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  • Writer's picturePerrin Faerch

My 100 Favourite Films of 2022 (100-76)

So once again, here we are. As per usual, I watched a shit-ton of movies last year, with 367 of them ticking off the boxes in terms of qualifying for my 2022 list based on specific release criteria. So naturally, I had my work cut out for me once more. The eventual, final shortlist came down to 147 films, all of which I enjoyed thoroughly. But here are the films I resonated with the most...The Top order.

So, what were the criteria for qualifying for this list? Some of these films debuted in 2021 and 2020, but only at film festivals that were barely accessible to the wider public. So everything on here made their debuts outside of that bubble through wider theatrical runs, streaming premieres, virtual screenings, etc. in countries like the USA, UK and South Africa.

Remember, this is all my subjective opinion, in no way am I saying which film is better than the other. These are films that just resonated with me the most, some more than others. It eventually boils down to what I enjoyed the most and connected with that adheres to my taste and who I am.

So once again, this is all like, just my opinion, man.

Off we go…

100. Scream

Directors: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin & Tyler Gillet

Genre/s: Horror/Mystery/Thriller/Comedy Length: 1 Hour 54 Minutes Language: English Country: USA

Cast: Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega, Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, David Arquette, Mikey Madison, Jack Quaid, Dylan Minnette, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Mason Gooding, Kyle Gallner, Hayden Panettiere

Synopsis: Set 25 years after the first rampage of murders that rocked the small town of Woodsboro, a new killer sports the return of the Ghostface mask, targeting teenagers that will resurrect secrets of the town’s bloody past.

My Take: I can already hear some of you groaning “you lost me at Scream and we have only just started”. But hey I can’t help it, the fifth installment of the franchise is probably my favourite since the first film, and true to Scream fashion retains its meta-identity which makes it such a fun franchise to be a part of in the first place. I have always regarded the Scream franchise to be horror comedies rather than just straight-up slasher flicks and thankfully that self-aware sense of humour is still in abundance through its aforementioned meta-commentary, this time setting its sights on toxic fandom which, ironically, has split the fanbase comprised of those who either embrace what Scream (V) is going for or miss the point entirely and have become what the film is so clearly making fun of. Love it or hate it, it’s still a franchise I have immense fun with and with this entry, shows it still has loads to play and have fun with.

Where you can watch it: Paramount+ (USA, UK, Australia), Showmax (SA), Most VOD Platforms (Worldwide).

99. The Menu

Director: Mark Mylod Writers: Seth Reiss & Will Tracy

Genre/s: Comedy/Thriller Length: 1 Hour 47 Minutes Country: USA Language/s: English

Cast: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Fiennes, Nicholas Hoult, Hong Chau, Janet McTeer, Aimee Carrero, John Leguizamo, Arturo Castro

Synopsis: A young couple (Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicholas Hoult) join other VIP guests for an eccentric chef’s (Ralph Fiennes) extreme dinner service at his exclusive restaurant on a private, remote island.

My Take: Although not a new niche genre, “eat the rich” movies have made a roaring comeback over the past few years from the Oscar dominant Parasite (2019), Snowpiercer (2013, also from Bong Joon-ho) both Knives Out entries (2019 and 2022), Ready or Not (2019), Hustlers (2019), The Platform (2019), Triangle of Sadness (2022) (just to name a few), and of course The Menu. Although not as nuanced and smart as Ruben Östlund’s Palm d’Or winning Triangle of Sadness, The Menu is still another immensely entertaining and satisfying piece of satire that is arguably more palatable and accessible than that of Triangle. It’s funny, dark and intense - showcasing an excellent ensemble as they lap up everything thrown their way, having as much fun in their roles as we do seeing them punished by service sick of licking their boots.

Where you can watch it: HBO Max (USA), Disney+ (Worldwide).

98. The Good Nurse

Director: Tobias Lindholm Writer: Krysty Wilson-Cairns based on the book by Charles Graeber

Genre/s: Drama/Thriller Length: 2 Hours 1 Minute Country: USA Language: English

Cast: Jessica Chastain, Eddie Redmayne, Kim Dickens, Noah Emmerich, Nnamdi Asomugha

Synopsis: Based on a true story, Nurse Amy (Jessica Chastain) begins to suspect her new colleague Charles (Eddie Redmayne) may have something to do with dozens of patients dying under suspicious circumstances over the past decade.

My Take: There’s an ice-cold chill that permeates throughout The Good Nurse. Director Tobias Lindholm and his DOP in Jody Lee Lipes frame and employ an incisive and probing camera language that cleverly keeps us at a distance from the motivations, or lack thereof even, of nurse and now well-documented serial killer Charles Cullen (Eddie Redmayne). With excellent direction and top-notch performances, The Good Nurse dabbles in familiar crime procedural territories as well as giving us interesting insight into a friendship that blooms as fast as it disappears. Eddie Redmayne in particular, deserved more love for this performance, delivering a highly unsettling portrayal of Charles Cullen that is as cold as it is unassuming. Oftentimes terrifying in its sheer coldness and varying distances from its big bad monster, The Good Nurse is as good as a slow-burning true crime thriller can get.

Where you can watch it: Netflix (Worldwide).

97. Tantura

Director: Alon Schwarz Writer/s: Halil Efrat, Alon Schwarz and Shaul Schwarz

Genre: Documentary Length: 1 Hour 34 Minutes Country: Israel Language/s: Hebrew, Arabic, English

Synopsis: An investigation into the brutal invasion of the Palestinian village of Tantura in 1948 by Israeli forces, where Palestinian survivors and Israeli soldiers alike claim witness to a massacre of civilians by Israeli troops.

My Take: Claiming to have the most “moral army” in the world, Israel’s history suggests otherwise. Case and point: the village of Tantura, which has conveniently been hushed and swept under the rug by the Israeli government as something that didn’t really happen. Made by Israeli filmmakers, Tantura uncovers the bloody massacre that took place in the village of Tantura in 1948, offering sobering testimonies and eyewitness accounts from former Israeli troops, survivors, families of victims and even the Israeli population that eventually moved in. It’s a terrifying account of trauma, guilt, remorse and, shockingly, even pride from certain perpetrators claiming it was for the good of the nation and the survival of the Jewish people. Tantura isn’t an anti-Jewish film by any means, but a sobering document that demands acknowledgment and accountability from a government that chooses to ignore the morally evil actions of its past and present. Essential viewing.

Where you can watch it: Most VOD Platforms (Worldwide).

96. Good Night Oppy

Director: Ryan White Writer/s: Ryan White & Helen Kearns

Genre: Documentary Length: 1 Hour 45 Minutes Country: USA Language: English

Synopsis: A surprisingly heartwarming portrait of the first two unmanned vehicles to explore and capture footage of the surface of Mars.

My Take: Not since Wall-E have we seen such a loveable duo of robots toiling away on a distant planet for humanity’s betterment. But instead of cleaning up an uninhabitable, deserted Earth, Good Night Oppy follows the real-life adventures of Spirit and Opportunity, rovers that delivered the extraordinary images of Mars’ landscape to us for over 15 years. Chronicling their journey from inception to landing and finally their inevitable finale, Good Night Oppy is a beautiful love letter to science, exploration and the bright future we hold in our grasp as we look to the stars to best understand ourselves and our place within this great, big universe. A Surprisingly touching doccie that may bring a tear or two once the credits roll.

Where you can watch it: Prime Video (Worldwide).

95. Apollo 10 ½ : A Space Age Childhood

Director: Richard Linklater

Genre/s: Animation/Comedy/Sci-Fi Length: 1 Hour 37 Minutes Language: English Country: USA

Cast: Milo Coy, Glen Powell, Jack Black, Zachary Levi, Lee Eddy,Bill Wise

Synopsis: Set in the suburbs of Houston, Texas, 1969, Apollo 10 ½ is the coming of age story centered around a boy and his involvement in the Apollo 11 moon landing.

My Take: Continuing with the space theme, Richard Linklater (Boyhood, Before Trilogy, Dazed & Confused) brings his usual brand of suburbia with his third roto-scoped feature (after Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly) that has all the hallmarks of prime Linklater. Witty, observational and episodic, Linklater is a master at creating a certain sense of nostalgia that simultaneously exists in the past and present, and with Apollo 10 ½,’s magic, allows us to relive and recollect on our own youth, whether we choose to believe our recollections or not.

Where you can watch it: Netflix (Worldwide).

94. She Said

Director: Maria Schrader

Genre: Drama Length: 2 Hours 9 Minutes Country: USA Language: English

Cast: Carey Mulligan, Zoe Kazan, Samantha Morton, Patricia Clarkson, Ashley Judd, Jennifer Ehle, Andre Braugher, Zach Grenier

Synopsis: Based on the true story of journalists Megan Twohey (Carey Mulligan) and Jodi Kantor (Zoe Kazan)’s investigative report that exposed the sexual abuse committed by powerful Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

My Take: I’m an absolute sucker for journalist-centered films and She Said fires on all the cylinders that make me love these kinds of films so much. Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan (more leading roles for her please) are the perfect pairing in Maria Schrader’s chronicle of events that led to an article in The New York Times that exposed the rampant sexual abuse committed by Harvey Weinstein. She Said isn’t necessarily breaking the mold in terms of what these kinds of films have done before (see All the President’s Men, The Insider, Network, etc.), but what it does extremely well, is it takes an appropriately straightforward approach in its sequencing and uncovering of events, allowing for Weinstein’s victims and survivors to tastefully expose the abuse of power he got away with for far too long.

Where you can watch it: Peacock Premium (USA), Most VOD Platforms (Worldwide).

93. Jockey

Director: Clint Bentley

Genre/s: Drama/Sport Length: 1 Hour 34 Minutes Language: English Country: USA

Cast: Clifton Collins Jr., Molly Parker, Moises Arias

Synopsis: With the arrival of a strong new horse and a rookie rider claiming to be his son (Moises Arias), aging jockey Jackson (Clifton Collins Jr.) prepares for an upcoming championship which could very well be his last.

My Take: Toeing the line between poetic naturalism and gritty realism, Jockey is a gorgeous rendering of the modest life of a jockey, those committed to the craft that has led them to a world riddled with constant pain and psychological self-abuse. Jackson (Clifton Collins Jr.) is no different, holding onto the ideal of needing to win at all costs, which has led him to physically abuse himself in the hopes of glory at the twilight of his career. Director Clint Bentley was wise not to want to make a straightforward sports movie of the “underdog against the world” but really allow us to get a feel for this world, an intimate one that feels part documentary as much as it does a sports drama. It’s not really the sport we are focusing on, but the people that occupy those changing rooms, the ones that break their bones in order to achieve the glory they have sought all their lives. Although consistently reliable in mostly supporting roles, character actor Clifton Collins Jr. has somehow very rarely been handed the role of leading man. Thankfully, he is given the chance with Jockey, perfectly embodying the protagonist desperately clinging onto his career in the hopes of one last golden goose to come his way. Raw, intimate and lyrical. Clifton Collins Jr. allows for Jockey to shine.

Where you can watch it: Starz (USA), Now TV Cinema (UK), Most VOD Platforms (Worldwide).

92. Bodies Bodies Bodies

Director: Halina Reijn

Genre/s: Comedy/Mystery Length: 1 Hour 34 Minutes Country: USA Language: English

Cast: Amandla Stenberg, Maria Bakalova, Rachel Sennott, Chase Sui Wonders, Pete Davidson, Lee Pace, Myha’la Herrold

Synopsis: A group of friends stay together in a mansion during a hurricane. But after a party game goes horribly wrong, they find themselves at odds with their loyalty and friendship to one another as any one of them could be the murderer.

My Take: The Thing with (mostly) insufferable zoomers (plus two millennials) trapped in a mansion minus the titular monster of a previously mentioned classic? Sign me up. Bodies (x3) is a frequently hilarious whodunit that loves to have fun with its cast, but most importantly, makes fun of them and all their flaws, and boy do they have a lot of them. But Bodies doesn’t just look to take cheap shots at a younger generation but looks to delve deeper into themes of wealth privilege and trust - tapping into the paranoia of our times much like The Thing did back in the 50’s and 80’s. With a superb cast and a razor-sharp script, Bodies Bodies Bodies is far smarter than what appears on the tin.

Where you can watch it: Showtime (USA), Most VOD Platforms (Worldwide).

91. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

Director: Dean Fleischer Camp

Genre/s: Animation/Comedy/Drama/Family Length: 1 Hour 30 Minutes Country: USA Language: English

Cast: Jenny Slate, Isabella Rossellini, Dean Fleischer Camp, Lesley Stahl

Synopsis: Marcel (voiced by Jenny Slate), a tiny 1-inch tall shell, lives alone with his grandmother Connie (voiced by Isabella Rossellini), looks to be reunited with their community after they vanished one day.

My Take: Based on the popular series of short films from 2010 and made by the same team behind them, Marcel makes a triumphant return that is most welcome. Expectedly funny and cute, however, I don’t think any of us could’ve predicted something as heartwarming and as sweet as this. Marcel the Shell is one of those rare family films that really is for the whole family. Like 2021’s Petite Maman (my number 1 film of 2021), the Paddington movies, Studio Ghibli and Pixar (just to name a few), it breaks the stigma that family films are just for kids. It’s tricky to make a true family film – one that allows each age group to experience and relate to it on different levels depending on how old they are and where they are in their lives. It’s what makes those previously mentioned films and studios so powerful in that you can watch those films at any age and unpack something new depending on where you are in your life. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On does just that, giving us cute characters that are endlessly relatable, delivering important messages like finding a sense of belonging and purpose, community, unconditional love, loss, etc. This one may just leave you in a puddle of tears as Marcel looks to capture your imagination and win your heart all over again.

Where you can watch it: Showtime (USA), In Theatres (UK), Most VOD Platforms (Australia).

90. Between Two Dawns

Director: Selman Nacar

Genre: Drama Length: 1 Hour 31 Minutes Language/s: Turkish/English Country: Turkey

Cast: Mücahit Koçak, Nezaket Erden, Burcu Gölgedar, Erdem Şenocak

Synopsis: Kadir (Mücahit Koçak) is forced to make a moral decision that could affect his future, his family’s business and the lives of an injured factory worker’s family.

My Take: Like the recent flurry of “eat the rich” movies gifted to us over the years. 2022 also gifted us with a number of films focusing on bosses having to make morally hard decisions that could benefit the businesses/companies they’re in charge of, but corrupt their own morals in the process. Another World, The Good Boss and here, Between Two Dawns, forces audiences to stew in the hot seat with our protagonists who find themselves in morally difficult scenarios. It's a tense drama with all the hallmarks of a white-knuckled thriller, forcing Kadir (Mücahit Koçak) to come to terms with what is morally good to what will benefit his own personal goals. It’s a film that doesn’t look to stand on the moral high ground and judge its characters but emplores them to do the right thing, asking us to look at our own lives and question whether we could cross that line, one that grows more transparent with each passing day.

Where you can watch it: MUBI (Worldwide).

89. The Territory

Director: Alex Pritz

Genre: Documentary Length: 1 Hour 25 Minutes Countries: Brazil, Denmark, USA Language: Portuguese/Tupi

Synopsis: After a network of Brazilian farmers begin to seize protected Amazonian land from the indigenous Uru-eu-wau-wau people, young leaders begin fighting back to protect their land and their small community’s future.

My Take: An up-close and personal documentary that does an incredibly effective job in seeing both sides of the coin in a bid to understand the devastating environmental and cultural war taking place in Brazil’s forests as they shrink at an alarming rate. The Territory doesn’t just follow the perspective of the endangered Uru-eu-wau-wau people, but also that of a few farmers who are threatening their existence by invading and stealing their homes. The Territory does an incredibly poignant job in providing context that allows the uninformed to see the who’s, why's and hows of their situation through cultural, historical and political context. It’s one of the most urgent films of the year that unfortunately, is one of the most depressing, showing us the ignorance of the modern man as we hurdle closer and closer to our own destruction. Thankfully, there are the few who continue to desperately fight the good fight in delaying our own apocalypse.

Where you can watch it: Disney+ (Worldwide).

88. To Leslie

Director: Michael Morris

Genre: Drama Length: 1 Hour 59 Minutes Language: English Country: USA

Cast: Andrea Riseborough, Marc Maron, Owen Teague, Allison Janney, Stephen Root, Andre Royo

Synopsis: A West Texas mother (Andrea Riseborough) squanders her lottery winnings through drugs and alcohol. Years later, she looks to repair the damages she caused to those around her and most importantly, her son (Owen Teague), as she desperately searches for redemption.

My Take: Featuring one of 2022’s most acclaimed performances that also led to one of this year’s Oscar’s most talked about controversies thanks to Andrea Riseborough’s surprise (but deserved) nomination, To Leslie is as good as Andrea Riseborough makes it, and thankfully it’s also down to an exceptional script that allows not only her, but the entire cast to let the themes and ideas shine so brightly. Redemption played a key part in some of the most beloved film performances and stories of last year. Whether it’s Brendan Fraser or Ke Huy Quan making long-deserved comebacks to dominate awards season and the stories we saw on the big screen, To Leslie captures the essence of the redemption story we can’t help but find ourselves wanting and needing to come to fruition. The character of Leslie could easily have been played ham-fisted - an addict desperately trying to get her life together but can’t seem to figure it out. But Riseborough is as good as they say she is…better actually. She provides a performance that feels so authentic and lived-in, a marathon that is highly nuanced in intent and execution. To Leslie is an emotionally exhausting ride, but earns its hard-fought finale that is delivered with a sincere quietness with which only the likes of Andrea Riseborough’s talent could provide.

Where you can watch it: Now TV Cinema (UK), Most VOD Platforms (USA, UK).

87. Fire Island

Director: Andrew Ahn

Genre/s: Comedy/Romance/LGBTQIA+ Length: 1 Hour 45 Minutes Language: English Country: USA

Cast: Joel Kim Booster, Bowen Yang, Conrad Ricamora, Margaret Cho, Matt Rogers, Thomas Maros, Torian Miller, James Scully, Nick Adams, Zane Phillips

Synopsis: A group of queer best friends gather for their annual week of vacation together in the gay holiday paradise that is Fire Island Pines. But a sudden change in their dynamic soon threatens their future in not only Fire Island, but their friendships as well.

My Take: There were two queer rom-coms geared towards a more mainstream audience that dropped in 2022. Bros received the most attention thanks to its wide rollout via a major studio in Universal Pictures. It’s a decent, fun rom-com but Fire Island is the better rom-com of the two (or the one I enjoyed more, at least) that deserved the theatrical rollout just as much as Bros did. Written by lead Joel Kim Booster, Fire Island is loosely inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice – trading the English countryside for the gay paradise of Fire Island Pines, New York. Like Pride and Prejudice, the themes of Fire Island are very similar: observations of class differences among the varying queer social circles, the importance of family/friendship that allows not just our protagonist, but each one of our beloved tight-knit group of best friends to grow through adversities and triumphs internally and externally. It’s not terribly deep, but it doesn’t need to be, offering us a wholesome, funny romantic comedy that doesn’t end in tragedy like a large majority of queer love stories do - an outcome we often find ourselves romanticizing too much for. And in a world where there is still too much intolerance and misunderstanding towards the LGBTQIA+ community, it’s most certainly welcome.

Where you can watch it: Hulu (USA), Disney+ (Worldwide).

86. Cinema Sabaya

Director: Orit Fouks Rotem

Genre: Drama Length: 1 Hour 31 Minutes Country: Israel Languages: Hebrew/Arabic/English

Cast: Dana Ivgy, Amal Murkus, Aseel Farhat, Khawalah Hag-Debsy, Joanna Said, Marlene Bajjali, Orit Samuel

Synopsis: A group of women, both Arabic and Jewish take part in a filmmaking workshop hosted by Rona, a young filmmaker (Dana Ivgy), where each of their perspectives challenges the beliefs and dynamics of each woman to one another.

My Take: Cinema Sabaya is a film that could easily have crossed the line into cheesy wishful thinking territory of “everybody hold hands and love each other!”. But thank goodness it does not. Challenging students to film their daily lives through a variety of different scenarios and technical challenges that observe and confront their own personal lives, filmmaker and course teacher Rona (Dana Ivgy) creates discussions amongst her students that has them experiencing and seeing different facets of each other's lives that show how similar they all really are, as well as showcasing how vastly different their situational lives are. Performed and shot with a nuanced realism that makes it feel like a documentary, Cinema Sabaya is impressive, assured filmmaking that breaks down social conventions in fascinating new ways without ever speaking down to its audience.

Where you can watch it:

85. Wildcat

Director/s: Trevor Frost & Melissa Lesh

Genre: Documentary Length: 1 Hour 46 Minutes Country: USA Language/s: English, Spanish

Synopsis: A former soldier suffering from PTSD, develops a bond with a baby ocelot deep in the jungles of Peru.

My Take: A former British soldier and veteran of the war in Afghanistan, Harry Turner’s extraordinary journey to recovery and self-discovery is captured with raw intensity in Wildcat. Tasked with having to raise and prepare an abandoned ocelot to be released into the wild, we see an almost real-time transformation in him as these animals help him as much as he helps them (as corny as that sounds). But it’s not necessarily a soothing, calming viewing experience, Wildcat is such an intimate affair in that we experience every depressive state of Harry, every panic attack when things go sideways. But we also experience the little joys he finds in his newfound solitude and passion for needing to exist, needing to be there for animals that can’t do it without him. Wildcat shows the importance of healing - how finding a new passion can reinvigorate one’s sense of purpose once more.

Where you can watch it: Prime Video (Worldwide).

84. Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers

Director: Akiva Schaffer

Genre/s: Comedy/Mystery/Adventure/Action/Animation Length: 1 Hour 37 Minutes Country: USA Language: English

Cast: Andy Samberg, John Mulaney, KiKi Layne, Will Arnett, Seth Rogan, J.K. Simmons, Eric Bana, Flula Borg, Dennis Haysbert, Keegan-Michael Key, Tim Robinson, David Tennant

Synopsis: Former friends Chip and Dale (John Mulaney & Andy Samberg) live in LA among humans and cartoons. But once a former cast mate goes missing, they must team up once more to save their friend and put their past differences aside.

My Take: Obvious comparisons to Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) are expected here, and although not nearly as dark, Chip ‘n Dale surpasses all expectations placed upon it, making it one of the funnest viewing experiences I had in 2022. But it’s not just a piece of pop culture worship that shoves a truly wild (like how did they get all these permissions kinda wild) into its relatively brief 97-minute running time. Director Akiva Schaffer as well as Writers Dan Gregor and Doug Mand create an impressive marriage between nostalgia and meta humour that never outstays its welcome, allowing it to help drive the narrative as jokes and little details strengthen the plot and characters to soaring heights. It also features one of the funniest villains and reveal of said-villain I have seen in quite some. Big, shiny, goofy fun. Sign me up for more, please.

Where you can watch it: Disney + (Worldwide).

83. Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America

Directors: Emily Kunstler & Sarah Kunstler

Genre: Documentary Length: 1 Hour 57 Minutes Country: USA Language: English

Synopsis: Lawyer and former deputy legal director at ACLU, Jeffrey Robinson draws a damning timeline of America’s relationship with racism in the past, present and potential future.

My Take: Intercutting between a lecture and his travels to every corner of America, Jeffrey Robinson makes discoveries, observations and warnings as to where America continues to head in regard to its seemingly endless affair with racism – how it’s shaped the country, how it continues to do so and unfortunately, how it appears to not be going anywhere any time soon unless true systemic change happens. Jeffrey Robinson looks to understand movements that brought about significant change and how right now, we are in another period in time where rightfully angry calls for change will shape a new future for better or for worse. It’s a fascinating lesson about systemic racism and how the cycle ebbs and flows, bringing forth change as well as the system pushing back to ensure that it doesn’t progress at all. One of the most important films you will see from 2022 that helps us understand the context of the past as we understand the present while mapping where we are headed next.

Where you can watch it: Netflix (USA), Most VOD Platforms (Worldwide).

82. On the Count of Three

Director: Jerrod Charmichael Writer/s: Ari Katcher & Ryan Welch

Genre/s: Comedy/Drama Length: 1 Hour 26 Minutes Country: USA Language: English

Cast: Jerrod Charmichael, Christopher Abbot, Tiffany Haddish, Henry Winkler, J.B. Smoove, Lavell Crawford

Synopsis: Best friends Val (Jerrod Carmichael) and Kevin (Christopher Abbot) agree to a suicide pact. On their last day together, they look to wrap things up in their personal lives before pulling the trigger.

My Take: **TRIGGER WARNING: SUICIDE**Comedian Jerrod Charmichael makes his directorial debut in this dark comedy that is a surprisingly touching portrayal of a friendship on the cusp of a mutual death through suicide. On the Count of Three pits two best friends at opposite ends of the spectrum in regards to motive, creating an interesting discussion around the why’s of one’s reason to kill themselves and if what they’re doing really is the right choice. Kevin (Abbot), who is out of rehab for attempting to kill himself is surprised when his best friend Val (Carmichael) wants to do it. “You don’t want to kill yourself. I want to kill myself”. From there we go on a hilarious and heartbreaking journey of personal growth for these characters as they edge closer and further away from their mutual goal, one that could ultimately end a close friendship once and for all. Dark, funny and surprisingly truthful, On the Count of Three hit too close to home for all the right reasons.

Where you can watch it: Hulu (USA), Most VOD platforms (Australia).

81. Ballad of a White Cow

Directors: Maryam Moghadam & Behtash Sanaeeha

Genre: Drama Length: 1 Hour 45 Minutes Countries: Iran/France Language: Farsi

Cast: Maryam Moghadam, Alireza Sanifar, Pouria Rahimi Sam

Synopsis: A widow’s life (Maryam Moghadam) is upended when the government admits that her husband was innocent of the crime he was executed for.

My Take: Iran has a rich, vibrant film history. And over the past 15 or so years, a new wave of Iranian filmmakers have been voicing their anger towards its government and its ideals by focusing on real, human stories that turn into poignant critiques of the conservative government that stifles the great potential Iran still has. Ballad of a White Cow primes its focus on the justice system. A great companion piece to 2021’s outstanding anthology film There Is No Evil (no. 54 in my Top 100 of 2021), Directors (one half who happens to be one of the two central protagonists) Moghadam and Sanaeehe highlight two opposing forces within the Iranian ecosystem: government vs the people, creating an intense battle of morality that has protagonists seeking both victory and redemption against a system indifferent to the suffering it inflicts.

Where you can watch it: MUBI (Worldwide).

80. Soft & Quiet

Director: Beth de Araújo

Genre/s: Thriller/Horror Length: 1 Hour 31 Minutes: Language: English Country: USA

Cast: Stefanie Estes, Olivia Luccardi, Melisa Paulo, Eleanore Pienta, Cissy Ly, Jon Beavers, Dana Millican, Rebekah Wiggins, Nina E. Jordan

Synopsis: An elementary school teacher (Stefanie Estes) throws a weekly mixer with other like-minded women. But once they bump into someone from her past, a series of bad decisions cause their evening to spiral out of control.

My Take: Quite possibly the scariest and most intense film of last year alongside Playground, the less you know about Soft & Quiet the better. A true oner (a film comprised of one single, unbroken shot), Soft & Quiet unfolds in real time over the course of one evening through a series of ill-advised decisions committed by repugnant individuals in terms of their morals and ideologies. And that’s what makes Soft & Quiet so damn scary, like home invasion horror/thriller Funny Games (1997 & 2007, both made and remade by Michael Haneke), you never know where these individuals are going to take you, and due to the nature of Soft & Quiet’s format, an uninterrupted single shot that is actually a single shot (unlike movies like 1917 and Birdman expertly edited to look like it) allows for the tension to build and and build until it finally explodes in real-time. Writer/director Beth de Araújo allows for simple reveals on paper to come as true surprises on screen, pulling us along with a highly unlikely protagonist designed to make Soft & Quiet such a uniquely terrifying and uncomfortable experience. I didn’t particularly enjoy Soft & Quiet, but like the Funny Games of the world, it’s by design, dragging us across the gravel, spitting blood onto the concrete, wishing for it all to end as we take our last breath before the ember is finally snuffed out.

Where you can watch it: Most VOD Platforms (USA, UK).

79. All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

Director: Laura Poitras

Genre: Documentary/LGBTQIA+ Length: 2 Hours 2 Minutes Country: USA Language: English

Synopsis: An insightful, intimate portrait of photographer and activist Nan Goldin taking place around the downfall of the Sackler family.

My Take: Nan Goldin is a distinct voice in the art world – capturing images of earnesty and intimacy through a lens that never compromises as she amplifies and owns her identity through the subjects she photographs. Here, director Laura Poitras takes on the same mindset in creating a collage of Nan Goldin’s life, a unique biography that also serves as a protest film charting her experiences within LGBTQIA+ subcultures as she discovers her own identity and sexuality, to her addiction to opioids which would ultimately lead to her war against the powerful Sackler family for their decisively devastating role in the opioid crisis. It’s something that shouldn’t work on paper, and initially, I wasn’t quite sure how these two halves were supposed to work together, but they do. Quite seamlessly as well. It's an unconventional documentary that chooses to be just as subversive as Nan Goldin herself, immortalizing her journey through the heartache, self-discovery, addiction and ultimately, triumph she has experienced. Winner of last year's Golden Lion Award for best film at The Venice Film Festival, the first time a documentary has ever received the highly prestigious honour.

Where you can watch it: HBO Max (USA), Most VOD Platforms (USA, UK).

78. Montana Story

Directors: Scott McGehee & David Siegel

Genre: Drama Length: 1 Hour 54 Minutes Country: USA Language: English

Cast: Owen Teague, Haley Lu Richardson, Gilbert Owuor, Kimberly Guerrero, Asivak Kosstachin, Eugene Brave Rock

Synopsis: Two estranged siblings (Owen Teague & Haley Lu Richardson) return to their ranch in Montana as they begin preparing for their father’s inevitable death after falling into a coma.

My Take: Owen Teague and Haley Lu Richardson are phenomenal as siblings Cal and Erin who are forced to come to terms with the trauma and guilt of their relationships with not just their dying father, but their correlation to one another’s pasts. Set against the gorgeous backdrop of the Montana countryside, Richardson and Teague deliver gut-punch performances that remain under wraps as they try to understand the inevitability of their situation: all of this will soon be gone, and it’s up to them to make peace with one another and repair the bonds they once had. It’s a film that quietly settles into your bones, reminding us of the importance of sibling relationships that form our past, dwelling on them before we can finally come to terms with who we are in the now, and how it will shape our lives going forward.

Where you can watch it: Showtime (USA), Most VOD Platforms (SA, USA).

77. Pearl

Director: Ti West

Genre: Horror Length: 1 Hour 43 Minutes Language: English/German Country: USA/Canada/New Zealand

Cast: Mia Goth, Tandi Wright, David Corenswet, Matthew Sunderland, Emma Jenkins-Purro, Alistair Sewell

Synopsis: Set in 1918, this villain prequel to X follows a young woman’s (Mia Goth) descent into madness as she hopes to escape the mundane life she is forced to succumb to on her parents' farm.

My Take: The prequel to the excellent slasher X (2022), Pearl leans more towards that of a psychological horror as Pearl (Mia Goth) unravels at the seams with spectacular results. Speaking to similar key themes of X, Pearl has our protagonist falling in love with the idea of fame, romanticizing a dream that may never happen as she looks to escape the restrictive, opressive lifestyle she has been forced to live under. Tradition is what she is expected to adhere to: become a dutiful housewife, attend to the farm animals, look after her ailing father and do exactly what is told of her by her emotionally abusive mother. It’s a life she dreams of escaping and with this added context to her character in X, makes for a tragic backstory that has us (or me, at least) feeling incredibly sad and wishful for her as she looks to chase a dream every one of us has longed to do, whether we achieved it or not. Mia Goth has been growing into an absolute powerhouse, particularly in the horror genre as she quickly becomes one of this generation’s defining scream queens. With Pearl, she delivers her finest performance yet: giving us a highly sympathetic character despite the horrors she will soon commit as well as delivering one of the two great monologues of 2022 (see Rebecca Hall in Resurrection). **SPOILERS Racking up a spellbinding 8 minutes in length, Mia Goth’s defining monologue does just that: defines Pearl in all her flawed glory that has her confronting her absent husband (halfway across the world fighting in WWI) through anger, sorrow, regret and finally, the realization of what will become of her future – one devoid of the fame and glory she so badly wanted. It’s a beautifully rendered and performed scene that holds a mirror up to ourselves, reflecting on the sobering truths some of us must come to terms with in order to accept the realities of our own disappointments. But it’s with the film’s final credits sequence that has Mia Goth at her exhilarating, disturbing best - holding an unbroken smile for what feels like an eternity, with every single range of emotion going through her face as she does her best to smile and settle for a life she can only pretend to be content with. SPOILERS** Despite taking place before the events of X, be sure to watch X first as the thematic context in Pearl is made more powerful when watched in release order.

Where you can watch it: Most VOD Platforms (USA), In theatres (UK, Australia).

76. Wet Sand

Director: Elene Naveriani

Genre/s: Drama/LGBTQIA+ Length: 1 Hour 55 Minutes Countries: Georgia/Switzerland Language: Georgian

Cast: Gia Agumava, Bebe Sesitashvili, Megi Kobaladze, Giorgi Tsereteli

Synopsis: After Eliko is found hanged in his home. Moe (Bebe Sesitashvili) arrives in a small village on the Georgian Black Sea to arrange for her grandfather’s funeral and burial. She soon begins to uncover the truths and lies that exist within this village claiming to be a community in support of one another.

My Take: Georgia is churning out some of the most interesting and poetic filmmakers working today and with Wet Sand, writer/director Elene Naveriani crafts a beautifully heartbreaking film about love, loss, and resilience. Structured and unfolding in a way akin to a good mystery, Wet Sand is set within a small village whose bigotry and lack of understanding makes itself more apparent the deeper we find ourselves caught in the mystery and resolution of a broken romance we never see happen, but experience through smart, subtle writing brought to life by a pair of particularly exceptional performances in Bebe Sesitashvili and Gia Agumava. Wet Sand is a reserved spellbinder accentuated by the power of its text and execution in performance.

Where you can watch it: MUBI (Worldwide).

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