top of page
  • Writer's picturePerrin Faerch

My 100 Favourite Films of 2022 (25-1)

Updated: Apr 30, 2023

We're finally at the final hurdle, just a little rehash from previous posts reminding you of the criteria and blah blah blah going into this list:

50-26 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.


25. Great Freedom

Director: Sebastian Meise

Genre/s: Drama/Prison/LGBTQIA+ Length: 1 Hour 56 Minutes Languages: German/English Countries: Austria/Germany

Cast: Franz Rogowski, Georg Friedrich, Anton von Lucke, Thomas Prenn

Synopsis: Set in Post-War Germany, Hans (Franz Rogowski), finds repeatedly imprisoned under Paragraph 175, a law that criminalizes homosexuality. Over the course of three decades, he develops an unlikely bond with fellow prisoner Viktor (Georg Friedrich).

My Take: Somehow both gritty and poetic, Great Freedom is a shattering depiction of resistance and resilience through love and friendship against an oppressive legal system in post-war Germany - an intimate prison drama that effectively explores themes of identity and institutionalism. Set over three decades, Hans (Franz Rogowski) is in and out of prison, refusing to hide his sexual identity on the outside which would always wound him up in jail. Over the next few decades, he builds a bond with hard-nosed inmate Viktor (Georg Friedrich), one carved out of hatred, desire and eventually, an unbreakable friendship. They’re from different ends of the spectrum in terms of sexuality but their gravitation towards each other blends the ideas of institutionalism and identity together. This life surrounded by four walls is mostly what they know, but for Franz in particular, being locked up is his greatest sense of freedom. Living in the closet on the outside is already a prison for him, but when he gets caught and brought back to his cell, it’s him living as he has always known himself to be. He’d rather be punished for being who he is than be ignored for something he isn’t. It’s written with such delicacy that it never allows prison brutality to overshadow or exploit the messages at hand. Franz Rogowski is one of my favourite actors working right now and here, he delivers yet another stirring performance that is quietly introspective yet teeming with a confrontational gravitas that allows for the themes to always be so apparent on screen.

Where you can watch it: MUBI (USA, UK), SBS on Demand (Australia), Most VOD Platforms (USA, UK).

24. The Innocents

Director: Eskil Vogt

Genre/s: Drama/Horror/Thriller/Fantasy Length: 1 Hour 57 Minutes Language: Norwegian Countries: Norway/Sweden/Denmark/Finland/France/UK

Cast: Rakel Lenora Fløttum, Sam Ashraf, Alva Brynsmo Ramstad, Mina Yasmin Bremseth Asheim, Ellen Dorrit Petersen, Yadra Yusuf, Morten Svartveit, Lisa Tønne

Synopsis: Over the course of one summer, four lonely children in an apartment complex soon discover they have supernatural abilities that will bring them closer together as well as blow them completely apart.

My Take: Featuring one of the most terrifying villains I have seen in quite some time (played by the young Sam Ashraf), The Innocents is screenwriter Eskil Vogt’s (best known as scribing with Joachim Trier on most of his films) directorial debut – a menacing horror thriller that puts superpowers in the hands of lonely kids over the course of a summer. Being a lonely outsider in a new environment is something we’ve all experienced regardless of how well-adjusted our childhoods may or may not have been and that’s what The Innocents conveys so effectively. Vogt instills the anxiety and fear of being a child again, hypothesizing what we would potentially be like if we had superpowers during our years of growing pains. Would we use it for harmless fun? To help people? Or to inflict pain? The kids are phenomenal here, but it’s Ben Ashrif’s turn as the troubled and neglected Ben that is among the most visceral performances of 2022. It could easily be compared to that of Chronicle (2012) without the found footage aspect. But that would be doing Vogt’s film a disservice as it is a completely different beast, one that is far scarier and far more truthful than we’d ever like to admit as we see parts of ourselves in these kids who look to belong, to regain control in their already uncertain lives. **TRIGGER WARNING There are several scenes of animal cruelty in the first 20-or-so minutes so be warned TRIGGER WARNING**

Where you can watch it: Shudder, AMC+ (USA), Most VOD Platforms (USA, UK, Australia).

23. Holy Spider

Director: Ali Abbasi

Genre/s: Thriller/Drama/Crime Length: 1 Hour 58 Minutes Language: Farsi Countries: Denmark, Germany, France, Sweden, Jordan, Italy

Cast: Zahra Amir Ebrahimi, Mehdi Bajestani, Arash Ashtiani, Forouzan Jamshidnejad, Sina Parvenah, Nima Akbarpour

Synopsis: A journalist (Zahra Amir Ebrahimi) descends into the dark underbelly of Iran’s holy city of Mashhad as she investigates a series of killings committed by a serial killer known as the Spider Killer (Mehdi Bajestani), who is convinced he is doing holy work in cleaning the streets of sinners. Based on a true story.

My Take: What could easily be described as the Iranian Zodiac (2007), Holy Spider is a blood-curdling cat-and-mouse thriller about religious fanaticism and gender bias, injustice and inequality. Told using opposing perspectives via the Spider Killer (Mehdi Bajestani) and journalist Rahimi (Zahra Amir Ebrahimi), Holy Spider amplifies the war against women the Iranian government is waging right now. Although set during the early 2000s when these murders were taking place, and by giving us viewpoints from both sides of the investigation, Ali Abbasi expertly shows us the discourse between man and woman, as well as the religious hypocrisy that determines what is good and what is evil. It’s a stark comparison to the current situation in Iran where women are being more vocal than ever about their denied rights and the demand for them, with Holy Spider providing important historical context that is so very relevant right now because it reminds us how it's always been this way. In one of the film’s most chilling scenes, a young boy proudly demonstrates on his baby sister, how his father murdered prostitutes. Featuring two of what are among my very favourite performances of the year in Ebrahimi and Bajestani (as the journalist and killer), Holy Spider is the best true crime thriller of the year.

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

22. Argentina, 1985

Director: Santiago Mitre

Genre: Drama Length: 2 Hours 20 Minutes Languages: Spanish/English Country: Argentina

Cast: Ricardo Darín, Juan Pedro Lanzani, Antonia Bengoechea, Claudio Da Passano, Alejandra Flechner, Santiago Armas Estevarena

Synopsis: The true story of a public prosecutor, a young lawyer and their inexperienced legal team’s courtroom battle in prosecuting the heads of Argentina’s previous military dictatorship for the bloody crimes they committed against the Argentine people.

My Take: A deserved Oscar nominee in this year’s Best International Feature category, Argentina, 1985 is a tightly woven courtroom drama that unpacks the horrors committed by the Argentine dictatorship between 1976-1983. Superbly directed and written, its cast also rises to the challenge, with particular accolades going to the ensemble of witnesses and testimonials to the crimes, delivering some of the most viscerally gut-wrenching moments of the year. Mitre doesn’t need to make use of flashback reenactments or even archival footage to illustrate the suffering felt by the Argentine people, allowing the aforementioned ensemble to really let the original testimonies drive their performances. We see the pain of a nation on their faces and through the actual testimonies from the trial, allowed for every Argentine to see exactly what their former government did to them. It’s a very real and very terrifying insight into the dangers of absolute power from a military state, and thankfully we still have the brave individuals willing to bring those responsible to justice.

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

21. The Fabelmans

Director: Steven Spielberg

Genre: Drama Length: 2 Hours 31 Minutes Language: English Country: USA

Cast: Gabriel LaBelle, Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, Seth Rogan, Judd Hirsch, Mateo Zoryan, Keeley Karsten, Julia Butters, Jeannie Berlin, Robin Bartlett, Sam Rechner, Oakes Fegley, Chloe East, Isabelle Kusman

Synopsis: Loosely based on Spielberg’s own life, Sammy Fabelman (Gabriel LaBelle) develops an affinity for making movies. But after discovering a devastating family secret buried in images he captured, Sammy’s worldview will forever be changed.

My Take: “Where’s the goddamn horizon?” asks a grouchy John Ford (played by David Lynch in what is one of the best scenes of the year) while a young and nervous Sammy Fabelman (Gabriel LaBelle in a star-making turn) tries his best to describe the cowboy art hanging in Ford’s office. “If it’s at the top, it’s interesting. If it’s at the bottom, it’s interesting. If it’s in the middle, it’s boring as shit”. The Fabelmans could very easily have been just that: a middle-of-the-road, pat-on-the-back biography of Spielberg’s life and experiences that led him to become the filmmaker he is today. Spielberg and long-time collaborator in Tony Award-winning scribe Tony Kushner (writer of Angels in America, with this being their fourth collaboration together) manage to mine Spielberg’s youth of not only great anecdotal stories (the time he dated a Jesus-obsessed girl to when he met the aforementioned jaded John Ford) but also key moments that shaped him as a person, focusing primarily on his relationship with his mother that was filled with wholesome, happy moments as well as detrimental, unkind ones. Although The Fabelmans exhibits Spielberg’s trademark flourishes of sentimentality (despite what some people think, is not always a bad thing, especially when you do it as well as Spielberg), it could’ve just been an overly sentimental affair, one marred in falseness as it covers the intricate cracks that make one of the most influential filmmakers of all time human. But thankfully it doesn't. And what we get is not only a love letter to his family but also one that allows him to see the unhappy sides to it, allowing him to confront the imperfections that make them so important to his entire journey, an adjustment of where we see the horizon, otherwise it’d be boring as shit. One of Spielberg’s best in years, proving just why he is one of the greatest to ever do it.

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

20. Speak No Evil

Director: Christian Tafdrup

Genre/s: Thriller/Horror/Drama Length: 1 Hour 37 Minutes Languages: English/Danish/Dutch Countries: Denmark/Netherlands

Cast: Morten Burian, Sidsel Siem Koch, Fedja van Huêt, Karina Smulders, Liva Forsberg, Marius Damslev, Hichem Yacoubi

Synopsis: A Danish family meets and befriends a Dutch family while holidaying in Italy. Weeks later, the Danes take them up on an invite to stay with them for a weekend getaway in the Netherlands. They soon find themselves realizing these aren’t the people they thought they were, trying their best to stay polite in increasingly unpleasant scenarios.

My Take: In the series Arrested Development, there’s a running gag of an armless man that Oscar Bluth, the family patriarch, would dispatch when he wants to teach his kids a lesson. It would always end with this armless man’s prosthetic arm being torn off in elaborate set-ups where he’d finally approach the mortified children (as well as when they’re adults) and say “...and that is why you always leave a note/don’t teach your kids lessons, etc.”. Speak No Evil is basically that gag. Politeness, or over-politeness, is a relatable ordeal for most people that isn't exclusive to just Danish people. But, growing up in a house with a Danish parent who is polite to a fault, which very annoyingly rubbed off on me, made watching Speak No Evil particularly brutal - a viewing experience that felt like a direct attack on me. It’s an intentionally frustrating experience whether you are the poor politees or those who yell at the screen “why don’t they just leave?! Why don’t they just say no?!” I ask myself that very question every day. Why don’t I just say no? Why do I do this to myself? Speak No Evil spoke directly to me as if the armless man from Arrested Development was part of this whole set-up so he could turn to me as I watch on in horror and say: “And that’s why you shouldn’t be polite”. It’s an exceedingly uncomfortable horror for the socially anxious, a stern message to the frustratingly polite that is unbearably brutal in its cruel sense of humour and irony, finishing us off with a devastating finale that fucked me up sufficiently, living rent-free in my head to this very day.

Where you can watch it: Shudder (USA, UK), AMC+ (USA), Paramount+ (Australia), Most VOD Platforms (USA, Australia).

19. Official Competition

Directors: Mariaono Cohn & Gastón Duprat

Genre: Comedy Length: 1 Hour 55 Minutes Languages: Spanish/English Countries: Spain/Argentina

Cast: Penélope Cruz, Antonio Banderas, Oscar Martínez, José Luis Gómez, Irene Escolar

Synopsis: An extremely wealthy businessman wants to leave a lasting legacy to his name, so he hires an eccentric, critically acclaimed filmmaker to make the next great movie.

My Take: A meta-comedy about the process of developing movies. In a year that saw Babylon, The Fabelmans, Cinema Sabaya, and to an extent both films about Maurice and Katia Krafft, Official Competition is my favourite movie about movies in 2022. Lola (Penelope Cruz), an eccentric, critically acclaimed filmmaker is hired by an extremely wealthy businessman to “make the best movie in the world”, so he can tick off another box in his portfolio. We follow Lola’s bizarre rehearsal methods with actors Iván (a highly decorated and respected theatrical actor played by Oscar Martínez) and Félix (an international movie superstar, played by Antonio Banderas) as they look to get to the core of their characters and the intention of the work. Each rehearsal and their methods grow more extreme, and like its subjects, more pretentious with each one (from Lola dangling a giant boulder above their heads as they rehearse, to Lola destroying both hers and their awards). By placing these three characters against the backdrop of a monstrously huge rehearsal space of an empty building that, although aesthetically attractive, is completely empty and devoid of life, allows Official Competition to be a biting piece of visual and thematic satire that makes fun of and questions the authenticity and intention of the artist in the modern age - one that doesn’t allow any of our characters off the hook as their masks begin to slip, unintentionally revealing the common thread between all of them: glory seekers looking to revel in the applause of the masses as they look to pat themselves on the back for making what they believe to be truthful art devoid of fabrication.

Where you can watch it: Hulu, AMC+ (USA), Netflix (UK), Most VOD Platforms (USA, UK, Australia).

18. Bones and All

Director: Luca Guadagnino

Genre/s: Romance/Horror/Drama Length: 2 Hours 11 Minutes Language: English Countries: Italy/USA

Cast: Taylor Russell, Timothée Chalamet, Mark Rylance, Michael Stuhlbarg, André Holland, Chloë Sevigny, Jessica Harper, David Gordon Green

Synopsis: Outcast Maren (Taylor Russell) meets and falls in love with drifter Lee (Timothée Chalamet) before embarking on a quest across rural America with the hopes of finding Maren’s mother to better understand her own dark past and where her future is potentially heading.

My Take: A romantic coming-of-age road trip movie packaged in a horror, Bones and All is a resounding statement of intent from Luca Guadagnino: a relentlessly gory, brutal yet undeniably beautiful allegory for depression, addiction and the need to belong. It also touches on themes of otherness and abandonment, with star-crossed lovers in Maren (Russell) and Lee (Chalament) drawn to each other not just because of their need to feed their primal urges, but their desire to find a sense of belonging, a place to call home in a world they can’t seem to fit neatly in. It has the poetic beauty and scale of Terence Malick’s outlaw romance Badlands (1973), the carnal savagery and thematic intelligence of Julia Docournau’s coming-of-age cannibal horror Raw (2016), and finally the poetic prose and achingly beautiful brutality and insanity of legendary author Cormac McCarthy (although this is an adaptation of a book by Camille DeAngelis). Like any good road movie, Bones and All makes use of its ensemble brilliantly, with each character being a fully lived-in individual allowing for key moments of growth and regression within Maren and Lee; particularly that of Mark Rylance’s character of Sully, a cannibal who is particularly adept to his senses, that becomes obsessed with Maren. There are a number of tense, terrifying scenes in Bones and All (particularly that of a campfire scene with fellow cannibals played by Michael Stuhlbarg and David Gordon Green), but it’s with every encounter with Sully that makes your skin crawl, a perfectly calibrated battle of instinct, desire, repulsion and even sympathy as the film’s themes of addiction, belonging and home collide with one another in one character. Thanks to the truly stellar performances of his ensemble, Luca Guadignino and co. craft a stunning, blood-soaked romance that is all the more effective thanks to his clear understanding of the themes and metaphors at play.

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

17. Tár

Director: Todd Field

Genre: Drama/Music Length: 2 Hours 38 Minutes Languages: English/German/Filipino/French Country: USA

Cast: Cate Blanchett, Nina Hoss, Noémie Merlant, Sophie Kauer, Mark Strong, Julian Glover

Synopsis: Acclaimed composer Lydia Tár (Cate Blanchett) is in the process of tackling her biggest challenge yet, a live recording of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 5. But the ghosts of her past start rearing their heads, and could potentially derail not only the concert but her entire career.

My Take: Tár comes across as a simple “fall from grace” film on paper, a commentary on cancel culture and the #metoo movement set against the backdrop of the classical music scene. But like a great novel, Tár unfolds and evolves from multiple viewings and different vantage points, absorbing the specifically calibrated nuances Todd Field has weaved into the narrative. Class and race are key topics in how Todd Field tackles the very idea of cancel culture, at least in the context of Lydia Tár. A brilliantly performed, written and choreographed scene involving Tár in a lecture, conveys this idea early on that sets up the effective and ineffective results of the past coming back to bite and punish its protagonist. But as mentioned before, it’d be unfair to view it as a simple "fall from grace" film. Once I revisited Tár as a gothic ghost story instead, the entire experience truly came alive for me. Todd Field’s nuanced writing and precise direction shifts, contorts and evolves before your very eyes, with clever framing and character beats to suggest that you are indeed watching a ghost story as well as a movie about an egomaniac being brought to justice. It’s akin to Raging Bull (1980) as a labyrinthine character study of its deeply flawed protagonist, with Cate Blanchett giving one of the greatest performances of the 21st century as the increasingly unlikable and arrogant Lydia Tár. It’s a true slow-burner that stalks and takes down its prey before you even realize it, offering one of the most complex observations on cancel culture with class and race accentuating its key points throughout. Tár may not be an exciting plot-driven thrill ride a la Whiplash but is one of the great character pieces of 2022 that will only grow larger in stature as the years go by.

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

16. Decision to Leave

Director: Park Chan-wook

Genre/s: Drama/Thriller/Mystery/Romance Length: 2 Hours 19 Minutes Languages: Korean/Mandarin Country: South Korea

Cast: Hae il Park, Tang Wei, Lee Jung-hyun, Kim Shin-Young, Teo Yoo, Park Yong-woo

Synopsis: A detective (Hae il Park) finds himself embroiled in a complicated relationship with the widow (Tang Wei) and prime suspect of a deceased man who may or may not have been murdered.

My Take: Leave it to Korean auteur Park Chan-Wook to deliver yet another profoundly unique (and twisted) love story for the ages. Told in a brilliantly inventive non-linear structure, Park Chan-wook revels in creating the ever-changing obsessive viewpoints and motives of his protagonists. It’s a film that rewards the more you revisit, allowing for specific quirks and flutters of both protagonist and antagonist to pay off the more you dissect their every move. Tang Wei as the widow and antagonist in Song Seo-rae gives one of the best performances of the year – allowing for the intricate plot’s implausibilities to become entirely plausible. It’s a strange thriller that exhibits all the hallmarks of what makes Park Chan-wook such a compelling filmmaker that no one else is able to emulate: bizarre, sinister, exciting, beautiful and strangely touching as we carve our way towards the sweet center that makes Decision to Leave so addictive.

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

15. Resurrection

Director: Andrew Semans

Genre/s: Thriller/Horror/Drama Length: 1 Hour 43 Minutes Language: English Country: USA

Cast: Rebecca Hall, Tim Roth, Grace Kaufman, Michael Esper

Synopsis: Margaret (Rebecca Hall)’s life is in complete order - organized in both success and design. But her life quickly becomes undone when David, a mysterious figure from her past, arrives carrying with him the horrors she has worked so hard to forget and move on from.

My Take: An extremely uncomfortable and terrifying psychological horror about a toxic relationship, Resurrection is a masterful exercise in atmosphere through context, mystery and eventually exposition, a feat made possible by the truly jaw-dropping presence of Rebecca Hall and her genuinely unsettling antagonizer in Tim Roth as her toxic ex, David. Hall plays Margaret, a highly successful woman in the corporate space, enjoying a life where she is able to forge her own path forward while raising her teenage daughter. But one day all that is turned completely upside down with the arrival of David, an ex from her past that digs up crippling trauma and anxiety that forces her to do anything to protect her current life and most importantly, her daughter. It becomes a tense psychological horror, one that allows for Hall to dig deep, clutching at the trauma that Margaret has worked so hard to bury and pulls it out into the light, allowing for her character to crack and slip in doses both small and large. But thankfully she never plays it in an obvious manner, using desperation, fear and pure hatred for David to drive her feet towards a finale that is both unabashedly bizarre and brilliant, only made more impactful with each rewatch. Tim Roth relishes in the villainy of his character, a mysterious evil with which Roth gladly dispenses towards his co-star in one of the year’s creepiest characters. Writer/director Andrew Semans captures the extremities of a psychologically abusive and manipulative relationship, creating a work wrought with thematic and narrative breadcrumbs that allow for his leads to develop such rich characters. Rebecca Hall in particular, proves once more why she is one of the finest actors on the planet right now, delivering a heart-stopping monologue that cleverly provides all the exposition we will ever need, without it ever feeling forced or an easy solution to answering questions. Semans holds the camera on Hall for an eternity as the darkness around her closes in, forcing us to live in the nightmare of her traumatic past, trying her best to outrun it before it finally catches up to consume her once again.

Where you can watch it: Shudder, AMC+ (USA), Most VOD Platforms (Worldwide).

14. Glass Onion

Director: Rian Johnson

Genre/s: Comedy/Mystery Length: 2 Hours 19 Minutes Language: English Country: USA

Cast: Daniel Craig, Janelle Monáe, Edward Norton, David Bautista, Kate Hudson, Leslie Odom Jr., Kathryn Hahn, Jessica Henwick, Madelyn Cline

Synopsis: Tech billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton) invites his closest friends for a getaway and murder mystery party on his private island. But when one of them dies under suspicious circumstances, Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is once again, on the case.

My Take: Rian Johnson appears to have found his happy place post-The Last Jedi (2017) after the unfair pile-on inflicted by Star Wars crybabies (don't @ me, bro). Knives Out was one of my favourite films of 2019, a classic Agatha Christie-esque whodunit with an All-star ensemble that had as much fun playing it as we did watching it. With Glass Onion, now following a new mystery for both Blanc and the audience to dig into, things get ramped up a notch or two with a bigger, louder and fancier sequel that, although not as good as the original, is really damn close. Benoit Blanc may be the main draw for each one of these mysteries (Johnson has signed with Netflix for a multiple-film deal involving more Benoit Blanc mysteries), but what Rian Johnson understands so well with these kinds of murder mysteries, is that the lead detective is never the main character. Instead, he’s a key supporting character for the intended focal point, the one who ties the themes, ideas and secrets of the big mystery into focus. Like the first film, Johnson’s primary thematic focus is class and the wealthy elite. Glass Onion pokes more fun at its targets, drawing inspiration from the real-world ego-maniacal (and dumb) elite (Edward Norton as an Elon Musk-type) as the main targets for skewering. Once again, Benoit Blanc is an absolute delight and thanks to additional context into his character provided by Johnson leading up to Glass Onion, Blanc has more layers, allowing the chemistry between Craig and the central driving force of an outstanding Janelle Monáe to really take flight. It’s yet another deft piece of social commentary that we will now come to expect from the series going forward as it adds to the “it’s so hot right now” resurgence of “eat the rich movies”. It also features some of the best ensembles of last year made even more satisfying with a flurry of wholesome "pause it" cameos.

Where you can watch it: Netflix (Worldwide).

13. Nope

Director: Jordan Peele

Genre/s: Thriller/Sci-Fi/Horror/Mystery Length: 2 Hours 10 Minutes Language: English Countries: USA/Canada/Japan

Cast: Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Steven Yeun, Brandon Perea, Michael Wincott, Keith David, Wrenn Schmidt, Terry Notary, Barbie Ferreira

Synopsis: Horse handlers for the movies in siblings OJ (Daniel Kaluuya) and Em (Keke Palmer), look to capture on film the strange and sinister phenomenon wreaking havoc from the skies in the gulch their ranch and a nearby tourist trap inhabit.

My Take: Although Get Out is still Jordan Peele’s best film, Nope is the one I love the most: a summer blockbuster in the same vein as Steven Spielberg that is essentially Jaws (1976) on land with a giant UFO bringing death from above, instead of a giant great white shark. Peele, more than ever with Nope, shows he is an absolute master at sleight of hand, completely subverting all expectations with each plot twist and act break that has rightfully placed him among the most thrilling filmmakers working today. Exhibiting the same sense of humour Peele has been known for, Nope proves just how smart and thoughtful Peele remains as a writer as well as being an incredibly strong director able to translate theme and intention so effectively onto the screen. Voyeurism is the key theme found within Nope, and without spoiling too much of the surprises found within, Peele is able to weave this theme expertly in character and plot beats, creating some of the most thrilling, and easily biggest set pieces of Peele’s career. But Peele is also great at forcing us to read between the lines, hiding subtle nuances in plain sight through playful Easter eggs as well as seemingly nothing moments that show just how detail-oriented he really is. Nope was one of my favourite cinematic experiences of last year and is one of my most revisited, something I will be doing for years to come.

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

12. Mr. Bachmann and His Class

Director: Maria Speth

Genre: Documentary Length: 3 Hours 37 Minutes Languages: German Country: Germany

Synopsis: Mr. Bachmann, an elementary teacher in Stadtallendorf, a German city with a fascinating history that both excluded and integrated foreigners, makes his students of different backgrounds and nationalities feel at home and loved for their differences.

My Take: An engrossing dedication to those who teach, Mr. Bachmann and His Class doesn't just shine a warming, wholesome glow on the wonderfully dedicated and loving teacher in Mr. Bachmann, but explores the very nature that allows for individuals to do what they by teaching. Set in a German city that has a very complicated history with immigrants and Nazism, Mr. Bachmann is tasked with teaching a class made up mostly of immigrants, refugees and children of the afformentioned groups. Through these challenges, Mr. Bachmann looks to enrich these kids lives through a hands-on approach, teaching them about the city’s complex history and where their futures lie within Germany’s future as it becomes more culturally and racially diverse. It’s one of the feel-good movies of the year that allows you to really appreciate the selfless act of teaching, the impartment of wisdom that will remain invaluable to these children’s lives as Mr. Bachmann and his fellow teachers make the biggest impression on them. At 3 hours 37 minutes, it’s easily the longest film I saw last year, but thankfully, it’s arguably the most rewarding – a shot of honey for the soul.

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

11. Barbarian

Director: Zach Cregger

Genre/s: Horror/Thriller/Mystery Length: 1 Hour 42 Minutes Language: English Country: USA

Cast: Georgina Campbell, Bill Skarsgård, Justin Long, Richard Brake, Jaymes Butler

Synopsis: A woman (Georgina Campbell) accidentally double-books a rental home with a complete stranger (Bill Skarsgård). She eventually decides to take the chance and share the home with him for the night, but soon discovers there are more frightening threats lurking beneath them.

My Take: The less you know going into Barbarian the better. It’s a film that looks to surprise and shock its viewer into submission as you try to make sense of the twists and revelations that lurk around every corner. Touching on major themes that center primarily on men’s treatment of women and the results (and monsters) of their actions, writer/director Zach Cregger enjoys leading us on at every turn, an act that forces the viewer to make assumptions based on what they have seen in not just every movie regardless of genre, but what we see and experience in our day to day lives – forcing us to take note of the red flags that will either prove our instincts right, or completely wrong. It also implores men to take a long, hard look at themselves, asking us to override the almost instinctive urges to do bad things, even in flight or fight scenarios. Cregger and co. love to prove our assumptions wrong, making Barbarian one of the most wildly unpredictable viewing experiences of the year that is funny, creepy and completely exhilarating. Think The Descent meets Psycho meets Don’t Breathe – a relentless barrage on the nerves that grows wilder (and weirder) the deeper we go down the rabbit hole. Featuring one of the best story/plot/character transitions I’ve seen since Psycho, one that will have you doing a double take to make sure you are watching the correct movie.

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

10. The Velvet Queen

Directors: Marie Amiguet & Vincent Munier

Genre: Documentary Length: 1 Hour 32 Minutes Languages: French Country: France

Synopsis: A writer joins an award-winning photographer in the Tibetan highlands in search of capturing the elusive snow leopard on camera.

My Take: Breathtaking is the most obvious way to describe The Velvet Queen, a mythical AND mystical quest in search of isolation amidst an overbearing, overcrowded and often deafening modern life we have found ourselves trapped in. But somewhere in the Tibetan Highlands, lurks a hidden creature that evades our constantly wandering eye. The Velvet Queen follows a journalist hoping to catch a glimpse of this creature in the wild as it happens, a relentless journey of patience and virtue as we take in the majesty of an untouched nature that genuinely feels otherworldly – a far cry from the perpetual noise of modern living. It’s uncompromising in its beauty, eventually leading to what is one of the great finales of a film in 2022 that pays off and even overwhelms our patience that feels far more surreal than it does real. See it on the biggest, most glorious screen you can find with the biggest, loudest sound system available to you.

Where you can watch it: The Criterion Channel, Kanopy (USA), DocPlay (Australia), Most VOD Platforms (USA, UK, Australia).

9. Happening

Director: Audrey Diwan

Genre: Drama Length: 1 Hour 40 Minutes Language: French Country: France

Cast: Anamaria Vartolomei, Luàna Bajrami, Louise Chevillotte, Anna Mouglalis, Sandrine Bonnaire, Kacey Mottet Klein, Julien Frison, Pio Marmaï

Synopsis: In 1963, university student Annie (Anamaria Vartolomei) finds her bright future shattered once she discovers she is pregnant. In a desperate plea to take control of her life and future again, she takes matters into her own hands.

My Take: Winning the coveted Golden Lion at 2021’s Venice Film Festival, Happening is an adaptation of one of author Annie Ernaux (now a Nobel Prize winner)’s extraordinary autobiographical novel of the same name. Ernaux’s works are often memoirs that recollect, confront and re-examine key moments in her life; ranging from physical and emotional trauma inflicted on her by another man, to her complex relationships with her mother, to a brutal examination of her strict father. With Happening, we follow Annie as a student in France, 1963, before abortion was illegal, chronicling the harrowing personal and physical journey she underwent in order to abort a child she was just simply not ready or able to bring into the world. It’s a highly intimate and tense affair, with director Audrey Diwan framing and pacing key moments within the narrative as a thriller, one that barely breaks away from Annie as she goes through all the doubt, fear, anxiety and finally, certainty, in what she does to take control of her future once more. It’s a spectacular adaptation that captures the direct, observant style of Ernaux’s writing that feels urgent and frighteningly real, making Happening one of the most essential pieces of literature and film during a time when a woman’s choice is in the hands of external forces unwilling to neither sympathize or empathize with them.

Where you can watch it: Hulu, AMC+ (USA), MUBI (UK), Most VOD Platforms (USA, UK, Australia).

8. Women Talking

Director: Sarah Polley

Genre: Drama Length: 1 Hour 44 Minutes Language: English Country: USA

Cast: Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley, Judith Ivey, Ben Wishaw, Kate Hallet, Liv McNeil, Sheila McCarthy, Michelle McCleod, Emily Mitchell, Frances McDormand

Synopsis: After years of physical and sexual abuse by a spiritual entity, the women of an isolated religious community discover that it was in fact the men of their community who had been doing it. Stay and do nothing, stay and fight, or leave entirely, these are the options they discuss among themselves and it's through these debates that the women of this community come to terms with the brutal realities of their faith.

My Take: It’s easy to compare Women Talking to 12 Angry Men (1957), Sidney Lumet’s tense jury drama about yup, 12 men, locked up in a small room as they debate with one another why a person on trial is innocent vs why he is guilty. Here, Women Talking does what it says on the tin, and like Lumet’s brilliant film, opts to focus on the debate; creating a tense battle of words to convey its themes and story instead of resorting to easy action beats through set pieces that could manipulate and take away from what is so impressive within Women Talking. It’s cheesy to say, but the pen is mightier than the sword here. Sarah Polley’s impressive adaptation of the book of the same name is mighty impressive, a feat with which she rightfully earned an Academy Award for best adapted screenplay, but it’s her direction that got snubbed of a nomination. Set around an emergency debate among a group of women in an isolated religious community, they must decide whether to hold onto and fight for their way of life, or leave entirely following the revelations that a group of men in their community have been sexually abusing them for years. Sarah Poley manages to make a group of women simply talking in a barn absolutely enthralling, a tough task to pull off when you have such a large ensemble with so many key speaking parts portrayed by so many great actors. But she manages to ration her talent and their words, allowing for each character to have a vital part within the story in terms of what they need to say in order to convince one another why they should stay and fight the system that has trapped them, or leave and never look back as they look to finally start living outside the confines of their spiritual and physical prison. It’s an extraordinary study of religious fanaticism through the eyes of the victims: some choose to rationalize their suffering while others look to burn it to the ground with their eyes finally being opened to the truth. It’s one of the most important films of the year that allows for words alone to drive the action, making each revelation and realization from each character to be effective body blows that are both devastating daggers to the heart as well as a stirring, furious war cry for change. Featuring my favourite ensemble of the year.

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

7. The Wonder

Director: Sebastián Lelio

Genre/s: Drama/Mystery Length: 1 Hour 48 Minutes Languages: English/Irish Gaelic Countries: Ireland, UK, USA

Cast: Florence Pugh, Kíla Lord Cassidy, Niamh Algar, Tom Burke, Elaine Cassidy, Ciarán Hinds, Toby Jones, Josie Walker, David Wilmot

Synopsis: Set in Ireland, 1862, English nurse Lib Wright (Florence Pugh) is brought to a tiny village to observe 11-year old Anna O’Donnell (Kíla Lord Cassidy), whose family claims she hasn’t eaten for four months, drawing tourists and pilgrims alike to witness this miracle.

My Take: Another hidden gem on Netflix that I am shocked not more people are talking about, especially when you have Florence Pugh, one of the most revered superstars right now, leading this incredible period drama. When word gets around of a miracle involving a young girl, who appears to be in good health, hasn’t eaten anything for four months, Lib Wright (Florence Pugh), a nurse, is called in along with religious entities to observe and confirm the miracle. The Wonder starts off in such a peculiar manner: we glide through a film studio. Some sets are partly complete or appear to be from different films entirely. A narrator tells us “We are nothing without stories…so we invite you to believe in this one”. We begin to turn and move through a set complete with actors in period costumes, with Florence Pugh among them. The narrator continues, “These characters believe in their stories with full conviction”. Like the previous entry in this list with Women Talking, The Wonder deals extensively with themes pertaining to religious fanaticism: obsession and the extreme tests of faith that needlessly punish its exerciser through guilt and shame in order to gain salvation. This fanaticism is deeply rooted in the stories these characters tell themselves: fabrications that convince them that their suffering is entirely deserved but needed in order to absolve their sins and gain the aforementioned salvation. Chilean filmmaker Sebastián Lelio (A Fantastic Woman, Disobedience) has such a delicate, almost magical touch with everything he makes and with The Wonder, he allows for the strange mysticism of its central mystery and conversation to come alive through gorgeous imagery that, along with a helpful colour grade, looks like paintings in motion. Florence Pugh is once again, phenomenal here, fighting a battle with a seemingly immovable force in misguided faith and devotion. But it’s 13-year-old Kíla Lord Cassidy as the fasting young girl in Anna O’Donnell that is the true phenomenon at the center of The Wonder. There’s a monologue she delivers in bed to Florence Pugh that brings all the film’s themes so effectively together, a vital piece that even in the hands of the most experienced actors, would feel the pressure. But here, she is a complete natural, a force of nature, carrying the scene entirely on her shoulders as she draws us into her story of misinterpreted guilt and shame that is both horrifying and heartbreaking. It’s a mystery drama told with the urgency of a thriller, The Wonder is filmmaking at its most sublime.

Where you can watch it: Netflix (Worldwide).

6. You Won’t Be Alone

Director: Goran Stolevski

Genre/s: Drama/Fantasy/Horror Length: 1 Hour 48 Minutes Language: Macedonian Countries: Australia/UK/Serbia

Cast: Noomi Rapace, Sara Klimoska, Carloto Cotta, Alice Englert, Anamaria Marinca, Arta Dobroshi, Verica Nedeska, Daniel Kovacevic, Kamka Tocinovski

Synopsis: Set in 19th-century Macedonia, a baby named Nevena is marked and transformed into a witch. As she grows up, she finds herself increasingly isolated and unfamiliar with humanity until she is finally given the chance to blend in and experience the lives of the locals, shape-shifting accordingly as she begins to understand what it means to be human in all its beauty and cruelty.

My Take: Although packaged as a witchy horror on paper, You Won’t Be Alone is a coming-of-age drama at heart, a lyrical contemplation on identity that touches on gender, sexuality and how they combine to create a portrait of humanity that is heart-wrenching and overwhelmingly beautiful. Showing humanity through the eyes of this ferrel, naïve, almost alien-like creature, one who has been completely denied the social experience of mankind, could’ve been played in increasingly obvious manners of how shitty and wonderful mankind can be; but thankfully writer/director Goran Stolevski’s poetic sensibilities allow for You Won’t Be Alone to avoid potentially cheesy, on-the-nose observations. By placing us in a 19th century village, one that has the men continuing the cycle of needless generational cruelty and trauma towards women and children, we are seeing something that still mirrors mankind’s present – particularly males who perpetuate the cycle of generational trauma through needless cruelty, intimidation and entitlement to said-behavior because of said-cycle. Thanks to Nevena’s (played by several different actors) ability to shapeshift and wear the skin of the dead, she sports many masks throughout (including Noomi Rapace), finally able to blend in and experience humanity at both its most sincere and unfair. And through her child-like curiosity towards these strange creatures, Stolevski is able to touch on otherness as well, something that is both embraced and destroyed by the locals that once again, reflects on modern society. It’s a searingly beautiful, yet ugly depiction of the human condition, an examination of identity caught in the cruel man-made cycle that continues to both alienate and bring us together.

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

5. Playground

Director: Laura Wandel

Genre/s: Drama/Thriller Length: 1 Hour 12 Minutes Language: French Country: Belgium

Cast: Maya Vanderbeque, Günter Duret, Karim Leklou, Isabelle Fuhrman, Laura Verlinden, Anne-Pascale Clairembourg

Synopsis: Playground follows 7-year-old Nora (Maya Vanderbeque), who, after being protected by her older brother Abel (Günter Duret) against the alpha bully in his friend group, begins a cycle of bullying towards him that forces Nora to have to choose between protecting or abandoning her brother in order to survive.

My Take: Playground, or its French title Un Monde, is a Belgian drama film that spiritually, is a survival thriller – a relentless barrage of punches to the gut that, for me, at least, reminds me of the horrors of integrating yourself into school for the first time. Laura Wandel’s debut film may be short, but it most certainly isn’t sweet - capturing the brutality and anxiety of a new environment that is highly effective in overwhelming you the entirety of its running time. It’s a cruel and unfortunately, accurate portrayal of the fickle, irrational schoolyard politics that has triggered some regretful and painful memories of my own past of being bullied, and unfortunately, partaking in some bullying in order to survive to get through another day, hopefully unscathed. Shot mostly from the height of 7-year old Nora’s height, writer/director Wandel throws us into her world, unlocking those instances of nostalgic anxiety and terror in this new environment so effectively. With Wandel’s unflinching eye for emotional and psychological conflict, it’s the performances of the children that carry this film to such devastating heights. Maya Vanderbeque as Nora in particular pulls off the Herculean task of being the film’s focal point, constantly on-screen having to portray a wide gamut of nuanced emotions she achieves through jaw-dropping instinct only the most experienced of actors are capable of conjuring. As far as great child performances go, she is right up there with one of the best I have ever seen. It’s an extremely tough viewing experience, one that is akin to a survival horror/thriller much in the same vein as Funny Games (1997) and Son of Saul (2015) - a journey that awakens your best and worst instincts as you crawl through the gravel and broken glass of schoolyard memories you want to forget. It’s easily one of the most unforgettable film experiences of the year, carried by one of the great child performances you’ll ever likely see. Playground is somehow both tender and unforgivably brutal. It’s vivid, intimate and visceral filmmaking at its uncompromising best. You won’t forget this one in a hurry. You can read my extended thoughts on Playground over here.

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

4. Aftersun

Director: Charlotte Wells

Genre: Drama Length: 1 Hour 42 Minutes Langauge: English/Turkish/Spanish Country: UK

Cast: Paul Mescal, Frankie Corio, Celia Rowlson-Hall

Synopsis: Sophie (Frankie Corio) reflects on a joyful summer holiday she spent with her dad Calum (Paul Mescal) in Turkey 20 years ago. As the nostalgia of youth begins to fade, we begin to see the pains and struggles Calum so desperately tried to keep at bay as he did everything he could to be the father and man Sophie thought she knew.

My Take: A somber meditation on memory, nostalgia and depression, Aftersun is Charlotte Wells’ debut feature, a semi-autobiographical work on the relationship she shared with her father, specifically during a summer vacation in Turkey some-twenty years ago. Utilizing a camcorder in key moments as a sort of beacon into Sophie's (Frankie Corio) memories, Charlotte Wells is incredibly smart with how she lifts the veneer of nostalgia that obscures the sad truths hiding beneath each smile and laugh: the things Sophie never saw at that moment in time because she didn’t quite understand what her father Calum (Paul Mescal) was going through and hiding from the world. It’s an effective plot device to have her older self occasionally show up as she revisits this footage of a once happy time in her life, because it allows her to confront a shared aspect with her father that could very well be hereditary, recollecting on specific pieces of conversation she had with him and others that cannot hide the truth anymore. But it’s not in specific plot beats or even dialogue that amplifies these feelings, but in the quiet moments in between - the afterthoughts that really allow for Aftersun to be so deeply introspective and devastating. Charlotte Wells’ direction and writing are so precise and gentle here - capturing those simple, silent moments of internal struggle that allow for Aftersun to sting harder the more you recollect on it, just like an older Sophie does as she finally comes to terms with her father and her past in order to understand herself better. And it’s with Paul Mescal in particular that allows for those notes to resonate so deeply, a densely layered performance of quiet desperation to escape the confines of his inescapable thoughts. Aftersun might just be the most accurate portrayal of depression I have ever seen on screen, one that has allowed me to revisit memories of my youth that paint a bigger portrait of my own struggles which have been present for as long as I can remember.

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

3. The Banshees of Inisherin

Director: Martin McDonagh

Genre/s: Comedy/Drama Length: 1 Hour 54 Minutes Language: English Country: Ireland/UK

Cast: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Kerry Condon, Barry Keoghan, Pat Shortt, Gary Lydon, David Pearse, Shelia Flitton

Synopsis: Two lifelong best friends on a sleepy island off the coast of Ireland find their friendship falling apart when Colm (Brendon Gleeson) suddenly doesn’t want to be friends with Pádraic (Colin Farrell) anymore. Set against the backdrop of the Irish civil war in 1923, these two will go to extremes to both retain and destroy this relationship.

My Take: The older we get, our worldview, our priorities and sometimes our very nature change. It gradually happens whether we like it or not. “It’s all a part of growing up”, we tell ourselves. And in a lot of cases, this is true. People just change. And a part of that change is the (sometimes) inevitable bummer of growing apart from those close to you, or those going through this change who choose to move on from you. Sometimes it’s a good thing as we look to detach ourselves from toxic relationships, but for others, it’s simply a matter of preference. We ALL go through this at one point or another as we change scenery within our lives: growing out of our school friends, breaking up or moving on from that one venomous partner, etc. Often times it’s never sudden. Consider the relationship that is suddenly in turmoil between lifelong best friends in Pádraic (Colin Farrell) and Colm (Brendan Gleeson). Set on the fictional island of Inisherin off the coast of Ireland in 1923 towards the end of the Irish Civil War, Colm and Pádraic are among the few faces that occupy the island’s sleepy little village. Nothing changes here. It’s a monotonous repeat of each day. Pádraic takes his farm animals for walks and grazing, he lets his beloved donkey Jenny into the house before his sister Siobhán (Kerry Condon) reprimands him for it, and like clockwork, he and Colm go to the pub at 2 o’clock. But one day, Colm has a change of heart. He doesn’t want to be friends with Pádraic anymore. He doesn’t want to do any of this anymore. Just like that. Could you do that? Or worse yet, would you be able to accept your best friend/partner/family member’s suddenly irrational change in heart towards you? This horrifying, hypothetical scenario is what allows The Banshees of Inisherin to be a true tragicomedy - one of the year’s best that is a resounding highlight of Martin McDonough’s ability in making you laugh as well as breaking your heart. It shows the power of friendship, but most importantly, loss and the change that comes through that, whether we want it or not. We’re only as good as the relationships around us, and it is up to us if we want to utilize it as a strength or a weakness when the time does call for us to change, for better or worse. Funny, beautiful and completely devastating, The Banshees of Inisherin is a McDonough masterclass and one of 2022’s truly great works. If you want to read my extended thoughts on Banshees, you can find my lengthy review for it here.

Where you can watch it: HBO Max (USA), Disney+ (UK, Australia), In Theatres (SA), Most VOD Platforms (USA, UK, Australia).

2. Triangle of Sadness

Director: Ruben Östlund

Genre: Comedy Length: 2 Hours 27 Minutes Languages: English/Swedish/German/French/Greek/Tagalog/Akan Countries: Sweden/USA/UK

Cast: Harris Dickinson, Charlbi Dean, Dolly De Leon, Zlatko Burić, Vicki Berlin, Carolina Gynning, Woody Harrelson, Sunnyi Melles, Arvin Kananian, Henrik Dorsin, Jean-Christophe Folly, Iris Berben

Synopsis: Beautiful model couple Yaya and Carl’s (Charlbi Dean & Harris Dickinson) relationship is tested when they join the wealthy elite on a super yacht.

My Take: No one does class commentary and satire in modern cinema quite like Bong Joon-ho (Parasite, Snowpiercer, The Host, Memories of Murder, Mother etc.) and Ruben Östlund. Instead of utilizing protagonists primarily from the bottom of the social ecosystem like Bong Joon-ho does in most of his works, Östlund opts to focus on the self-obsessed, first-world problemers perched on top of this ecosystem, often having the poorer, working-class individuals fixed into the background as observers, rather than fully-functioning characters (namely the janitor in Force Majeure). But it’s with Triangle of Sadness where Östlund’s favourite ideas are at their loudest - skewering everyone, from all walks of life and class (aimed mostly at the wealthy of course) with his patented vignette-structured script. Told in three chapters, Östlund is at his grandest, boldest and wildest here. (these are seen in the trailer, so just for context and not spoilers) Chapter 1 is titled ‘Carl and Yaya’. Chapter 2 is called ‘The Yacht’ and finally, chapter three is named ‘The Island’. Each chapter unwinds the coil spun tightly around the film’s central ideas, exposing its myriad of colourful and ironically realistic characters that further implies how doomed we are as a species. Like all of Östlund’s films, privilege is a key focal point, but here, it has him hitting all aspects and angles of the different machinations it takes the shape of. These said privileges range from skin colour to money, to being at the right place at the right time (shout out to Russian billionaire Dimitry who literally sells shit) and in Carl and Yaya's case, pretty privilege is a driving force in their careers and their lives - using it to gain access to certain areas not afforded to the rest of us average looking bozo’s who also happen to not be particularly wealthy. Östlund doesn’t just show the benefits that befall you if you tick off all the boxes in gaining these upper hands in life, but delves deeper into his favourite themes in Triangle of Sadness, more so than ever – with the chapter of The Island in particular, delving into Animal Farm territory as we explore the notions of power corrupting all. Like fellow recent Palm d’Or winner in Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite (2019), Triangle of Sadness views the idea of class itself as a dangerous and frivolous thing that has unfortunately staked its claim permanently on humanity. There’s no hiding from it. And in those moments where the rich and beautiful are vomiting and shitting all over themselves, when they are washing up lifeless on a deserted island, sharing the same fire with the other crew members, fearing the same strange noise in the jungle; class all but vanishes. In the film’s thrilling final moments, Östlund reminds us that this is wishful thinking - that once we have a taste of something better than what we have experienced or are experiencing currently, we will never change. For better or for worse. For my extended thoughts on Triangle of Sadness, you can read my review on it over here.

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

1. The Worst Person in the World

Director: Joachim Trier

Genre/s: Drama/Romance/Comedy Length: 2 Hours 8 Minutes Language: Norwegian Countries: Norway/France/Sweden/Denmark

Cast: Renate Reinsve, Anders Danielsen Lie, Herbert Nordrum, Hans Olav Brenner, Maria Grazia Di Meo

Synopsis: 4 years in the life of Julie (Renate Reinsve) as she traverses the uncertainties of her love life and career path, still trying to figure out who she is leading into her thirties.

My Take: As I get deeper into my thirties, I realize more and more that I still don’t know where my life is heading. It used to be that when you turn 21, you’re officially an adult, but as our social landscape bends and warps in modern life, that number has been altered. It’s now in our 30s with which we really become adults (allegedly), where we finally start figuring our shit out as we learn to finally adult and look to settle into the grooves with our 20s disappearing into the distance behind us. Coming-of-age films normally follow children or teenagers as they transition from one stage of their lives to the next, one that paints a more detailed portrait of who they will ultimately become. But lately, we are seeing a nice trend of coming-of-age movies that happen in characters’ adult years, and with The Worst Person in the World, we see a particularly real interpretation of both the sticky uncertainty and constant personal evolutions that linger and congregate well into our adult years. It’s not quite a slacker film, but director Joachim Trier and his frequent co-writing partner in Eskil Vogt (wrote and directed his directorial debut in 2022 with The Innocents, which is number 22 on this list) introduce characteristics that will always define the aimlessness we often feel despite attempts at making appearances that we are on track towards something greater. It’s not like Julie (played by the phenomenal Renate Reinsve in what might be my favourite performance of the year alongside the likes of Rebecca Hall and Paul Mescal) is sitting on her ass, getting high and living off the backs of others; but by growing and participating within the ambitions of her partners and family through love, neglect and their career ambitions, we are seeing a character slowly but surely figure it out. She may not realise it, but through the occasional spontaneous playfulness (crashing a stranger’s wedding, trying ‘shrooms for the first time, writing a viral hit of an article about oral sex, etc.), she is slowly edging towards her definitive years, finally becoming an adult that will hopefully figure her shit out as she returns to former passions that were meant to be defining aspects of herself through career and purpose. And this is why The Worst Person in the World resonated so deeply with me: I see myself in Julie, someone who is surrounded by more assured individuals, some younger, some older, who appear to have their shit in order and it is only now that I am finally starting to find purpose once more. Whether it be through career, or even personal preference, as I circle back to the passions and interests that nudged me in the direction I am walking in. It’s breathless, elegant filmmaking of the highest order - a deeply impassioned character study of an imperfect person that only wants the best for her as she finally arcs on her own terms. It’s not only my favourite film of 2022, but now one of my favourites of all-time, one that will only increase in value with each passing year that either provides growth or regression in my own personal journey to finally come-of-age in a desperate attempt to figure my shit out.

Where you can watch it: Hulu, Kanopy (USA), MUBI (UK), Stan (Australia), Most VOD Platforms (Worldwide).

And there you have it. Remember, these are just like, my opinion, man. And if you disagree wholeheartedly with these entries then...

Some honourable mentions of films that JUST missed the cut, but are films I adore:

Inbetween Girl (Dir. Mei Makino)

Ennio (Dir. Giuseppe Tornatore) The Quiet Girl (Dir. Colm Bairéad) Private Desert (Dir. Aly Muritiba) Vortex (Dir. Gaspar Noe)

Taming The Garden (Dir. Salomé Jashi) Descendant (Dir. Margaret Brown)

Emily the Criminal (Dir. John Patton Ford)

Catch the Fair One (Dir. Josef Kubota Wladyka)

And here are some dishonourable mentions of my 5 least favourite movies of 2022... 5. Spin Me Round (Dir. Jeff Baena) 4. King Night (Dir. Richard Bates Jr.) 3. They/Them (Dir. John Logan)

2. Good Mourning (Dir. Machine Gun Kelly & Mod Sun)

1. The Bubble (Dir. Judd Apatow)

124 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Commenting has been turned off.
Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page