From 'Aftersun' to 'The Banshees of Inisherin': Top films of 2022

As the year comes to an end, we take a look at some of the best films 2022 has produced


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Published: Mon 26 Dec 2022, 12:12 PM

Last updated: Mon 26 Dec 2022, 12:25 PM

Associated Press Film Writer Lindsey Bahr has made her pick for the best films of the year. Martin McDonagh's friendship parable The Banshees of Inisherin leads Bahr's list. Other films that stood out to the critic include Todd Fields' Cate Blanchett-led Tár, Sarah Polley's ensemble drama Women Talking, and the Steven Soderbergh thriller Kimi. Noah Baumbach's White Noise also made it to Bahr's list.

1. The Banshees of Inisherin

Martin McDonagh’s film is a sharp, funny and utterly devastating work about the end of a friendship on a small Irish island. Colin Farrell uses his wonderful brows (and acting chops) to ensure ultimate heartbreak as his world and sense of self crumbles and rots. But it’s the ensemble, including Brendan Gleeson, Kerry Condon, Barry Keoghan and on down, who imbue this deceptively simple set-up with gravity and depth.

2. Tár

Todd Field’s brilliant, restless Tár reminded us how much we love movies (and tricked us into believing that we were some kind of scholar of classical music for a few hours). Cate Blanchett is transcendent in bringing this flawed genius to life, challenging the audience to consider big questions about power, status and art. It is demanding but immensely rewarding cinema that is not easily defined, which is perhaps why audiences aren’t taking a chance on it in theaters (which is a mistake).

3. Women Talking

Sarah Polley’s film hasn’t even been released to the general public and it’s already considered “divisive,” which is one of the best reasons to seek it out. Aren’t you curious which side you’ll be on? We were spellbound by her heady, spiritual vision of a group of abused women in an isolated religious colony questioning their reality and wondering if life could somehow be different than what they know.

4. Aftersun

In a year full of autobiographical films from very famous names, it was the one from the unknown that made the biggest impression. You don’t have to know anything about Charlotte Wells to get wrapped up in Aftersun, an inspired and fully realized memory piece about an ordinary vacation some 20 years prior that will leave you in pieces (which is somehow possible even when the Macarena is also stuck in your head).

5. Saint Omer

A young woman is on trial for the death of her 15-month-old daughter in this haunting French courtroom drama, a tremendous debut feature from documentarian Alice Diop, that upends your notions of what the genre can be in its examination of trauma, the immigrant experience and expectations of motherhood.

6. Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

This is the kind of romantic confection that’s a bit of an outlier on a list like this, but that’s why it’s here. Anthony Fabian’s film about an English housecleaner and war widow (Lesley Manville) in the 1950s who saves up to travel to Paris to buy a couture Christian Dior gown is a balm -- heartwarming without being schlocky, reverential of high fashion artistry but critical of its exclusionary ways and just a supreme delight.

7. Kimi

Sorry Top Gun: Maverick, you were very entertaining too, but Steven Soderbergh’s Kimi was my favorite popcorn experience of the year — a taut, paranoid thriller with a modern, Alexa/Siri-inspired spin on the overheard crime scenario of Blow Up, with a sharp performance from Zoe Kravitz, who can even make an agoraphobic shut in extremely cool.

8. Murina

There is rot beneath the punishingly beautiful, sun-soaked Adriatic setting of Croatian filmmaker Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic’s sublimely menacing debut feature about a 17-year-old girl who is starting to question the ingrained misogyny around her. The family dynamics are as rocky and dangerous as the picturesque backdrop.

9. Corsage

Beauty, waistlines, aging, celebrity, duty and desire haunt Empress Elisabeth of Austria in Marie Kreutzer’s intricate and interpretive portrait of dynamic mind and soul that’s been stifled by her position and myriad traumas. Vicky Krieps is perfect as the deliriously subversive Sissi.

10. White Noise

The supermarket dance to LCD Soundsystem’s New Body Rhumba might not come until the very end of Noah Baumbach’s Don DeLillo adaptation but there is a dazzling rhythm to the entire epic, from the controlled chaos of the overlapping dialogue to the hectic choreography of a family making breakfast. But maybe the most surprising thing is that behind all the wit, the style, the commentary on American society and the banal and the profound in the everyday, there is a real emotional weight too.

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