My Favourite Films of 2022

2022 has been an exceptional year for films, be they viewed in the cinema or premiering in the comfort of your own homes. While I extended my favourites list and even the honourable mentions, I still despair for how my list misses out on such terrific films as Gen-Z whodunnit Bodies Bodies Bodies, the uncomfortably tense Soft & Quiet, and the biopic as excessive in direction as entertainment, Elvis.

This isn't even counting the films which are yet to gain a UK release, such as The FabelmansTÁR, and Marcel The Shell With Shoes On. So now that I've done this uncharacteristically early into the year, let's see what films I considered my favourites from 2022.

Honourable Mentions

Wendell & Wild, Henry Selick's grand return to films wonderfully blends his unrestrained imagination with real-life issues. Available on Netflix

Barbarian, a wild ride about identifying red flags told with such creepiness, humour, and the year's best end-credits song. Available on Disney+

Nope, a grand spectacle from Jordan Peele that's brimming with originality and wonderfully executed. The Gordy sub-plot is among the year's best work. Available to rent

Decision To Leave, an enchanting and suspenseful take on the police procedural and obsession from director/co-writer Park Chan-wook. Available on Mubi and to rent

The Bob's Burgers Movie, the big-screen adaptation of the charming TV series which offers catchy musical numbers, heartfelt relationships, and big laughs within an amusement park that offers "almost no decapitations". Available on Disney+ and to rent

Ali & Ava, Clio Barnard's warm-hearted love story set on a Bradford council estate. Available on Netflix and to rent

Scream, a worthy successor to Wes Craven's Scream films that lost none of the satirical bite, tension, or heart of the originals. Available on Now, Paramount+, and to rent

Prey, a back-to-basics approach for the Predator franchise delivered in brutal and tense ways. Available on Disney+

This Is GWAR, a love-letter to a one-of-a-kind heavy-metal band that bring the talent while covering their audience in fake blood and semen. Available on Shudder and to rent

She Said, a gripping and understated adaptation of the New York Times investigation into Hollywood sexual abuse told with such fury. Available to rent

25. Hellbender

Isolated in the mountains with only her mother for company, Izzy (Zelda Adams) spends her days playing drums. As she grows into herself, her desire to venture out and spend time with others coincides with discovering her family's ties to witchcraft. The Adams family pour their all into their latest film, making the most with so little for this talented tale of supernatural growing pains anchored in relatable material. A story steeped in rich mythology that's unafraid to have fun and break your heart, this is a grand testament to independent filmmaking.

Available on Shudder and to rent

24. Triangle of Sadness

The latest pitch-black satire from Ruben Östlund, the film takes aim at the modelling industry and how the rich live their lives with a wicked sense of humour. The audiences entrance into this world are modelling couple Carl (Harris Dickinson) and Yaya (Charlbi Dean), who are invited onto a luxury cruise full of extremely-wealthy passengers. It's told across a breezy 150-minutes which peaks during the middle-section, containing an unforgettable set-piece that is among 2022's funniest moments, and I could've stayed longer watching it all unfold. It's especially worth watching for Dolly de Leon's exceptional performance.

Available to rent

23. All Eyes

After a live interview ends in tragedy, disgraced podcast host Allen Wolf (Jasper Hammer) is desperate to bounce back. He sees the potential in the story of an eccentric farmer (Ben Hall) claiming to have a thousand-eyed beast living in the woods outside his farm, although the interview becomes less simple than Allen expects. Director Todd Greenlee and writer Alex Greenlee craft a spectacular character study which carries shades of The Endless and Home Alone, aided by the humorously odd pairing which uncovers layers to the characters. Be it the blunt farmer grappling with grief or the talkative interviewer facing the reality of where his uncaring attitude got him, it's emotionally engaging stuff.

22. Speak No Evil

After becoming friends with a Dutch family they met on holiday, a Danish family receive an invitation to stay at their house for a weekend. The joyous reunion turns sour as misunderstandings gradually get out of hand and the holiday unravels. A gripping tale which interrogates social niceties through an increasingly unbearable situation, where the guests feel feel forced to remain polite despite evident red flags. The tension bubbles up throughout the runtime and when it finally bursts, all that remains are the shattered pieces left in this bleak and unforgiving tale.

Available on Shudder

21. The Batman

Entering his second-year fighting criminals, Batman (Robert Pattinson) focuses on stopping a serial-killer called The Riddler (Paul Dano) who's intent on uncovering corruption at the heart of Gotham City. Across the 176-minute runtime, Matt Reeves' gripping film tackles internet extremism and institutional corruption, while the titular character grows from boogeyman to a symbol of hope amidst a corrupt city, as conveyed by Pattinson's excellent performance and Nirvana's Something In The Way. Add in a breath-taking car-chase and Colin Farrell's The Penguin threatening to steal the film, what's left is another brilliant take on an oft-adapted character.

Available on Now

20. The Northman

Robert Eggers is one of the most exciting voices in cinema, and working for a major studio thankfully hasn't diluted that. The story appears to be a simple one of revenge, as Prince Amleth (Alexander Skarsgård) is driven to avenge his murdered father (Ethan Hawke) and save his kidnapped mother (Nicole Kidman) by killing the man responsible; his uncle (Claes Bang). As viewers are transported to this grimy world where eyeless seers, visions of family trees, and a lava-set battle are par for the course, what unfolds is a breathless tale of Viking revenge told as an engrossing epic about the destructive nature such brutality brings.

Available on Now

19. We're All Going To The World's Fair

Through the lens of a webcam, Jane Schoenbrun's feature unfolds as Casey (Anna Cobb) takes part in the World's Fair challenge, described as "the internet's scariest online horror game" where players record the changes they go through. What unfolds subverts expectations in this unsettling tale about the isolation felt by those finding themselves during the age of the internet, and the damage that comes from losing yourself online. An effective coming-of-age tale for the creepypasta era.

Available on Shudder and to rent

18. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

After the success of 2019's ingenious Knives Out, writer/director Rian Johnson created a follow-up which takes Daniel Craig's southern-accented sleuth Benoit Blanc to a new mystery in Greece. What unfolds is a timely and witty tale which is populated by an excellent cast, particularly Janelle Monáe and Kate Hudson. It may feel baggier than the masterful predecessor, yet this remains an exceptional mystery that exceptionally comes together and begs for a rewatch. If Johnson and Craig could keep delivering Benoit Blanc mysteries, then that would be wonderful.

Available on Netflix

17. Hypochondriac

From the on-screen text which reads "Based on a real breakdown", writer/director Addison Heimann sets the tone very well with his feature-film debut. Living a stable life as a potter with his boyfriend, Will (Zach Villa) finds his bipolar mother's reappearance causing his life to unravel. The werewolf mythology is reworked in this enthralling story of one man grappling with trauma, where the beast trying to break free is rooted in his fears of following his mother's footsteps and hurting those he loves. This inner terror is vividly realized while not being a full-stop on the story, as a hopeful message lies within about mental illness not being the end and that things can get better.

16. Turning Red

After directing the excellent short Bao, Domee Shi makes her feature-film debut with this story of Thirteen-year-old Mei (Rosalie Chiang). She wants to have fun with her friends but feels she must also be the good daughter for her overbearing mother (Sandra Oh), although the awkward teenage years are exacerbated by Mei suddenly transforming into a giant red panda whenever she gets too excited. This is all part of a tremendous story about grappling with familial expectations, identity, and a love of boy-band tunes, making for Pixar's best film since Coco.

Available on Disney+ and to rent

15. Torn Hearts

Looking for their big break, a pair of up-and-coming country singers (Abby Quinn & Alexxis Lemire) seek advice from their living idol, former country-music star turned recluse Harper Dutch (Katey Sagal). What unfolds is a tense tale from director Brea Grant and writer Rachel Koller Croft, as the former star enacts her own twisted games while manipulating the duo for her own desires. Humour and horror are effectively balanced across this gripping tale, aided by an excellent pair who capture the various directions their characters take.

Available to rent

14. Top Gun: Maverick

I had little interest in this film due to my dislike of 1986's Top Gun, so I was subsequently floored by how good Joseph Kosinski's sequel was. The story sees Pete "Maverick" Mitchell (Tom Cruise) return to train new Top Gun graduates, only to face Rooster (Miles Teller), the son of his former wingman. What's been created is a marvellous showcase for high-flying spectacle that's stunning to behold on the big-screen, centered around themes of aging, regret, and guilt that come alive with exceptional emotional impact.

Available on Paramount+

13. Bones and All

Abandoned by her father, Maren (Taylor Russell) learns how to survive on the outskirts of society when she meets drifter Lee (Timothée Chalamet). Director Luca Guadagnino and screenwriter David Kajganich craft a heartfelt tale of loneliness and generational trauma across an American road-trip, through the prism of a cannibal romance. Exceptional performances come forth in this beautiful film, merging finger-licking brutality with heartfelt sensuality in gorgeous ways.

12. Jackass Forever

From the opening which imagines a Godzilla-style onslaught from a more phallic creature, the twelve-years since Johnny Knoxville and crew were last seen on the big-screen has done little to slow down their enthusiasm and energy. Alongside tender moments which acknowledge the passage of time, the Jackass series continues its unhinged evolution of what silent cinema delivered, bringing sheer creativity and unimaginable stunts to screen which feel wholly unique to the medium of cinema. It's also outright hilarious, with a segment inspired by The Silence of the Lambs being among the year's best moments, although what unfolds with fifteen-gallons of pig semen comes close.

Available on Now and Paramount+

11. Entergalactic

Created as a visual companion to Kid Cudi's album of the same name, Fletcher Moules' directorial debut is a joyous discovery worth making. The heartfelt story follows an ambitious artist who falls for his next-door neighbour, while such artistry and vision is apparent all throughout. If a charming rom-com with a terrific cast had the visual style of Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, this would be the stunning result.

Available on Netflix

10. Deadstream

To try and win back his fans, a disgraced internet personality livestreams himself facing his biggest fear - spending a night alone in a haunted house. While inside, he accidentally unleashes a vengeful spirit and his big comeback event becomes a real-time fight for survival. What Joseph and Vanessa Winter have created is a terrifying, hilarious, and grisly ride which mixes modern technology with an old-school haunting driven by the lead's desperation to regain viewers. If Ghostwatch had a baby with Death of a Vlogger that was adopted by Evil Dead II, this would be the batshit concoction.

Available on Shudder

9. The Banshees of Inisherin

On an Irish isle, Pádraic (Colin Farrell) finds himself stunned when lifelong friend Colm (Brendan Gleeson) suddenly ends their friendship. Martin McDonagh's best film since In Bruges examines aching sadness stemming from loneliness, as a stunningly dark tone sees cries for help going unanswered and looking at the pointlessness of feuding. It's a fantastic showcase for the exceptional cast, while also being outright hilarious and including possibly the best mention of a bread van in cinema.

Available on Disney+

8. Three Thousand Years of Longing

On a trip to Istanbul, a lonely scholar (Tilda Swinton) discovers an ancient bottle and unleashes a djinn (Idris Elba) who offers her three wishes. Aware of the ways such wishes can go wrong, the scholar is reluctant to make a wish, so the pair instead swap stories about their past woes with love. After revitalizing action cinema with Mad Max: Fury Road, George Miller has made an intimate two-hander which whisks audiences away so fantastically. Between the powerful performances as the lovelorn souls to Junkie XL's brilliant score, this is an exceptional celebration of the power of storytelling.

Available to rent

7. The Worst Person In The World

Closing off his "Oslo trilogy", director Joachim Trier follows aspiring photographer Julie (Renate Reinsve) worrying about her place in life as her 30th birthday approaches. The story tackles relatable themes of feeling stuck in your own life, comparing yourself to others who accomplished grand things at a similar age, and the messy directions which can leave people beating themselves up. Such themes are accomplished with exceptionally directed sequences, including a run across town as time stands still, which are part of this poignant tale about the uncertainty of the paths taken in life.

Available on Mubi and to rent

6. The Leech

As the holiday season approaches, Father David (Graham Skipper) decides to practice what he preaches and lets a homeless couple stay with him, although the act of kindness becomes a test of faith as the priest finds his patience severely tested. Eric Pennycoff balances the holiday-set comedy of a mismatched grouping with the intensity of a religious figure's growing frustrations with the world, leaving the film to resemble the twisted offspring of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles and First Reformed. A darker alternative to the regularly repeated festive fare that'll have you questioning who the real leech is.

Available on Arrow and to rent

5. RRR

With this one Indian blockbuster, S. S. Rajamouli showed Hollywood how it was done. The fictionalized tale imagines a friendship between legendary Indian revolutionaries Alluri Sitarama Raju (Ram Charan) and Komaram Bheem (N.T. Rama Rao Jr.), as they fight to free their country from the iron grip of the British empire. This utterly charming friendship is core to what the film accomplishes across a 3-hour runtime which feels like a fraction of that, as the sheer power of bromance allows the characters to punch a tiger, dual-wield rifles while being given a piggy-back, and show off snobby bullies at a party with a dance-off. A film which delivers so much seemingly effortlessly that must be seen to be believed.

Available on Netflix

4. Next Exit

Directing her first solo feature, Mali Elfman plants her story in a well-established world where ghosts are proven to exist. A controversial procedure allows people to peacefully end their lives for part of the research, and two strangers travel cross-country to take part in this. What unfolds is a road-trip to their final destination, which leaves the pair to confront their lives and what led them to this point. As hilarious as it is heartfelt, the film avoids Hollywood pitfalls to effectively earn the character beats delivered by Rahul Kohli and Katie Parker. What's left is a massively effective film from interesting beginning to teary-eyed ending.

Available on Digital Platforms from 20th February

3. Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio

A passion project that was announced in 2008, Guillermo del Toro teams with Mark Gustafson to direct this stop-motion take on Pinocchio. Set during Mussolini's fascist rule of Italy, grieving father Geppetto (David Bradley) creates a wooden boy from a pine tree, only for him to magically come alive and call himself Pinocchio (Gregory Mann). Blending the fantastical with very-real ideas while being emotionally grounded, the story exceptionally depicts this wooden puppet struggling to live up to the memory of his father's deceased son, coming to understand the preciousness of life, and having more autonomy than the Italian citizens trapped within fascism's grip. Complete with brilliant songs and a wonderful voice-cast, this is a thrilling, humourous, and heartfelt work which left me weeping.

Available on Netflix

2. Aftersun

Set during the 90s, 30-year-old father Calum (Paul Mescal) is determined to make a summer holiday to Turkey the best holiday possible for his 11-year-old daughter Sophie (Frankie Corio). Surrounding that is a reflection through video recordings and melancholy memories, as Sophie reconciles the man she knew with the sides of him she did not. For her feature-directorial-debut, Charlotte Wells has made a film that feels personal and precise as it effectively captures the desire to escape real-life and stay within memories to enjoy the good times, but nothing lasts forever. Every part of this film comes together magnificently, from score to performances, and especially the best use of Under Pressure since Happy Feet 2. A weight remained on my chest by the time credits rolled and left me not wanting to move until they had ended. Wherever Charlotte Wells' career goes next, it has me eagerly awaiting her next film.

Available on MUBI

1. Everything, Everywhere, All At Once

Of all the films I watched from 2022, none held my attention and heart more firmly than this multiverse tale largely set within an IRS building. Dissatisfied laundromat owner Evelyn Quan Wang (Michelle Yeoh) finds her problems feeling small when her husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan) shares that she must use the skills from her alternate lives to save the multiverse from an entity intent on destroying everything. Writers/directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert utilize their boundless creativity and imagination gloriously, as existentialism and familial emotion are blended with kung-fu cinema for a film intent on having its cake and eating it. Various ideas are treated with the same level of sincerity, from wish fulfilment to absolute silliness, while also putting the same amount of excitement and thrills into a scene, whether it's inspired by In The Mood For Love or YouTube videos. Combating nihilism with Paddington levels of kindness and googly eyes, this is an exceptionally directed work that was my favourite film of 2022.

Available on Amazon Prime and to rent

Agree/Disagree with my choices? Sound off below.