So far, in our awards, we have looked at Action, Animation, Best of Australia, Cinematography, Costumes, Emotion, Fun, Music, Tension, and Worldbuilding.
However, in this last entry into our Best of 2022 awards, we crown our Best Film winner of 2022.
All films are subjective, so our list might look completely different from yours. Of the 102 films we revied last year, 92 had their Theatrical/Streaming in 2022, which is the list we draw our entries from. You can see the complete list of movies HERE.
Much like last year’s list, we have had many staggered releases towards the end of the year. So we may have films here that were released in 2021 for you but 2022 for us, and there may be some omissions here because we won’t get those films until later in 2023.
Okay, with that out of the way, let’s dive into the first entry in our list of Best Films of 2022.
I was intrigued when I heard about a Kaiju film coming out of Norway, and I am glad I watched it. There was a moment of wonder as you saw the Troll stomping through downtown Oslo in all its glory. But Troll is also a film that captures the genre’s feel with both delightful and slightly sad moments. Also, it is always good to dabble a bit in mythology.
Directed by – Roar Uthaug
Written by – Espen Aukan
19: Marry Me
Marry Me might hit every beat you need to do in a romantic comedy, but it works. That is partly because the scenario is ridiculous, but they lean into it entirely, and the cast commits to this completely. Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson have great chemistry with each other, and the music 100% slaps.
Directed by – Kat Coiro
Screenplay by – John Rogers, Tami Sagher & Harper Dill
Based on – Marry Me by Bobby Crosby
18: The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson
The Drover’s Wife is an unflinching look at rural Australia on the cusp of the 1900s. It takes a work of classic Australian fiction and then applies an Indigenous lens to the proceedings. We get a film that is both breathtaking and brutally confronting. The world of The Snowy Mountains and a strong cast bring this story to life, and I am glad I watched it.
Nominated – Best Australian Film
Winner – Best Australian Film
17: The Phantom of the Open
Look, I need to be open that The Phantom of the Open might have a special place in my heart because it felt like Mark Rylance was ultimately channelling my grandfather in his performance. It is always lovely to watch the underdog try to go for the best and to see the arrogant employees get taken down a notch. Like that one shopping scene from Pretty Women but a film long and with some consequences. This honestly moved me, and I am thankful that I watched this before seeing Mark Rylance in Bones and All.
Nominated – The Emotion
Directed by – Craig Roberts
Screenplay by – Simon Farnaby
Based on –The Phantom of the Open: Maurice Flitcroft, The World’s Worst Golfer by Simon Farnaby & Scott Murray
16: The Menu
The biggest surprise on this list is The Menu because I had no idea what the heck I was in for when I sat down to watch it. I don’t want to go too much into this film because it is best experienced with as little pre-detail as possible. However, there is an impeccable style to every movement, every dish, and every performance. It goes to some wild places, but I still liked it, nevertheless.
Nominated – All the Tension
Directed by – Mark Mylod
Written by – Seth Reiss & Will Tracy
Story by – Will Tracy
15: Avatar: The Way of Water
No one builds worlds like James Cameron, and Avatar: The Way of Water is no exception. This world was such a joy to behold, and I must say that it took my breath away on more than one occasion. The amount of detail that had gone into creating every detail made jumping back into this story after so long so worth the trip, and I can’t wait to see where else in Pandora they will go next. Of course, space whales always tug at my heart.
Nominated – Fascinating Worldbuilding
Directed by – James Cameron
Story by – James Cameron, Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Josh Friedman & Shane Salerno
Screenplay by – James Cameron, Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver
Based on – Characters created by – James Cameron
14: The Northman
Only one film on this list is an action-packed spectacle back in the era of Norse raiders while also being a complete Shakespearean tragedy, and that film is The Northman. This combination is honestly wild, even before we start delving into some of the more mystical parts of Norse mythology. Alexander Skarsgård completely commits to one of the most physical roles I have seen this year, and Nicole Kidman swings for the fences in all the right ways.
Nominated – Explosive Action,
Directed by – Robert Eggers
Written by – Sjón & Robert Eggers
Based on – The Legend of Amleth
13: The Woman King
The Woman King was the final film we reviewed for our 2022 list and instantly jumped onto our top film list. It is brimming with raw energy you feel from the moment all the Agojie stand up in the grass. Viola Davis gets to give one of the best ‘rally the troops’ speeches I have seen in a while, and you ultimately believe it. Every part of the film is dripping in detail with some of the best costuming I have seen all year. You feel the narrative’s drive at all times, and you are completely caught up in seeing it draw to a close.
Nominated – Explosive Action, Stunning Costumes,
Winner – Stunning Costumes
Directed by – Gina Prince-Bythewood
Story by – Maria Bello & Dana Stevens
Screenplay by – Dana Stevens
If there is one word I would use to describe Ambulance, it would be ‘wild’. This film starts by putting its foot on the accelerator and never gives up until the end credits roll. Jake Gyllenhaal is giving one of his best performances to date and completely gels with Michael Bay’s energy. The action scenes are almost unbeaten this year and show the best use of drone photography I have seen. This is a hurricane of entertainment, and I am glad I watched it.
Nominated – Explosive Action, Beautiful Cinematography, Most Fun
Winner – Beautiful Cinematography
Directed by – Michael Bay
Based on – Ambulancen by Laurits Munch-Petersen
Screenplay by – Chris Fedak
11: The Bad Guys
Some films can capture energy in their style, and The Bad Guys is one of them. There was electricity to the animation from the first moment it blasted onto our screen. It is filled with a motley assortment of characters perfectly suited for the heist film we get. All the cast are throwing themselves into their roles, and the narrative gets your hooks into you. Can you pick the villain from a mile away? Yes. Does it matter in the least? Absolutely not. I had so much fun here; it was one of the year’s best discoveries.
Nominated – Creative Animation,
Directed by – Pierre Perifel
Screenplay by – Etan Cohen
Based on – The Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey
10: The Batman
To say that DC has had a rough 12 months is a bit of an understatement. However, if there was one gem in all that mess, it was The Batman. As an emo Batman out for vengeance and not for justice, Robert Pattinson makes for one of the better character arcs for the character. And the film absolutely commits to this, down to the black eye makeup that they embrace at all times. It is a dark, grimy world that the film embraces to its own credit, giving the film substance that I feel a lot of recent DC films have been missing. Every cast member gets a moment to shine, including one of three outstanding performances of Colin Farrell in 2022. If nothing else, it would be on this list for the car chase alone.
Nominated – Explosive Action, Exquisite Musical Score,
Directed by – Matt Reeves
Written by – Matt Reeves & Peter Craig
Based on – Characters from DC
Belfast might be one of the more divisive films on this list. I have talked to people who loved it and those that absolutely despised it. It was one of the more fascinating discussions I have had this year. However, I fell into that first camp because I was captured at every stage of this film. Jamie Dornan captivates every moment he is on the screen, and Judi Dench and Ciarán Hinds might have some of the best banter on screen this year. But at the heart of the film is the performance of Jude Hill, who is trying to navigate growing up in a world that is dramatically shifting under his feet. It was a surprisingly tense film at times, and it stabbed my heart as well, a double threat.
Nominated – The Emotion, All the Tension,
Directed by – Kenneth Branagh
Written by – Kenneth Branagh
8: The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
You rarely see a film where the entire narrative would not work if an actor was not there. In The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, Nick Cage plays a fictional version of himself and the personification of a younger version of the fictional version of himself. While you are trying to wrap your head around that, he then has to go undercover with a drug kingpin to try and get dirt on him. This is where we are introduced to Pedro Pascal’s character and get the second-best bromance in cinema this year. We also got one of the most meta stories I have ever experienced, and it felt like it was all going to fall apart at any moment, but it held on by its fingernails.
Nominated – Most Fun
Winner – Most Fun
Directed by – Tom Gormican
Written by – Tom Gormican & Kevin Etten
7: Turning Red
Turning Red is one of those films I didn’t know what to expect when I sat down to watch. It is a movie that perfectly encapsulates a time and place. It also felt like it had a level of authenticity that you don’t often see in films marketed to that demographic. This alone would have made Turning Red an exciting movie to watch. Still, then we get to the heart of the narrative about living up to the expectations of society, the generational divide and how that affects relationships, and also that our family have a secret where we turn into red pandas, and not just red pandas but the cutest personification of a red panda. Well, then that becomes a delight to watch.
Nominated – Creative Animation,
Directed by – Domee Shi
Story by – Domee Shi, Julia Cho & Sarah Streicher
Screenplay by – Julia Cho & Domee Shi
Predator is a series that had become incredibly bloated with all the interconnecting and inconsequential lore bogging it down. Then Prey comes along, strips all the superfluous rubbish away, focuses on the franchise’s core concept and excels because of it. Amber Midthunder storms onto the film and completely nails the physicality and strength of mind needed to take down an alien realistically. The movie knows how to use tension, which is helped by your key villain being invisible for a large chunk of the film. Honestly, I think the French camp scene might be one of the wildest scenes I watched this year. A solid action film that builds on that foundation to be a fascinating character piece and one of the year’s highlights.
Nominated – Explosive Action, All the Tension, Fascinating Worldbuilding,
Directed by – Dan Trachtenberg
Story by – Patrick Aison & Dan Trachtenberg
Screenplay by – Patrick Aison
No film this year has hit as hard as RRR did, and I think no movie has had a cinema experience like this. RRR is a comedy, a bromance, an action film, a critique of colonisation, a biting commentary on Great Britain, a dance battle, a romance, a historical epic, an exploration of revolution, and a religious allegory. There is no way a film could be all this thing and still be a coherent narrative, but somehow RRR holds it all together. N. T. Rama Rao Jr. and Ram Charan have such immense charisma that you buy entirely anything they do. Everything in this film hits that little bit harder than you often see, giving the film a real impact. Watching this film with people and seeing their first-time experiences of joy and shock has been one of the great delights of the year.
Nominated – Explosive Action, Stunning Costumes, Most Fun, Exquisite Musical Score,
Winner – Explosive Action
Directed by – S. S. Rajamouli
Story by – K. V. Vijayendra Prasad & Sai Madhav Burra
Screenplay by – S. S. Rajamouli
4: Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
Well, if there was one film that emotionally wrecked me this year, it was Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio. It was a beautiful reimagining of the traditional Pinocchio story that gave the narrative a little more pathos. All of this is realised in a flawless, stop-motion style. You feel the emotions in every moment, the detail is phenomenal, and the performances support this at every level. This is all combined with Guillermo del Toro’s trademark style, which is striking as we delve into the more mystical elements of the story. From its beginning to the closing credits, I was captivated by this story, and my eyes were full of tears.
Nominated – Creative Animation, The Emotion,
Winner – Creative Animation,
Directed by – Guillermo del Toro & Mark Gustafson
Story by – Guillermo del Toro & Matthew Robbins
Screenplay by – Guillermo del Toro & Patrick McHale
Based on –The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
3: Top Gun: Maverick
Watching the first Top Gun was interesting, but I was not sure what the big fuss was about. However, as I walked out of Top Gun: Maverick, I absolutely got it. To say this film was electric feels like I am underselling it because I was stuck on the edge of my seat for long sections of this movie. It was nice to see Tom Cruise have to put in some character work other than his usually cocky, know-it persona. Here he needs the help of others, even if he is still the embodiment of a flyboy. There is a physicality to those advanced fighter jets as you feel the roar of the engines in your seat because of the sound as they scream through the canyons. Add a stellar final act to this, and you have one of the most engaging films this year.
Nominated – Explosive Action,
Directed by – Joseph Kosinski
Story by – Peter Craig & Justin Marks
Screenplay by – Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer & Christopher McQuarrie
Based on – Top Gun by Jim Cash & Jack Epps Jr.
1: Everything Everywhere All at Once
The hardest decision I had this year was trying to split first and second place, with me going back and forth between the two in a vain attempt to separate them. Then I realised that I did not have to separate them at all. I only needed to flip a coin to see which one I listed first. I came to watch Everything Everywhere All at Once because I have always liked Michelle Yeoh as an actor and wanted to see her in a film that let her dramatic talents soar. I was hoping for some good action scenes and a compelling narrative. Well, I got that, but I also got so much more. Here we get a compelling story of an immigrant family trying to find their way as structures and traditions fail. This is all before the film opens up its multiverse premise, and can I say that this was the only exciting multiverse we got this year. The visual and emotional approach to the realities of a multiverse situation pulled on my heartstrings. Add to this stand-out supporting performances from Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan, James Hong & Jamie Lee Curtis, and you have one of the films from this year that will linger with me for a long time.
Nominated – Explosive Action, , Beautiful Cinematography, Exquisite Musical Score, Fascinating Worldbuilding
Winner – Fascinating Worldbuilding,
Directed by – Dan Kwan & Daniel Scheinert
Written by – Dan Kwan & Daniel Scheinert
1: After Yang
One of the difficulties I had in separating After Yang and Everything Everywhere All at Once is because both films explore notions of family and identity in a future setting, but while EEAAO uses bombastic flies to the opposite side of the emotional spectrum with quiet contemplation. Both are legitimate techniques and can get to the heart of emotion. After Yang explores what it means to be sentient, how do you connect to parts of your family that are very different from yourself, and how far will you go to save someone that is not your own flesh and blood? This is another film this year where Colin Farrell shone in what was an excellent year for him. You felt his drive as he tried to find someone to fix his son. Another strength of After Yang is how it used soft worldbuilding to create a whole without needing to do an exposition dump. You feel the world because you are immersed in it. Some films hit you with emotion, like a wave crashing on you at the beach. After Yang was more like the tide coming in, a slow build, but just as effective.
Nominated – The Emotion, Fascinating Worldbuilding
Directed by – Kogonada
Written by – Kogonada
Based on – Saying Goodbye to Yang by Alexander Weinstein
With that, our awards for 2022 end, it was an excellent year for cinema, and we look forward to continuing our coverage into 2023.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
What are your favourite cinematic moments from 2022?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.
Credits – All images used were created by the respective studios and artists of each film
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