Hollywood Reporter Critics Pick Best Movies of 2022

Since the opinions of any reviewer are inherently subjective, the lists that follow are not intended to be definitive or even guideline. These are just my personal favorites and those of my esteemed colleagues at THR review team. If they reflect, clash or challenge your own tastes and opinions, that’s a good thing; if they prompt you to search for a title that you haven’t had time for yet, or perhaps weren’t even aware of, even better. Either way, it was a solid year for movies, even if it ended disappointingly for me.

As theatrical receipts remain in post-COVID recovery mode, the studio’s blockbuster has reasserted itself with bright spots on the box office landscape, including Top Gun: Maverick, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, The Batman and Black Panther: Wakanda Forevernot to mention a potential juggernaut on the immediate horizon with Avatar: The Way of the Water. And the resounding success of Everything everywhere all at once showed that stylistically adventurous indie bangs could still produce an ecstatic cult phenomenon.

As usual, most of the highlights were presented in the glittering showcases of Cannes and Venice, both of which recorded good editions. But one by one, the most anticipated prestige releases of the year have disappointed, at least in my admittedly sometimes minority opinion.

Despite her fine overall work, I found Sarah Polley’s women who talk too devious in its arguments about sexual predation and trauma to create dramatic vitality. Recounting memories of his parents’ separation and his first sparks as a fledgling filmmaker, Steven Spielberg applies a neat gloss to a messy family breakup that made me feel a nagging detachment from The Fabelmans, one of the first times a performance by Michelle Williams has left me cold. Likewise, Olivia Colman’s turn in Sam Mendes’ steeped but empty nostalgia Empire of Lightthat is to say, four or five different films that all struggle to agree on a tone.

The overhung Glass Onion scrambled the delights back from the Knives out formula with a high-end concept; David O. Russell’s Inordinately Busy Vintage Hugs amsterdam was dead on arrival; and all the ostentatious technical virtuosity on display in Damien Chazelle’s inflated investigation into Hollywood’s transition from silent to talking, Babyloncouldn’t stifle the boring moral superiority of this film.

Almost all of these movies have a lot of avid fans, so go ahead and disagree. In the meantime, read on for my best of 2022, followed by picks from Jon Frosch, Lovia Gyarkye, and Sheri Linden. —DAVID ROONEY

1. The Banshees of Inisherin
Pulling a title from the archives of his early writings, but seemingly nothing else from this abandoned project, Martin McDonagh has created his most emotionally resonant work, a tongue-in-cheek exploration of Irish isolation played out as a civil war for two. The flawless set is directed by the director In Brugge leads, Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, in a wistful duet about an abruptly broken lifelong friendship that’s darkly hilarious until it gracefully descends into pathos.

2. 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 servant. But this intoxicating encounter between an insomniac detective and an enigmatic murder suspect – played with smoldering conflict by the magnetic Park Hae-il and Tang Wei, respectively – bristles with sensuality and nostalgia, merging seductive undercurrents of neo- cool noir with the stormy peaks of great melodrama.

3. Warehouse
Cate Blanchett’s commanding performance as an internationally acclaimed conductor echoes Mahler’s symphony which is next in her programme, with the obsessive accuracy of a large string section and the buoyancy of the reeds punctuated by the thunder of clashes of perfectly synchronized cymbals. But Todd Field’s caustic character study – his first film in 16 years – contextualizes this jagged portrait in a provocative consideration of the dynamics of power, fame and gleeful, unforgiving privilege in its observation of the self-possession that unravels.

4. After Sun
In terms of tangible plot incident, relatively little happens in Charlotte Wells’ astonishing piece of memoir. A woman in her 30s contemplates a summer vacation on the Turkish coast with her father 20 years earlier, when she was on the verge of self-discovery and he didn’t quite hide a heavy veil of melancholy. But the illuminating intimacy of the drama, observed with tenderness and precision, is powerfully touching, as are the subtly revealing interpretations of a heartbreaking Paul Mescal and the gifted young Frankie Corio.

5. bones and all
It seems inconceivable that the gory odyssey of two cannibalistic young lovers drifting through 1980s Central America could be one of the lushest romantic experiences on any screen this year. But Luca Guadagnino finds the heart throbbing and drenched in horror in this dark, poetic dream of a movie, and via Taylor Russell and Timothée Chalamet’s extremely tough but fragile performances, he squeezes a world of liberation, of connection that changes the life and crushing loss. in a heady summer.

6. HEY
Drawing inspiration from Bresson Random balthazar but by trading the lofty spirituality of the 1966 classic for a more down-to-earth empathy, the compact miracle of a Jerzy Skolimowski film gives us an unblinking view of human cruelty, broken by occasional respites of transcendent compassion. With its long sequences of silent reflection and haunting images that pierce the soul, it was the most hypnotic shot of pure cinema of the year.

seven. All the beauty and bloodshed
With sensitivity, suspense and as much narrative urgency as any fictional feature in 2022, Laura Poitras’ in-depth documentary takes a heartfelt look at photographer Nan Goldin’s life on the edge, at the gritty immediacy of his art capturing American subcultures and the passionate commitment to his activism, helping to break down the Big Pharma monolith that had so scarred his family.

8. armageddon time
James Gray’s most personal film revisits his childhood in 1980s Queens for a family memory steeped in caustic regret, a mournful 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 stand-in is flanked by the incisive work of Jeremy Strong and Anne Hathaway as liberal parents whose blind spots magnify his failures to his black friend, imbued with raw hurt by Jaylin Webb. Anthony Hopkins brings restraint, wisdom and a deep vein of grief to the boy’s loving grandfather.

9. Inspection
Boot camp drama can be a minefield of clichés, but Elegance Bratton, in its lyrical and intensely moving narrative debut, shrewdly avoids those pitfalls with an unguarded autobiography. In a ferocious breakthrough, 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 – a revealing Gabrielle Union – and to himself that he can reverse the downward trajectory of his life by becoming a Marine.

ten. The quiet girl
There have been countless more ambitious films this year, but few achieve so flawlessly and satisfactorily everything they set out to do as Colm Bairéad’s sweet Irish-language drama about a neglected child sent to pass. a transformative summer with distant relatives whose kindness is undiminished by their pain. Led by a beautifully intuitive performance from newcomer Catherine Clinch, it’s an absolute gem, deceptively modest yet brimming with delicate sentiment.

Honorable mentions (in alphabetical order): After that; close; Corset; great freedom; Event; Montana History; no bear; Nope; Prey; Saint-Omer

Jon Frog’s Top 10

1. Warehouse
2. A nice morning
3. armageddon time
4. Cathedral
5. Event
6. bones and all
seven. inspection
8. Saint-Omer
9. Blessing
ten. All the beauty and bloodshed

Honorable mentions (in alphabetical order): Anais in love; The Banshees of Inisherin; Descending; Lingui, the sacred links; A love song; Mr. Bachmann and his class; Paris, 13th arrondissement; Return to Seoul; Top Gun: Maverick; women who talk

Top 10 by Lovia Gyarkye

1. Saint-Omer
2. Lingui, the sacred links
3. After Sun
4. Everything everywhere all at once
5. All the beauty and bloodshed
6. The Eternal Daughter
seven. Free Chol Soo Lee
8. Decision to leave
9. Riotville, United States
ten. Warehouse

Honorable mentions (in alphabetical order): Anais in love; Descending; funny pages; inspection; Katrina Babies; Marcel the shod shell; The menu; Return to Seoul; Smile; Soft and quiet

Sheri Linden’s Top 10

1. All the beauty and bloodshed
2. HEY
3. Warehouse
4. Cathedral
5. Murine
6. The Black and the Blues of Louis Armstrong
seven. The Eternal Daughter
8. After Sun
9. armageddon time
ten. two seasons

Honorable mentions (in alphabetical order): anything that breathes; The Banshees of Inisherin; Pinocchio by Guillermo del Toro; Lowndes County and the Black Power Route; A nice morning; The quiet girl; Return to Seoul; Three minutes: lengthening; Until; women who talk

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