As we’re now approaching the end of a tumultuous, unhinged year, one aspect that certainly didn’t disappoint was those trips to the cinema. Whether it was massive blockbuster franchises making a more than welcome comeback, or indie underdogs taking on the box office, 2022 was a year in cinema that we won’t be forgetting anytime soon. So, before your attention sways to cheesy, feel-good Christmas flicks, sit down, grab some popcorn and enjoy the very best that this year had to offer.
Bones and All
This cannibalistic feast saw the triumphant reunion of everyone’s favourite star Timothée Chalemet and esteemed director Luca Guadagnino (Call Me By Your Name). Young love can be savage and this coming-of-age romance takes that concept to disturbing heights.
Paul Mescal increased his stock 10 fold in this touching father-daughter drama, consolidating his position as one of this generation’s most promising actors. A stunning debut from director-writer Charlotte Wells presents a poignant commentary on memory, love and loss.
Decision to Leave
Korean cinema carried on its incredible rise this year with this touching, suspense-filled thriller. Tang Wei provides a dazzling performance as Song Seo-Rae, a woman being investigated for her husband’s death in Park Chan-Wook’s gorgeously memorable flick.
The Souvenir Part II
Following on from her critically acclaimed The Souvenir, Joanna Hogg’s sequel delves even deeper into the boundaries between art and self. It sees Honor Swinton Byrne’s Julia unpacking her tumultuous relationship with Tom Burke’s character from The Souvenir — in a graduate film.
The Worst Person In The World
This romantic comedy-drama follows Renate Reinsve’s Julie; a young woman traversing the difficulties of her love life and career, as she is forced to hold a mirror up to herself, and reflect on who she is, and the woman she wants to become.
This haunting short film depicts the refugee experience through vibrant animation, pushing the boundaries of filmmaking to present a touching journey of self-discovery. Flee details the story of an Afghan immigrant going by the pseudonym Amin Nawabi, who escaped from Afghanistan to Denmark in the height of the Afghan War in the 1980s and was nominated for no less than three Oscars.
Penélope Cruz stars in this tale of two mothers whose lives unexpectedly come together in yet another wonderful effort from director Pedro Almodóvar. One woman is middle-aged and doesn’t regret her decision to bear a child, while the other is adolescent and terrified at the prospect, prompting the mothers to form a strong bond as they both confront motherhood.
Top Gun: Maverick
The year’s biggest blockbuster by numbers is certainly also the most entertaining. Tom Cruise’s return to the Top Gun universe didn’t disappoint and is undoubtedly the best big-budget action film in years in an adrenaline-pumping return to the skies.
The Banshees of Insherin
Martin McDonagh’s striking black comedy looks to be a major Oscar contender already, with no less than eight Golden Globe nominations. Colin Farrel and Brendan Gleeson’s on-screen chemistry is a wonder to watch in this complex drama set in 1923 during the last throes of the Irish Civil War.
The always spectacular Bill Nighy provides one of the subtlest yet captivating performances of his career in this remake of the 1952 Japanese drama Ikiru. Transpiring the story of a man giving months to live in 1950s London sounds like it shouldn’t work, but of course, with Nighy at the front and centre, it does perfectly.
Everything Everywhere All At Once
No one could quite possibly predict that this indie film filled with googly eyes and hot dog fingers would become a box office hit – and one of the best films of the year. But that’s just what happened, thanks to a wonderful performance from Michelle Yeoh, who fights through multiversal chaos to keep her family together in a truly unique film oozing with creativity.
Michelangelo Frammartino’s Il Buco unfolds in early 1960s Italy during the mass urbanisation of the Italian economic miracle. Winner of the Special Jury Prize in Venice, this spellbinding drama presents an exploration of Italy’s deepest cave, partnering ambient beauty with profound social commentary on industrialisation.