/Film’s Top 15 Movies Of 2022
/Film’s Top 15 Movies Of 2022

/Film’s Top 15 Movies Of 2022

Over the past week, the /Film editorial staff has published their personal lists of the best movies of 2022. And it all comes down to this: one final list representing the entire site. Our overall top 15 favorite movies of the year. And as you can see from the list below, it was one helluva good year for folks who like cinema.

Naturally, this list could never contain every favorite movie from every personal list, but once we crunched the numbers, this is where the chips fell. And what chips! A brutal anti-war movie. A delightfully honest Pixar romp. The most bombastic action/musical/bromance of all time. An unlikely blockbuster masterpiece. An unforgettable journey through the multiverse. Steven Spielberg. Guillermo del Toro. Jordan Peele. Daniel Craig with a southern accent. It’s hard to look at this list and not find at least one (or two, or three, or 10) movies that you deeply and powerfully love.

As we say goodbye (and good riddance) to 2022, let’s tip our hat to the very best movies that made the past year bearable.

  1. All Quiet on the Western Front

The sentiment “now more than ever” has all but completely lost its meaning after the last three years. What better time than now to revisit Erich Maria Remarque’s seminal and unflinching 1928 novel about the horrors of war? As interpreted by director Edward Berger and co-writers Berger, Lesley Paterson, and Ian Stokell, “All Quiet on the Western Front” is a bleakly cold and unglamorous adaptation of already brutal source material. Of course, it moved me to tears. It horrified me, and certain moments had me begging and pleading at the screen. (Ariel Fisher)

Edward Berger’s 2022 adaptation of “All Quiet on the Western Front” is the first major adaptation since Universal released its groundbreaking film 1930, and marks really the first time the story has been told by a German filmmaker. Berger’s take on the material is transcendent; he takes the original pacifist message of the novel, uses gritty, historically accurate, but then implements a contemporary score that really melds beautifully with the story being told. It is uncomfortable, but in the way that a war film should be. (Sarah Milner)

  1. Prey

Know that “Prey” also has the same subversive outlook as “Predator” when it comes to critiquing macho strutting and the limits of trying to overpower your enemies. Toss in the reverent, Malickian imagery of untarnished natural landscapes by director of photography Jeff Cutter and the film’s dynamic yet cohesive action scenes, and the results are one heck of a genre mashup. (Sandy Schaefer)

Sure, it helps that the kills are absolutely brutal and that it’s a genuinely entertaining watch. But Amber Midthunder’s performance as Naru is what sets “Prey” apart from other attempts at revisiting the wild and violent fun of the “Predator” series. Dan Trachtenberg’s direction and the efforts of the entire production team made a lot of people feel seen and like they belong, but this Comanche-language action movie is so memorable because it’s an absolute banger. It really is as simple as that. (Ariel Fisher)

  1. Marcel the Shell With Shoes On

There’s a quote from the great drummer Steve Jordan that I occasionally think about: “Simplicity is not stupidity.” This movie is simple, yes, but there’s a power in that simplicity and a confidence in its storytelling that I found incredibly refreshing. Let me put it another way: I watched this on a plane, and it still ended up as number 3 on my personal list. That’s how good this movie is. (Ben Pearson)

Jenny Slate’s voice for Marcel in “Marcel the Shell With Shoes On” is as cute and memorable as how tiny Marcel looks. The film had a long journey to the screen, starting out as three-minute shorts that director Dean Fleischer-Camp put together. Marcel is painfully adorable, but what makes the film stick in my brain is the endearing relationship Marcel has with his grandmother, Connie, who is voiced by none other than Isabella Rossellini. The film is funny and sweet, and it makes you want to hug your family and/or friends when it’s over. (Vanessa Armstrong)

  1. Babylon

“Babylon” is an operatic, bombastic experience, and as cheesy as it can occasionally be, you can feel the passion and the personality coursing through the whole thing. It’s debatable whether this is Chazelle’s equivalent of continuing to play music on the decks as the Titanic sinks (have you heard? He really loves jazz), but as Hollywood stumbles through one of the most tumultuous periods in its history, I can’t help but admire what he’s going for here. (Ben Pearson)

Despite being focused on the late 1920s and early 1930s of classic Hollywood, “Babylon” is about Hollywood at any given moment or time. No matter how many deplorable stories come from behind the scenes, no matter how many famous faces come and go, no matter how often crappy movies outnumber the good ones, there’s still movie magic being created every single year. “Babylon” is a big swing, and though box office reports are painting it as a big miss, this movie will be one that sticks with us for years to come. (Ethan Anderton)

  1. Turning Red

As skillful as Pixar’s artists have gotten at creating realistically rendered computer-animated worlds, there’s something to be said for those occasions where they’re allowed to remind us of the true joy of animation: Its ability to capture what real life feels like, not how it looks. Domee Shi’s “Turning Red,” I’m pleased to say, is one such occasion. It’s a film that goes beyond paying loving homage to the motifs and certain iconic visuals from the vast, varied world of anime (although it does that too) to replicating its vibrant spirit and kinetic energy. (Sandy Schaefer)

The way “Turning Red” addresses the hormonal changes of adolescent girls and the societal stigma around periods that really hit me. For a perfectly healthy person who doesn’t have to contend with menstrual issues or mental illness (I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, ADHD, and PCOS, and menstruation makes life debilitatingly difficult), periods are still a nightmare. Domee Shi’s “Turning Red” is a deeply moving testament to that — the debilitating pain, mental fog, and emotional fluctuations, as well as the shame and mockery that accompanies bleeding through a pad or tampon — and the need to break the cycle of oppressive misogyny, both internalized and societal. (Ariel Fisher)

“Turning Red” is a powerful film about breaking the cycles of generational trauma and learning to define your identity in the face of parental expectations. It’s also open and honest about the natural changes that come with growing up. When Mei first starts turning into the panda, her mother believes she’s gotten her first menstrual period, a moment that had some close-minded parents calling for a boycott of the film. On a purely technical level, the film is also a groundbreaking achievement in animation, combining the “CalArts style” that Pixar is known for with the styling of anime. (BJ Colangelo)

As a Canadian millennial, I found the world welcoming and familiar; as a former teenager, I found the coming-of-age story almost painfully relatable. It’s thoroughly charming and easily one of the year’s best films. (Sarah Milner)

  1. After Yang

Colin Farrell, in one of three great performances this year, is achingly sad as the father, who grapples with his memories and his affections for the malfunctioning robot. There’s a sequence here where Farrell and Min discuss tea that’s so lovely and so sweet in its simplicity and beauty that I could watch it over and over again. (Chris Evangelista)

There’s a mastery of tone on display that few other working directors possess; to watch a Kogonada movie is to fully step into a world where the filmmaker has not only thought through every aspect of what you’re seeing, but is also able to wrangle all of the elements in order to achieve that vision. Nothing feels compromised. Everything feels meticulous. And while some filmmakers can get lost in the technical details, Kogonada always brings a warmth to his movies that sets them apart. (Ben Pearson)

No matter what’s going on in our lives, there’s always beauty to behold somewhere, even if it’s not instantly recognizable. “After Yang” serves as the perfect reminder that sometimes the most inconsequential memories and observations can be the most potent. (Ethan Anderton)

  1. Barbarian
    20th Century Studios

Zach Cregger’s horror film “Barbarian” was one of the biggest surprises of 2022, and no other movie this year matched the “anything could happen” vibe this one gave me in the theater. What begins as a simple mix-up where Georgina Campbell books the same Airbnb as Bill Skarsgard quickly becomes something far more sinister, and I loved the way the movie’s unexpected structure kept me on my toes. (Ben Pearson)

Few horror films have taken twists and turns as shocking and expectation-defying as “Barbarian” in recent memory. But it would be one thing if all the movie had to offer was a wild, unpredictable ride. It’s the way it deploys its devious red herrings and narrative misdirection in service of a story about privilege — be it based on race, gender, or, when it comes to some of the film’s most subtle commentary, economic status — that makes “Barbarian” not just a frightening, surprising work of cinema, but also a legitimately great one. (Sandy Schaefer)

I love this movie so damn much. I was surprised to love something so bleak that deals with such uncomfortable and painful subject matter, but I spent the duration of “Barbarian” laughing, smiling, doing my best Leo Pointing impression, and screaming to no one but myself about how brilliant it is. As is often the case, the less you know about “Barbarian” going into it, the better its impact. (Ariel Fisher)

Zach Cregger’s darkly funny and brutal examination of safe spaces and the insidious underbelly of the American home is a delirious trip that is sure to discombobulate even the most seasoned horror fan. Freely rotating between gross-out nastiness, stomach-churning dread, and audience-pleasing wildness, “Barbarian” is the total package and the announcement of a new important name on the modern horror scene. (Jacob Hall)

  1. The Fabelmans

Steven Spielberg gets ultra-personal with “The Fabelmans,” a film based on his own childhood. But this isn’t Spielberg waxing nostalgic about his past — it’s the filmmaker examining his own origin story. It’s also about Spielberg grappling with the one event that has seemingly colored all of his movies — the divorce of his parents. A younger Spielberg blamed his father for the breakup, but the adult Spielberg now recognizes the complexities of what happened. The film is also about how Spielberg, represented by the avatar Sammy Fabelman, learned to both love movies — and love making them. (Chris Evangelista)

Spielberg is one of the best in the business, and he brings his everything to “The Fabelmans.” He has the audience in the palm of his hand; watching this film, you’re taken on an emotional journey that you can’t look away from. This is Spielberg’s life on film, and we’re all so lucky to see it. (Sarah Milner)

Steven Spielberg is one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. Full stop. At this point in his career, it would be easy for Spielberg to direct a film about his own complicated childhood and adolescence that celebrates the power of following your dreams and the magic of cinema, complete with some winks and nods to what would become his acclaimed filmmaking career. It’s a testament to the greatness of Spielberg that his semi-autobiographical film “The Fabelmans” isn’t defined by any of that. Yes, it certainly touches upon them, albeit in surprising ways, but the what makes “The Fabelmans” work so well is how introspective Spielberg gets, not just about himself, but the complex family dynamics that would become the driving force of his filmmaking career. (Ethan Anderton)

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