The Top 10 Movies Of 2022, According To Eric Eisenberg

Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell in The Banshees Of Inisherin
(Image credit: Searchlight Pictures)

There is no such thing as “a bad year for movies.” If you go a full 12 months without seeing any new releases that you like, that’s less likely a result of the medium failing you, and more likely the result of you not seeing enough films. It’s a truth that is recognized every December, and 2022 most certainly does not disrupt the pattern. Reflecting on everything that hit theaters and/or streaming services since the first week of January, cinephiles will recognize a great number of titles that will be remembered for a long time to come.

Personally, I watched 128 new films that came out this year, and it was a very real challenge to line them up side-by-side and determine the best of the best… but that was the annual assignment, and that’s what I’ve done. I sadly wasn’t able to include all of my favorites, as I didn’t find myself with enough room to include films like Robert EggersThe Northman, Matt Reeves’ The Batman, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett's Scream, Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and Todd Field’s TÁR, but below I’ve singled out what I have determined to be the best movies to come out in 2022.

RJ Cyler, Donald Elise Watkins, and Sebastian Chacon in Emergency

(Image credit: Amazon Studios)

10. Emergency

Carey Williams’ Emergency begins like a typical coming-of-age comedy, with a group of friends (Donald Elise Watkins, RJ Cyler, Stephen Chacon) preparing for an epic, life-changing night of party hopping on their college campus… but then all of those plans fall to ruin when the boys discover a passed-out blonde girl (Maddie Nichols) in their apartment’s living room. The typical coming-of-age comedy then suddenly becomes about race and policing in America, and it unfolds as an impressive commentary that also still manages to frequently be laugh-out-loud funny. That’s a tough tightrope to walk, but the film nails it.

You can stream Emergency on Amazon Prime Video.

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Nicholas Hoult and Anya Taylor-Joy in The Menu

(Image credit: Searchlight Pictures)

9. The Menu

Class warfare was a big thing in 2022 movies (something you’ll note is represented well on this list on the whole), and Mark Mylod’s The Menu has quite a sharp bite. It lures you in with mystery, as it’s clear from the outset that something isn’t quite right with the secluded and prestigious restaurant run by Ralph Fiennes’ Chef Julian Slowik, and the smart script uses the various courses of a single night’s meal to unfurl mayhem that is both funny and horrific. Anya Taylor-Joy continues to prove herself as one of her generation’s great talents, and she is surrounded by an outstanding ensemble cast.

The Menu will be available to stream on HBO Max on January 3, 2023.

The cast of Soft And Quiet

(Image credit: Momentum Pictures)

8. Soft & Quiet

If you’re a horror fan and haven’t heard a great deal about Beth de Araujo's Soft & Quiet, that isn’t a bad thing; just keep it that way before you get rent/buy it and press play. If you don’t know too much about it, it’s a film that sneaks up on you as you watch – opening with a group of like-minded women getting together for a meeting with mysterious intentions – and just as it has you leaning in, it rocks you back on your heels. It’s a tremendous achievement stylistically alone, as events transpire in real time in what appears to be a single take (with cuts being minimal and practically invisible), and it sets up a tense and confining atmosphere that makes way for a creepy and disturbing commentary about modern American society.

You can rent/buy Soft & Quiet on Amazon Prime Video.

Glass Onion cast, including Kathryn Hahn, Edward Norton, Leslie Odom Jr. and Kate Hudson

(Image credit: Netflix)

7. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

I really hate the full title of Rian Johnson’s Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (why not trust the audience and make it just Glass Onion? Or at least “A Benoit Blanc Mystery”?), but simultaneously it says a lot about the quality of a movie when the title is the only thing to complain about. The second murder mystery featuring Daniel Craig’s aforementioned Kentucky-fried sleuth is a tremendous follow-up worthy of its excellent predecessor, sporting another remarkable ensemble cast and a delightful, twisty plot that delivers surprise after surprise leading up to its revelation-stocked third act. All of the stars are tremendous, but just as Ana de Armas owned the spotlight in the original, Janelle Monáe is the sequel’s champion.

You can stream Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery on Netflix.

Tim Roth and Rebecca Hall in Resurrection

(Image credit: Shudder)

6. Resurrection

This is the time of year when publications, film organizations, and critics groups identify and hail the best performances of the last 12 months, and you should be suspicious of any feature or nominations list that doesn’t highlight the work done by both Rebecca Hall and Tim Roth in Andrew Semans' Resurrection. This was a great year for horror movies in general (which I think is represented on this list as a whole), but this is the special one that inspires you to curl up into a fetal position as it sinks its claws into your brain – telling the story of a woman (Hall) who finds herself haunted and losing her mind when a dangerous and controlling ex (Roth) roots his way back into her life. It’s horrifying and leaves your jaw on the floor.

You can stream Resurrection on Shudder.

Daniel Kaluuya Brandon Perea and Keke Palmer in Nope

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

5. Nope

The true brilliance of writer/director Jordan Peele can be understood from his eye for detail. Everything in his movies – from character details to props – has at least one meaning, if not several, that the filmmaker uses to illustrate a larger theme. With Nope, Peele’s focus is all about our world’s never-ending obsession with spectacle, and it’s a phenomenal contradiction in being a brilliant big screen spectacle itself. It’s an awesome cinematic tribute to Jaws and Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, features fantastic performances from Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Steven Yeun, Michael Wincott, and Brandon Perea, and the twist at the heart at the heart of the plot, which flips the script on a sci-fi tradition, is my favorite of the year.

You can stream Nope on Peacock.

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Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell in The Banshees Of Inisherin

(Image credit: Searchlight Pictures)

4. The Banshees Of Inisherin

Fourteen years ago, writer/director Martin McDonagh made an indelible impact on the film industry when he made his feature directorial debut with In Bruges – and thus there was only expectation for magnificence when he reunited with stars Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson for The Banshees Of Inisherin. It in no way disappoints. In addition to the two actors once again proving to have brilliant cinematic chemistry that perfectly matches with McDonagh’s unique, darkly comedic voice, it’s a fascinating movie about friendship and what’s important in life. Farrell and Gleeson are spectacular, but Barry Keoghan and Kerry Condon are the secret weapons.

You can stream The Banshees Of Inisherin on HBO Max.

Charlbi Dean Kriek and Dolly De Leon hug in Triangle Of Sadness

(Image credit: Neon)

3. Triangle Of Sadness

One of the best things about movies in 2022 was how unrepentantly gross things got on the big screen. Jeff Tremaine’s Jackass Forever, Damien Leone’s Terrifier 2, and Damien Chazelle’s Babylon all have their own special moments that may influence those with weak stomachs to lose their lunch, Ruben Östlund's Triangle Of Sadness is on a whole other level. The second act of the film, set on a cruise populated by the uber-wealthy, will likely be regarded as one of the most nausea-inducing stretches in modern cinema, but it’s all in service of searing social satire that only gets better and more incisive as the story unfolds.

You can rent/buy Triangle Of Sadness on Amazon Prime Video.

Marcel the shell with shoes on looking up from a keyboard

(Image credit: A24)

2. Marcel The Shell With Shoes On

When I went to see Dean Fleischer-Camp's Marcel The Shell With Shoes On this summer, I was in a terrible mood and exhausted – and I was actually concerned that I was just going to fall asleep mid-screening. I ended up not doing that, and it’s because Marcel The Shell With Shoes On is magic. It’s a stunning cinematic achievement simply in the way in which it seamlessly blends live-action and stop-motion (an effort of genius creativity), and it’s a beautiful, sweet, and hilarious examination of the importance of family and community. You might not believe that your heart could break for an anthropomorphic shell, but Marcel will prove you wrong.

You can rent/buy Marcel The Shell With Shoes On on Amazon Prime Video.

Michelle Yeoh in Everything Everywhere All at Once

(Image credit: A24)

1. Everything Everywhere All At Once

The multiverse has tremendous appeal for cinephiles. After all, if there are an infinite number of alternate universes, that means that every movie is a window into a parallel reality. More importantly, it means that anything is possible and existence is limitless – and to date, no film has better understood the power of this idea than Daniels’ exceptionally weird Everything Everywhere All At Once. It’s a stunning and mind-bending journey that delights in exploring the weird extremes of its core concept, and on top of that it’s a powerful intergenerational drama packed with heart. Furthermore, Michelle Yeoh, Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan, Jamie Lee Curtis, and James Hong make up the best ensemble of 2022 in the best movie of 2022.

You can stream Everything Everywhere All At Once on Paramount Plus.

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We can only hope that next year is as fulfilling for cinephiles – and you can get a preview of what’s ahead with our 2023 Movie Release Calendar. Be on the lookout for more end-of-year lists from our site, including our Top 10 Movies Of 2022, According To CinemaBlend, which is aggregated based on input from our entire staff.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.