Top 10 films of 2022

These 10 films carried the weight of the recovering industry on their backs as theatres filled up with eager cinephiles once again.

Top 10 films of 2022

Welcome to our list of the 10 best films of 2022! We have hand-picked a selection of the most highly-rated and critically-acclaimed movies that have been released this year. From blockbuster action films to heartwarming dramas, there's something for every film fan on this list. Whether you're a fan of big-budget blockbusters or indie gems, you're sure to find something that piques your interest. So without further ado, let's dive in and take a look at the best films of 2022!

Triangle of Sadness

Director Ruben Östlund takes the joy of making fun of rich people and turns it into a brilliant satirical dark comedy. In the broadest terms, a yacht sinks and a group of rich people end up stranded on an island. There is an aspect of Lord of the Flies here as we watch hierarchies form between the yacht staff and the wealthy customers as some surprising relationships form. Woody Harrelson also makes an appearance as a drunk Marxist yacht captain, and if that’s not enough to convince you to watch it then I don’t know what is.

Bodies Bodies Bodies

This could be described as a horror slasher film for Gen Z, but don’t let that put you off. Bodies Bodies Bodies boasts a cast of exciting young talent including comics Pete Davidson and Rachel Sennott who are joined by actors such as Amandla Stenberg of Hunger Games fame and the venerable Lee Pace. It’s a delicious look into privilege and wealth in the current day within the framework of an Agatha Christie-esque whodunnit narrative. I’ll leave you with the quote “Don’t call her a psychopath! It’s so ableist.”

Top Gun: Maverick

I would be remiss not to include the biggest cinematic success not only of 2022, but of the decade so far. I’m sure I wasn’t alone in presuming that Top Gun: Maverick would join the graveyard of boring unnecessary sequels to previous beloved films, especially given the 36-year gap between the first Top Gun and this one. But I was proved mightily wrong through its billion dollar box office takings (seven months later it’s somehow still in cinemas) and rave critical reviews. This film is the shining beacon of hope that the film industry needed after the past few years. Whatever celestial deity it is that has blessed Tom Cruise with lifelong success and the ability to still do stunts at 60 years old, I would like to know (minus the Scientology part). 

The Northman

If you’re not a fan of gore and violence, then look away now. Brutal is the key word for cult figure Robert Eggers’s latest film that follows a legendary Viking prince on a destructive path of revenge. Alexander Skarsgård was born to play this role and fully commits to being shirtless, angry and covered in mud for most of the two and a half hour runtime. He’s supported by household names like Ethan Hawke and Nicole Kidman whose characters add to the ferocity of the Nordic setting. If you’re looking for cinematic immersion, The Northman is a must watch. 

Aftersun

If you feel like crying, then this is the film for you. Directed by Charlotte Wells, Paul Mescal stars as a young single father taking his 11-year-old daughter Sophie on holiday in Turkey. Twenty years in the future, Sophie looks back on their time together, with the nostalgia depicted through home video footage. It’s a work of delicacy and intimacy, and will hit you especially hard if you ever went on a family holiday in the noughties or earlier (think of the smell of sunscreen lotion and playing games with any other child even remotely your age in the hotel). Aftersun is a beautiful depiction of familial love and loss and will hopefully elevate the careers of everyone involved.

Barbarian

It’s films like Barbarian that keep an over-populated genre like horror alive. Starting off in an Airbnb (which is already unsettling, everyone should use hotels), the narrative takes the viewer on a ride unlike any other. It cleverly doubles as a commentary on evil landlords and deprived urban areas, proving that the scariest horror stories are those rooted in reality. Combined with its achingly long shots on dark corridors that make you hold your breath, it’s hard to believe this is a directorial and screenwriting debut from Zach Cregger, who will surely become a household name in the horror genre. 

RRR

It finally seems that Hollywood is recognising the brilliance that Indian cinema can produce with this offering by director S. S. Rajamouli. Part of Tollywood, which is a section of Indian cinema in Telugu language, this is one of India’s most expensive movies ever made and the fourth highest grossing Indian film ever, which is really saying something. Standing for ‘Rise, Roar, Revolt’, RRR follows the true story of an Indian revolutionary and a British officer who fight against the colonial powers of the 20th century. It may seem daunting to the average viewer who is unfamiliar with international cinema or watching three-hour-long films, but once you get started the physics-defying action scenes will suck you right in. 

Don’t Worry Darling

If this film doesn’t deserve a spot for its narrative strength, then it should be included purely for the salacious drama that came from its marketing and press tour. With the relationship between director Olivia Wilde and pop star turned co-star Harry Styles causing rumours of conflict with the lead Florence Pugh, who then refused to do any press junkets to promote the movie, we were transported back to the days of high-octane Hollywood gossip. In terms of the film itself, it can be described as style over substance. Pugh is excellent as ever and Chris Pine makes a good villain, while the 1950s Californian setting is a treat to look at. But prepare to be disappointed by the plot which tries to dissect societal gender roles but ends up being hamfisted and anticlimatic. 

The Batman

Rebooting an almost-century old superhero giant like the character of Batman is no mean feat, not to mention overcoming the legacy left by Christopher Nolan’s beloved iterations of the Gotham universe. However, director and writer Matt Reeves achieved this with The Batman. Robert Pattinson’s performance is as juicy as his thick eyeliner, while Paul Dano’s The Riddler is a villain who feels ominously real for present day audiences. (Here’s a fun game: don’t look at the cast list and see if you can spot Colin Farrell). What is most impressive however is the construction of Gotham itself, as it comes across as a city that is alive and brimming with the promise of endless narratives to explore in future films. At the very least, it’s worth a watch just to see DC get something right for once. 

Everything Everywhere All At Once

It’s necessary not to understate the importance of this film. Not only did it deservedly boost the careers of the legendary Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan and relative newcomer Stephanie Hsu, it finally placed Asian Americans at the forefront of a blockbuster Hollywood film. It has since become indie studio A24’s highest grossing film ever at over $100 million, and for good reason. To summarise its plot would be a disservice, as it’s better to head into the multi-genre narrative blind and experience the laughter, joy and fear that will inevitably follow. Let’s just say that there are hotdog fingers and an existential bagel involved. 

Author

Claire Jenns

Claire Jenns Kickstart Team

English Literature graduate, loves reading, writing and travel.

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