2022 Year In Review

By: Amanda Guarragi

2022 was filled with many wonderful films that took us by surprise. Whether they were epic blockbusters or fun indie films, they definitely left their mark. This year was incredibly rewarding for many different reasons and extremely difficult to get through, but we made it. Here are my favourite films of the year that gave me some of my favourite theatre experiences and have stayed with me. Also, I have some honourable mentions that should be on everyone’s catch-up list.

TOP 10 MOVIES OF 2022

1. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

Even though there have been many that have come before it, the reason why this version of Pinocchio is the best is because of the way the story is presented. Animation is a powerful medium that can turn one man’s grief into a magical exploration of human connection.

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio review excerpt

2. Top Gun: Maverick

In this case, director Joseph Kosinski takes the fans back to the 80s-style blockbuster and Tom Cruise gives a classic movie star performance to make the film one of the best of the year. Not only is it nostalgic, but it elevates the fighter jet sequences from the first instalment. This sequel improves upon what made Top Gun directed by Tony Scott so great in the first place. 

Top Gun: Maverick review excerpt

3. The Woman King

From the opening scene, Prince-Bythwood’s direction keeps the audience on the female warriors. The way these women carried themselves made you want to understand their process and how they think so differently than others in Dahomey. It was a beautiful display of sisterhood and unity when protecting something you love.

The Woman King review excerpt

4. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

is even more intricate than its predecessor and feels like a never-ending cycle of twists. The way Johnson set up this murder mystery plays out on different levels and it’s up to the audience to keep track of where the story is going. There are some unique choices made by Johnson both behind the camera and with his script.

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery review excerpt

5. RRR

It is one of the most entertaining films of the year. From the production value to the heartfelt friendship to the historical resonance of fighting for their people, what a picture. Incredible cinematography, score, costumes and fight sequences.

RRR review excerpt

6. Elvis

It isn’t a perfect movie, but it was a beautiful tribute to a man caught in a trap and couldn’t walk out. Luhrmann showed that he was being suffocated by the visuals onscreen through the strings pulled by Colonel Tom Parker. Some great editing choices and split screens worked because we got to see Presley’s growth as a performer and as a person.

Elvis review excerpt

7. Women Talking

It is tenderly directed by Sarah Polley as she uses the conversation among women to further create a safe space for the subject matter. It is an educational piece for men, women, and children to understand how to raise the next generation.

Women Talking review excerpt

8. The Banshees of Inisherin

McDonagh crafted one of the funniest, most heartfelt and dark scripts of the year. Friendships come in all forms and they constantly change over the years. It also highlights a midlife crisis for Colm, who feels he needs to do something for which he will be remembered. He questions the purpose of his life and his accomplishments.

The Banshees of Inisherin review excerpt

9. Babylon

This is Chazelle’s love letter to cinema history and how everyone in the industry has a part to play. No work is ever insignificant but a moving piece to propel the medium forward. Whether you’re a critic, producer, director, actor, or personal assistant, it all matters on the grand scale of the Hollywood scope.

Babylon review excerpt

10. The Menu

Mylod’s attention to detail inside and outside of the kitchen made for such an intriguing mystery. Chef Slowik (Ralph Fiennes) at Hawthorne’s planned a menu for his guests that co-writers Will Tracy and Seth Reiss worked into the structure of the film. The way Mylod directed each scene with the following course, while still assembling the development of these characters on screen was a real treat. 

The Menu review excerpt

Honourable Mentions

Bones and All

There’s a mixed wave of lust and discomfort while watching her, which is confusing. Then without thinking, she takes the girl’s finger into her mouth, and blood gushes everywhere. Guadagnino expertly combines grotesque imagery with sensuality to heighten every emotion in you. It’s impossible to look away at any point because it’s mesmerizing. 

Bones and All review excerpt

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

This is where the world-building gets fun in the magical realm. Whoever places their hand on the map has to go through certain obstacles that reflect the wish’s desire. Not only are the obstacles physical, but they are also psychological and affect the thought process of the person making the wish. It is a layered story for the characters who want to make their wish. And it explains how to make decisions, not only for yourself but for the others around you. 

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish review excerpt

She Said

Director Maria Schrader made some excellent choices to show the stories of the survivors. She let the stories breathe as the women would retell their painful memories to the journalists. Schrader never showed any physical moments between the survivors and Weinstein, which was the right choice. Given the title of this film, the words being spoken by the women became more powerful as there were only images implying how the situation had unravelled.

She Said review excerpt

Pearl

The film would not be complete without Tyler Bates’ thrilling score that would creep out at the right moments. These aspects are essential to set the tone and create an atmosphere for Pearl to project her personality into the frame. Goth delivers one of the best performances of the year as she shows her range.

Pearl review excerpt

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story

Al Yankovic combined his love for music and his comedic talents when writing this screenplay and made for one of the most exuberant movies of the year. The way Appel showed how songs like “My Bologna”, “Eat It”, and “Another One Rides The Bus” were being created on the spot by Weird Al was inspiring. You will be dancing in your seat and entranced by how talented Al Yankovic is. 

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story reviews excerpt

These films really surprised me this year and have stayed with me this entire year. If you haven’t seen the films on this list yet, then I sure do recommend them! Happy New Year everyone and I hope everyone has a blessed 2023!

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