for movies, though for me it came to a disappointing end.
While theater grosses remain in post-COVID recovery mode, the studio blockbuster bolstered itself with bright spots in the box office landscape, including Top Gun: Maverick, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, the batman Y Black Panther: Wakanda Forevernot to mention a potential giant on the immediate horizon with Avatar: The Path of Water. and the great success of Everything everywhere at once it showed that the stylistically adventurous indie fringe could still produce an ecstatic cult phenomenon.
As usual, most of the highlights premiered in the glittering showcases of Cannes and Venice, both of which posted strong editions. But one by one, the most anticipated prestige releases of the year disappointed, at least in my opinion, which is sometimes in the minority.
Despite its excellent ensemble work, I found the work of Sarah Polley women talking too devious in its storylines about sexual predation and trauma to build much dramatic vitality. Recounting memories of his parents’ separation and first glimpses of him as a budding filmmaker, Steven Spielberg applies a careful gloss to a messy family breakup, which left me feeling a lingering detachment from him. The Fabelmans, one of the first times a performance by Michelle Williams has left me cold. Likewise, Olivia Colman’s turn in the nostalgic but empty interpretation of Sam Mendes empire of lightwhich is four or five different movies all struggling to establish a tone.
the overdraw glass onion clouded the retrospective delights of the knives out formula with high-concept fuss; The Extraordinarily Busy Caper of David O. Russell Amsterdam he was dead on arrival; and all the ostentatious technical virtuosity on display in Damien Chazelle’s bloated study of Hollywood’s transition from silent to talkies, Babylonhe couldn’t silence the irritating moral superiority of that film.
Almost all of those movies have a lot of passionate fans, so go ahead and disagree. In the meantime, read on for the best of 2022, followed by picks from Jon Frosch, Lovia Gyarkye, and Sheri Linden. —DAVID ROONEY
1. The Banshees of Inisherin
Taking a title from the archives of his early writing, but seemingly little else from that abandoned project, Martin McDonagh created his most emotionally resonant body of work, a wry exploration of Irish isolation that plays out like a two-man civil war. The impeccable ensemble is headed by the director in bruges leads, Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, in a melancholic duet about a lifelong friendship abruptly broken and is darkly hilarious until its humor veers into pathos.
two. decision to leave
On its sleek surface, Park Chan-wook’s masterful romantic thriller might tone down the erotic charge of his latest feature, The maid. But this heady encounter between an insomniac detective and an enigmatic murder suspect, played with simmering conflict by the magnetic Park Hae-il and Tang Wei, respectively, bristles with sensuality and longing, melding the seductive undercurrents of fresh neo- noir with stormy peaks. great melodrama.
Cate Blanchett’s commanding performance as world-renowned conductor echoes the Mahler symphony next on her programme, with the obsessive exactitude of a large string section and the buoyancy of reeds punctuated by the crash of cymbals. perfectly synchronized. But Todd Field’s caustic character study, his first film in 16 years, contextualizes that jagged portrait within a provocative consideration of the dynamics of power, celebrity, and light-hearted privilege, ruthless in its observation of the unraveling of self-control.
Four. After the sun
In terms of tangible plot incidents, relatively little happens in Charlotte Wells’ impressive piece of memoir. A woman in her early 30s contemplates a summer holiday on the Turkish coast with her father 20 years earlier, when she was on the brink of self-discovery and he did not quite hide a heavy veil of melancholy. But the illuminating intimacy of the drama, tenderly and accurately observed, is powerfully moving, as are the subtly revealing performances of a heartbreaking Paul Mescal and the talented young Frankie Corio.
5. bones and all
It seems inconceivable that the bloody odyssey of two cannibalistic young lovers traversing 1980s Central America could be one of the most exuberant romantic experiences on any screen this year. But Luca Guadagnino finds heart-pounding, drenched terror in this darkly poetic dream of a film, and through the exquisitely tough yet fragile performances of Taylor Russell and Timothée Chalamet, he compresses a world of liberation, life-changing connection, and loss. devastating. in a heady summer
Taking his inspiration from Bresson random balthazar but trading the lofty spirituality of the 1966 classic for earthier empathy, Jerzy Skolimowski’s compact miracle of a film gives us a donkey’s unflinching view of human cruelty, broken by occasional reprieves of transcendent compassion. With its long stretches of silent reflection and haunting, soul-piercing imagery, this was the most hypnotic pure cinema shot of the year.
7. All the beauty and the bloodshed
With sensitivity, suspense, and as much narrative urgency as any fictional feature film in 2022, Laura Poitras’ inquisitive documentary takes a candid look at photographer Nan Goldin’s life on the edge, the raw immediacy of her art capturing American subcultures, and the passionate engagement of her activism, helping to tear down the Big Pharma monolith that had so marked her family.
8. time of armageddon
James Gray’s most personal film revisits his childhood in 1980s Queens for a family memento steeped in corrosive regret, a sad reflection on white privilege in an America shaped by the rise of Reagan and Trump. Banks Repeta’s emotionally alert performance as the director’s understudy is flanked by incisive work from Jeremy Strong and Anne Hathaway as the liberal parents whose blind spots amplify their failures towards their black friend, imbued with raw grief for Jaylin Webb. Anthony Hopkins brings restraint, wisdom, and a deep vein of grief to the boy’s beloved grandfather.
9. The inspection
Boot camp drama can be a minefield of clichés, but Elegance Bratton, in her intensely moving and lyrical narrative debut, artfully circumvents those pitfalls with an unguarded autobiography. In a fiercely groundbreaking performance, Jeremy Pope holds nothing back, playing a character drawn from the director’s experience as a queer black man determined to prove to his homophobic religious mother, an outspoken Gabrielle Union, and to himself that he can reverse the trajectory. descending of his life by becoming a Marine.
10 the quiet girl
There were countless more ambitious films this year, but few that achieved everything they set out to do as unerringly and satisfyingly as Colm Bairéad’s suave Irish-language drama about a waif sent to spend a transformative summer with distant relatives whose kindness goes unseen. clouded by her pain. Led by a superbly intuitive performance from newcomer Catherine Clinch, this is an absolute gem, deceptively modest yet brimming with delicate sentiment.
Honorable Mentions (in alphabetical order): After; Close; Corset; great freedom; Happening; mountain history; no bears; Nope; Prey; Saint Omer
Jon Frog’s Top 10
two. a good morning
3. time of armageddon
6. bones and all
7. The inspection
8. Saint Omer
10 All the beauty and the bloodshed
Honorable Mentions (in alphabetical order): Anais in love; The Banshees of Inisherin; Descendant; Lingui, the Sacred Bonds; A love song; Mr. Bachmann and his class; Paris, 13th arrondissement; return to seoul; Top Gun: Maverick; women talking
Lovia Gyarkye’s Top 10
1. Saint Omer
two. Lingui, the Sacred Bonds
3. After the sun
Four. Everything everywhere at once
5. All the beauty and the bloodshed
6. the eternal daughter
7. chol soo lee free
8. decision to leave
9. Riotsville, United States
Honorable Mentions (in alphabetical order): Anais in love; Descendant; funny pages; The inspection; Katrina Babies; Marcel the shell with his shoes on; The menu; return to seoul; Smile; Smooth and Quiet
Sheri Linden’s Top 10
1. All the beauty and the bloodshed
6. The Black and the Blues by Louis Armstrong
7. the eternal daughter
8. After the sun
9. time of armageddon
10 Two seasons
Honorable Mentions (in alphabetical order): everything that breathes; The Banshees of Inisherin; Pinocchio by Guillermo del Toro; Lowndes County and the road to black power; a good morning; the quiet girl; return to seoul; Three minutes: one stretch; Until; women talking
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