The best films of 2022, from Tom Cruise to Paul Thomas Anderson – but who won the top spot?
While not a classic vintage, this year still offered some cinema gems, with indie darlings taking their place at the top of our table alongside one of the best blockbusters ever made. Here’s the definitive list of the best films of 2022.
1. EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE
This surreal comedy-drama stars Michelle Yeoh as a busy working mother who must stop an almighty force from destroying the Multiverse. Whether she’s required to be serious, do comedy, or kick ass, the legendary Malaysian star never disappoints. The most unusual, unpredictable and enjoyable film of the year.
2. THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN
Director Martin McDonagh returns five years on from his Oscar-winning Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri. He takes a small local drama – two friends falling out – and spins it in a centrifuge until it has the density and power of a collapsing star. Featuring pitch-black humour and moments of gratuitous violence, it’s elevated to classic status by Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, both on the form of their lives. Comfortably one of the best films of 2022.
3. TOP GUN MAVERICK
Tom Cruise creates the perfect blockbuster movie, mining just the right amount of nostalgia for the 1986 original and adding 36 years of movie-making experience. Gripping from start to finish, it’s quite simply unmissable.
4. HIT THE ROAD
One of the funniest films of the year, Hit the Road follows a family journeying to the northern border of Iran. Like Little Miss Sunshine with life-or-death stakes, it echoes the situation of refugees across the world with warmth and humanity.
This animated documentary is the most sincere and graceful film you’re likely to see this year. Director Jonas Poher Rasmussen interviews Amin Nawabi, his close friend from his school days in Denmark, about his past as a refugee from Afghanistan. What follows is a startling tale of suffering, ingenuity, and courage.
In his black and white historical drama Belfast, Kenneth Branagh set out to tell the story of “the people who left, the people who stayed, and the ones who were lost” during the Troubles. He does it with aplomb in this beautiful, heartbreaking modern classic.
Living is a stylish rumination on old age, dying and living life to the fullest, with Bill Nighy putting in the performance of a lifetime. Rewritten by Kazuo Ishiguro from the 1952 Akira Kurosawa film Ikiru, this story of a man breaking out of his daily routine is essential watching.
8. PARALLEL MOTHERS
Penelope Cruz teams up once more with director Pedro Almodovar to create a movie that features everything that’s too often absent from American cinema, from compelling female leads to nuanced moral dilemmas.
9. LICORICE PIZZA
A new film from Paul Thomas Anderson, one of the great auteurs of modern cinema, is always a treat and Licorice Pizza doesn’t disappoint. A giddy, gaudy coming of age story, it’s the kind of film that makes you glad to be alive, filled with sentimental – but never saccharine – moments of teenage love and loss.
10. THE SOUVENIR PART 2
A well-earned follow-up to the 2019 art house favourite, this drama about recovering from trauma and navigating toxicity is a showcase for the quality of alternative British filmmaking. Well deserving its place in the top 10 best films of 2022.