2022 has been an excellent year for movies as we’re sure you’ll agree if you have managed to catch a few gems on your streaming services or at the cinema. We’re always interested in hearing your opinions so let us know what your favourite movies have been from the past twelve months.
Bringing together voices from our diverse team, hailing across all continents from Africa, Asia, North America and Europe, TheReviewGeek team reveal their best picks for 2022. Do you agree with our choices? Or are there any other movies that you think should have been added to this list? Let us know in the comments below!
RRR (Rise Roar Revolt) smashed box office records when it was released in its native India and it earned international acclaim after being released worldwide. It’s the first Indian film to ever get a Golden Globe nomination and it has recently been named as one of the best films of the year by the National Board of Review, making it the second non-English film ever to make their top 10 list. High praise indeed!
The movie, which tells a fictitious story involving two real-life freedom fighters, is a jaw-dropping action saga that incorporates gravity-defying stunts, unbelievable fighting scenes, and big song and dance sequences, all within its 3-hour runtime. It’s a massive spectacle of a movie, the kind of which we rarely see outside of American cinema.
If you have skipped over this on Netflix because you’re averse to subtitles or Bollywood cinema, you have missed out because this really is one of the best movies of the year. It’s much better than much of the action fare that Hollywood has turned out in recent times thanks to its strong characters, impassioned story, and fantastic set pieces, so is well worth a watch if you haven’t made time for it already.
Everything Everywhere All At Once
Everything Everywhere All At Once, the latest movie from Swiss Army Man directors Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, begins in a fairly mundane way. We get to meet launderette owner Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh) and her husband Waymond (former Goonies actor Ke Huy Quan) who are living a rather routine life together. We watch as they go about their business and bicker with one another and for a while, it would seem that this is just another kitchen sink drama, albeit one with a sharp sense of humour.
But around the 45-minute mark, just as the pair are going up against a by-the-book IRS inspector (Jamie Lee Curtis), everything changes and the movie takes a wild turn towards the crazy. What was once a drama about the stressed-out Wang and her family relationships suddenly becomes an action-packed adventure involving the multiverse that manages to surprise and delight at nearly every turn. Believe us when we say you haven’t seen anything like this before, as this is one of the most original movies to come out of Hollywood in years.
The debut feature from director Charlotte Wells is one of this year’s biggest surprises. On the surface, it’s a coming-of-age drama, told in flashbacks, about a young girl named Sophie who spends the summer with her father at a budget Turkish holiday resort. They go to the pool, head out on day trips, and generally hang out with one another.
Nothing very dramatic happens but this doesn’t really matter. This isn’t supposed to be an eventful movie where mishaps occur around every corner. Instead, it’s a reflection of a moment in time by the adult Sophie that might cause any one of us to look back at the experiences we shared with our own fathers.
But not only is Aftersun a meditation on childhood, memory, and parental relationships, but it’s also a study of depression. As the grown-up Sophie looks at camcorder footage of the time she shared with her father, she notices that he doesn’t seem as happy as the man she remembered from her holiday. The movie transcends its simple premise as a consequence and becomes something quite unique in its narrative approach.
Decision To Leave
In this latest movie from Oldboy director Park Chan-Wook, a detective (Park Hae-il) investigates the death of a man who fell from a mountain and begins to suspect his wife (Song Seo-rae) may have had something to do with his demise. Did she push him? Or was the man’s death a simple accident? These are answers we aren’t going to provide here as it would be wrong for us to spoil the outcome of this Hitchcockian tale so you will have to see this sublime movie yourself if you want to get to the bottom of the mystery.
Decision To Leave is South Korea’s Oscar entry for Best International Feature Film which is reason enough for you to give this move a go if you haven’t done so already. It contains elements that may be familiar – such as the detective becoming romantically involved with his suspect – but thanks to the quality craftsmanship both behind and in front of the camera, this is significantly superior to similar movies of its kind.
Good Luck To You, Leo Grande
In Animals director Sophie Hyde’s new movie, Emma Thompson stars as a retired schoolteacher who has never had an orgasm. Determined to have the kind of sexual experience that she didn’t receive from her late husband, she hires sex worker Leo Grande (Daryl McCormack) to give her what she desperately desires.
This isn’t just a movie about sex – it would have been far less interesting if it was. It’s about a woman coming to terms with her ageing and imperfect body, and the emotional connection she makes with Leo, who turns out to be just as vulnerable as she is, despite his cool exterior.
Katy Brand, who wrote the screenplay for the movie, originally considered writing Good Luck To You, Leo Grande as a play. This is of no surprise as the majority of the movie largely consists of two people talking with one another in a hotel room. Their story is one that could easily have played out on stage but we should be thankful that it was brought to the screen as this funny and tender movie deserves as wide an audience as possible.
Anvita Dutt’s period musical drama Qala, which recently debuted on Netflix, is easily one of the most visually beautiful movies of the year. Certain scenes resemble works of art at times so this is a real treat for the eyes thanks to the cinematography and carefully chosen colour palette. The movie has a wonderful soundtrack too with classical music that will be soothing to your ears, capturing more than one of your senses.
While the aesthetics and sounds of the movie are pleasing to behold, the story told within is actually quite dark. This is a troubling drama about a talented young singer whose mental health has been affected by the relationship she has with her mother, the pressures of fame, and the voices of doubt that exist within her. As such, this isn’t an easy watch but it’s still worthwhile, not only for its craftsmanship but for the wonderful acting of Triptii Dimri who takes the lead in this haunting psychological drama.
All Quiet On the Western Front
War is hell! This is something you know already so you can be forgiven for dismissing this recent war movie if you overlooked its release on Netflix.
However, All Quiet On The Western Front isn’t a movie to be dismissed as it is truly one of the best movies of the year. Inspired by Erich Maria Remarque’s antiwar novel, it chronicles one young German soldier’s experiences on the frontline and as you can expect, those experiences are harrowing and heartbreaking. This isn’t to say the movie is relentlessly bleak as there are occasional moments of light relief but for the most part, this is a visceral and heart-pounding movie that you won’t be able to forget in a hurry.
Turning Red is ostensibly about Mei, a young girl who turns into a giant red panda whenever she gets excited. But if you have seen Pixar’s latest movie, you will know that it’s about much more than that as underneath its simple story, there are messages here about Chinese heritage, parent-child relationships, and puberty.
With regard to that latter theme, Turning Red has sparked controversy because the colour red is a metaphor for menstruation! But regardless of Pixar’s attempts to shed light on a sensitive (but universal) subject matter, the movie should still be recognised for its fabulous animation, excellent voice acting, and hilariously funny story about (literal) growing pains!
Is Nope the best movie of the year? Nope! But it certainly comes close to being the best thanks to Jordan Peele’s mastery at telling bizarre but fascinating stories that always have something meaningful to say. His story is told on a much grander scale than usual this time around as this is the closest he has come to making a blockbuster movie thanks to some exciting set-pieces and moments of visual wonder that offer Spielbergian levels of spectacle.
This still isn’t the mashup between Close Encounters and Independence Day that you may have expected, however. Peele is far more interested in raising points about fame and the treatment of Black people in Hollywood than he is about giving us an explosive sci-fi tale. That being said, there are still plenty of thrills to be had as Peele weaves together his intricate story, so while this isn’t your usual escapist fare, this is still one of the most imaginative and visually dazzling movies of the year.
Top Gun: Maverick
Was anybody really expecting Top Gun: Maverick to be such a brilliant movie? The original Top Gun, while fondly remembered, can hardly be considered one of the best movies of the 1980s. It was fun to be sure but it was also rather shallow, so there were fears that the sequel could turn out to be more of the same.
Thankfully, Top Gun: Maverick surpasses Tony Scott’s movie in every way, both in the air with its breathtaking and daringly dangerous flying sequences, and on the ground, with deeper relationships between the characters and a far more compelling story. There are still a few callbacks to the first movie so this doesn’t distance itself from it but as this is far more than just a nostalgia-fest, it can be enjoyed by both fans and non-fans of the 1986 original.
This is arguably the finest action movie of the year and it’s also one of the most emotional thanks to the scene between Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer that hits close to home because of Kilmer’s real-life battle with cancer. You’ll definitely shed a tear then but you’ll also whoop with joy whenever Cruise and co take to the skies in this gloriously exciting thrill-fest.
So, there we have it, our picks for the best movies of 2022! Let us know what you think of our choices in the comments below and remind us of any other movies that could be considered the ‘best’ of 2022.