(This article is part of our Best of 2022 series.)
2022 was a ridiculously good year for movies. I saw so many great stories that for a time I wasn’t sure I’d be able to pick just five. However, after thinking it over, I realized that there were in fact five that stood out from the pack. Please note these aren’t listed in any particular order, they’re all equally my favorites.
It’s not every day that a film holds my undivided attention from the moment I first saw the teaser trailer for it, but that’s exactly what happened with The Menu. The fact that it was a movie set in the world of haute cuisine was enough to reel me in, but when you add Ralph Fiennes and Anya Taylor-Joy into the mix too? Plus a strong indication of horror? Pardon the pun, but that was a recipe I couldn’t ignore. Indeed, The Menu remains one of the best films I saw in 2022 because it is literally a perfect film. From the moment the movie opens, there’s not one element out of place in the entire story. I am enthralled with how The Menu deftly balances horror and comedy, creating a spectacle you can’t look away from even when it becomes clear how it’s all going to end. But the part I enjoy the most is how Anya Taylor-Joy faces off with Ralph Fiennes’ mad chef throughout the story and creates a conflict that is not to be missed.
The moment I realized The Northman was based on the story that inspired Hamlet, I knew I would love it. With all of the elements of Norse mythology thrown in, I loved it even more. Even with the supernatural elements included, The Northman is presented in such a way that it feels like a story that could have happened. There’s also the fact that almost every scene in this film is eerily beautiful, yes, even that battle scene with the Berserkers. Visually, this isn’t a film you can forget any time soon, which is a big reason why it’s one of my favorites.
The Woman King
I knew nothing about the Kingdom of Dahomey and their female warriors until last year, but once I learned that The Woman King was based on real female warriors, I knew I had to see this film. The Woman King is brutal in the best way possible. You feel every hit, and the suspense leaves your heart in your throat more often than not. And while the film does play somewhat loose with certain historical facts, that shouldn’t deter anyone from enjoying the film for what it is.
Belle was actually the first movie I saw in 2022 and it’s been living rent-free in my head ever since. The film is an extremely loose take on the story of Beauty and the Beast and also something of a cautionary tale about what can happen when we as a society get too wrapped up in social media. The story and animation are both compelling on their own, but when you add in the haunting musical score, including the songs, then this film becomes a must-see. It’s rare for a film to move me to tears, but that’s exactly what Belle did. This is one of those movies that changes you when you watch it, so I encourage everyone to see it if they haven’t already.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
This might raise some eyebrows but for me, I have to say that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was my favorite Marvel film that came out last year (Thor: Love and Thunder was a very close second). As soon as I heard that Sam Raimi would be directing this film, it immediately shot to the top of my must-see list and it did not disappoint. I’d been wondering for a while what horror would look like in the MCU and while I concede this is not a pure horror film, you’ve gotta admit this is the closest we’ve come thus far and it was amazing. I have a whole new appreciation for Doctor Strange after watching this film and I’m excited to see where his story goes from here. Also, I’m among those who are convinced this is not the end of the Scarlet Witch.
Those are my five favorite films of 2022. My honorable mentions include Thor: Love and Thunder, The Invitation, Inu-Oh, and Everything Everywhere All at Once.
What are your thoughts on the movies that made my top five? Share them down below!