Best of 2022: Our Favourite Films of the Year

20 Dec 2022 BY Steven Ryder in Film Features

5 mins

After a turbulent 2021 during which the film calendar was upended by the pandemic and many movies found themselves delayed, 2022 saw cinemas jam-packed from beginning to end. Streaming sites continued to evolve and unexpected surprises topped the box office for much of the year, leading us to re-evaluate what it means to be a movie star.

Sequels to hugely popular animated family films popped up throughout the year with Sing 2Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Minions: The Rise of Gru successfully expanding on beloved characters from the the previous installments. The Bad Guys, meanwhile, introduced us to a new group of animated creatures and proved to be a rousing success, topping off a great year for mainstream family animation.

For older audiences, Top Gun: Maverick proved to be the most unpredictably triumphant blockbuster as it marched (and continues to march) towards being the biggest box office hit of the year. Released and taking place a whopping 36 years after the original film, it further solidifies Tom Cruise as one of the biggest movie stars in the world and can be celebrated as one of the biggest non-superhero successes of recent years. 

Auteurs such as Jordan Peele and Baz Luhrmann both directed huge hits this year with Nope and Elvis, respectively. Whilst Peele brought a welcome playfulness to the horror/sci-fi genre, Luhrmann tackled the musical biopic with his signature tone and style, giving a spark to the life of Elvis Presley.

As with any year, it is difficult to whittle down the field to just a few favourites but here are our Curation Team's personal cinematic highlights in this most jam-packed year of cinematic feasts. 

Michael - Senior Curation Coordinator

Primary: The Bad Guys

Secondary: Belle

Documentary: All That Breathes

On The Bad Guys

This lively animation based on a children's graphic novel series of the same name follows the adventures of a criminal gang. Snake, Tarantula, Shark, Piranha and their leader, Wolf, enjoy nothing more than planning and executing audacious heists. But when Wolf experiences genuinely warm feelings after performing a generous act, he starts to question whether he needs to be a bad guy after all. Featuring colourful design and a whole host of delightful set pieces, The Bad Guys is not only great fun but also reminds us that a leopard or even a wolf can change its spots.

Steven - Curation Officer

Primary: Turning Red

Secondary: Everything Everywhere All at Once

Documentary: Good Night Oppy

On Everything Everywhere All At Once:

This story of an immigrant family trying so hard to love each other through a haze of social and personal differences should not, traditionally, be this funny and this action-packed. Yet, somehow, the directing duo known collectively as the Daniels have weaponised their unique sense of humour and style of storytelling to truly dig into what it means to be culturally disconnected from those you should be closest to. Despite partying within the surreal and being impossible to predict, the film has been tipped to sweep up at awards season, particularly Michelle Yeoh, the Malaysian superstar actress who gives possibly a career-best performance as the struggling, and often blameworthy, matriarch of the family.

Maria - Curation Officer

Primary: Roald Dahl's Matilda the Musical

Secondary: Nope

Documentary: Super Eagles '96

On Nope:

Since his ingenious debut, Get Out, Jordan Peele has become one of the most sought after horror filmmakers. Luckily this pressure has not gotten to the director and Nope exudes Peele's ongoing love for cinema and the creative ways one can explore its intriguing history. The film pokes into the strange beginnings of the motion picture, thought to be a clip of a Black man on a horse, as we follow siblings OJ and Emerald as they struggle to continue running the horse wrangling business they inherited from their father. When objects start falling from the sky and an ominous presence hangs above them, they embark on a mission to document what they believe to be a UFO. Seamlessly mixing genres together, Nope is an experience made for the big screen that involves its audience in its evolving tale.

Charlotte - Curation Officer

Primary: The Railway Children Return

Secondary: Wildhood

Documentary: Fire of Love

On Wildhood:

Films have long taught us that going on a trip can lead to a journey of self-discovery. In the tradition of indie road movies like Patagonia and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, finding your roots and discovering companionship is at the heart of Wildhood, a Canadian coming-of-age drama about two half-brothers who set out to find the elder's estranged mother. This visually-striking film explores sexual identity and what personal heritage means in an unassuming yet highly sensitive manner, making the brooding young protagonist's inner journey towards self-acceptance very accessible and relatable. Directed by Bretten Hannam who identifies as Two-Spirit (a term adopted by indigenous North American people who don't conform to Western ideals of gender), the film is particularly refreshing in its representation of LGBTQ+ issues in different cultural contexts while powerfully communicating a universal desire for belonging and love.


Steven Ryder, Curation Officer

Steven has an MA in Film Studies, Programming and Curation from the National Film and Television School. He has previously worked for various exhibitors around England and currently freelances as a film critic/podcaster.

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