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The 32 Best (and Most Anticipated) Movies of 2022

Two years into the pandemic, the allure of the multiplex (and local indie joint alike) is stronger than ever, heralding a steady return to moviegoing as we once knew it. Still, if recent events have taught us anything about the way that we consume media, it’s that sometimes, any sized screen will do—especially if the stuff is as good as what’s on this list. Here, we present the best—and most eagerly awaited—films of 2022, from block-busting action flicks to cozy dramas. Go forth, and settle in for some good old-fashioned movie magic…no matter how you watch it.

A Hero, January 7

The Iranian filmmaker Ashgar Farhadi’s best movies—A Separation, About Elly, The Salesman—are engrossing domestic dramas that take flight by burrowing into the thorny questions of middle-class life. With A Hero, his riveting new film, he has created a morality tale about a young Iranian father, Rahim, who is trying to rebuild his life after falling afoul of a creditor. The serendipitous discovery of a cache of gold coins, which Rahim promptly returns to its owner, would seem to have delivered our “hero” into a new life. But nothing goes as planned in this achingly sad story where reputation, public acclaim, and doing the right thing are never simple notions. —Taylor Antrim

How to watch: Stream on Prime Video

Scream, January 14

Deftly skipping over the many sequels since the original, the latest Scream iteration is titled just that—and with its explicit allusions to the original, it seems to be cultivating a self-referential status for this version of the cult thriller. With Neve Campbell and Courtney Cox reprising their original roles, the nostalgia factor is high in this film. —Chloe Schama

How to watch: Stream on Paramount+, Amazon, Apple TV or YouTube

The Worst Person in the World, February 4

Joachim Trier’s latest is a romantic-comedy-drama with the stunning Renate Reinsve (she took home the best actress award at Cannes) starring as Julie, a somewhat directionless young woman involved in a relationship with a more ambitious and directed man 15 years her senior. The setup becomes more complicated when she meets and begins to fall for a man closer to her age. The self-described “European art-house guy” director told the Los Angeles Times that he “went out on a limb” with this surprisingly romantic film. —C.S.

How to watch: Stream on Amazon, Apple TV, or YouTube

After Yang, March 4

Kogonada, a South Korean–born American filmmaker who made the well-received 2018 indie, Columbus, returns with two notable projects this year. After Yang is a cerebral adaptation of a science-fiction short story starring Colin Farrell and Jodie Turner-Smith about a household android that malfunctions. He will also produce and direct episodes of Apple TV+’s limited series Pachinko, the splashy adaptation of Min Jin Lee’s best-selling novel. — T.A.

How to watch: Stream on Showtime, Amazon, Apple TV, or YouTube

The Batman, March 4

Robert Pattinson stars as an especially brooding Bruce Wayne in this epic adaption by Matt Reeves, best known for helming Cloverfield (2008) and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014). In a Gotham City that feels sickeningly close to home, Batman is mostly a reclusive detective; Catwoman (Zoë Kravitz), a cocktail waitress whose friend has disappeared; and the Riddler (Paul Dano), a creep who livestreams his murderous exploits and dabbles in latte art. But even bolted straight into the ground—and rendered in deep, dusky colors by cinematographer Greig Fraser—The Batman doesn’t skimp on high-flying thrills. —Marley Marius

How to watch: Stream on HBO Max, Amazon, or YouTube

Everything Everywhere All at Once, March 25

The opening night film at SXSW, A24’s Everything Everywhere All at Once stars Michelle Yeoh as a Chinese American woman who sets off on a mundane task—finishing her taxes—and ends up…traversing the multiverse? The film is the product of the experimental directing duo known as Daniels (Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert) and follows their 2016 film, Swiss Army Man. —C.S.

How to watch: Stream on Amazon, Apple TV, or YouTube

Nitram, March 30

A rough, depressing beauty characterizes the work of Australian filmmaker Justin Kurzel, best known for his gritty, blood-soaked 2015 Macbeth with Michael Fassbender. I, for one, cannot get his 2011 true-crime film Snowtown out of my head, for its frightening vision of a sociopath in a poor suburb of Adelaide. His new film, Nitram, which debuted on AMC+, is another true-crime story set in suburban Australia and features a standout and chilling performance from Caleb Landry Jones as a disassociated young man who spirals into violence. —T.A.

How to watch: Stream on AMC+, Amazon, Apple TV, or YouTube

Navalny, April 11

The subject of Daniel Roher’s film, the Russian dissident and former presidential candidate Alexei Navalny, has been in a Russian prison since January 2021, after a near-fatal poisoning by Moscow security agents in 2020. Navalny is a powerful reminder that Vladimir Putin would like nothing more than to see him killed—and that only Navalny’s celebrity, his social media acumen and charisma on the world stage (which this film powerfully reaffirms), can keep him alive. But the other reason to see Navalny is for its sheer entertainment value, to be immersed in the suspenseful story Roher is telling—recent history and scarcely believable if this were a Jason Bourne sequel. —T.A.

How to watch: Stream on HBO Max

Paris, 13th District, April 15

The new film from Jacques Audiard, one of France’s most fascinating auteurs, is a sexually frank black-and-white drama about young people in one of Paris’s overlooked neighborhoods. It is co-written by Celine Sciamma and features a cast of alluring performers, including one of the stars of Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Noémie Merlant. —T.A.

How to watch: Stream on Amazon with AMC+, Apple TV, or YouTube

Downton Abbey: A New Era, May 20

When the dowager countess (Maggie Smith) reveals that she has come into the possession of a villa in the South of France, the Crawleys take a trip in Simon Curtis’s sun-soaked, unapologetically lavish sequel. There are summer soirées as well as a spectacular wedding. —Radhika Seth

How to watch: Stream on Peacock, Amazon, Apple TV, or YouTube

Men, May 20

In Alex Garland’s Men, a horror film built out of shocks and surprises and canny subversions you won’t want to see coming, a London professional, Harper (Jessie Buckley), has seen her marriage end disastrously and retreats to a rented country house to rest and recover and recharge. Once there, she is menaced by local men played—every one of them—by the shape-shifting actor Rory Kinnear. Even that is giving too much away. Men’s ideas are embedded in its casting, its thoughts about the ubiquity of masculine power, about how male violence and thuggery are everywhere—and how ancient they are. Men are scary in Men but also pathetic, helpless, vulnerable, and needy. By its end—surely the most go-for-broke, love-it-or-hate-it finale you’ll see this year—women are not so much prey as practically beside the point. —T.A.

How to watch: Stream on Amazon or YouTube

Top Gun: Maverick, May 27

More than the movie of the summer—which it undoubtedly is—Top Gun: Maverick is now a piece of movie history, the film that got audiences back into theaters in the COVID era. It’s made more than $1 billion (the highest-grossing film of Tom Cruise’s career) and is still going strong. Have you submitted to its mix of electrifying flight sequences and utterly embarrassing human drama? What are you waiting for? —T.A.

How to watch: In theaters

Benediction, June 3

Jack Lowden turns in another stirring performance as decorated WWI soldier turned government critic and acclaimed poet Siegfried Sassoon in Terence Davies’s Benediction. Alternating between sharp humor and deep sorrow, the film follows him (and his love affairs) as he drifts through England’s postwar aristocratic, literary, and stage circles seeking a kind of redemption. —Lisa Wong Macabasco

Elvis, June 24

Go to Elvis for the Prada costumes and for Austin Butler’s committed, pelvis-thrusting performance. Brace yourself for the length, the maximalism, the onslaught of Baz Luhrmann directorial excess. Elvis is a lot in every sense, but for Luhrmann fans it’s an overwhelming, glittering, rock-and-roll must. —T.A.

How to watch: In theaters

Fire of Love, July 6

Fire of Love is a surprise; a dazzling, seductive, nature-meets-romance documentary that cuts against the current grain for nonfiction films. This is not true crime, not a deep dive into scandal, not a disposable pop-star autobiography—the three genres du jour. This 90-minute charmer, from the filmmaker Sara Dosa, is a gentle, deeply tasteful portrait of a French couple, Katia and Maurice Krafft, who were celebrity volcanologists in the 1970s and ’80s. Miranda July narrates the proceedings—partly reading from the Kraffts’ own writings, and archly commenting on the way they were aware of their own burgeoning fame (French TV ate them up)—and her casual-whimsical voice adds to the film’s transporting effect. —T.A.

How to watch: In select theaters

Both Sides of the Blade, July 8

Juliette Binoche reunites with Claire Denis in Both Sides of the Blade, a pandemic-era romantic drama shot like a thriller. Binoche is Sara, a radio journalist living in Paris with her husband, Jean (Vincent Lindon)—still getting his bearings after a stint in jail—when François (Grégoire Colin), a former lover of hers and best friend of Jean’s, pops up on the scene. As a woman buffeted by suspicion, fear, and conflicting feelings of loyalty and desire, Binoche is, as ever, a total joy to watch—and in Denis’s hands, this small movie about old wounds sings with suspense. —M.M.

How to watch: In select theaters

Murina, July 8

An award-winning Cannes debut, the darkly escapist Croatian drama Murina is the first feature from writer-director Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović, and it teems with menace. It dramatizes the coming-of-age of 17-year-old Julija, who lives with her parents on an insular island along the country’s Adriatic coastline. The scenery is gorgeous–all craggy rocks and cerulean blue waters and sun–but Julija’s life is frighteningly constrained by her brutal father, and the actress Gracija Filipović perfectly captures her desperate need for escape. When her father’s old friend, Javier, arrives, Julija is seduced and dangerously tempted. The underwater sequences (Julija and her father are adept at spearfishing) are glorious and the movie enthralls you with its Hitchcockian mood. —T.A.

How to watch: In select theaters

Nope, July 22

With its plotline still mired in mystery, Jordan Peele’s follow-up to his genre-defining horror sensations Get Out and Us is this chiller featuring Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Steven Yeun, and Barbie Ferreira. The poster alone—which shows a dark grayish-blue cloud hovering over an unnamed metropolis and was released exactly 365 days before the film is set to open—was enough to send the internet into a tailspin. —R.S.

The Woman King, September 16

Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love & Basketball) with a cast that includes Viola Davis, Lashana Lynch, John Boyega, and Thuso Mbedu, this historical saga will be worth the wait. Set in the West African kingdom of Dahomey (modern-day Benin), it centers on the general of an all-female military unit. —R.S.

Moonage Daydream, September 16

Brett Morgen’s Moonage Daydream isn’t a connect-the-dots David Bowie biopic: It is, instead, a gloriously immersive, kaleidoscopic examination not so much of Bowie’s life here on earth, but of the life he lived inside his head and his heart, which led him to create his art. Instead of telling you about Bowie, it puts you in the midst of his world; instead of teaching you things, it makes you feel the world he lived in. The fact that it’s big, loud, fragmented, and occasionally chaotic (and a bit long, at two hours and 20 minutes) is even more cause for celebration. —Corey Seymour

Don’t Worry Darling, September 23

Eerie, stylish, and impossibly steamy, the first trailer for Olivia Wilde’s psychological hair-raiser has us counting the days until its release. In her cover story for Vogue, Wilde described the film as “The Feminine Mystique on acid.” It tracks a couple (Florence Pugh and Harry Styles) in a 1950s utopian community in California who find their lives slowly unraveling. —R.S.

Blonde, September 23

Much internet chatter has attended the Netflix release of Andrew Dominik’s adaptation of the Joyce Carol Oates novel Blonde about Marilyn Monroe. Dominik does not make conventional films or cheery ones (Killing Them SoftlyThe Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford), and he has prepared an NC-17 cut of Blonde—starring Ana de Armas alongside Bobby Cannavale, Adrien Brody, and others—for the streamer. —T.A.

My Policeman, October 21

My Policeman is an adaptation of Bethan Roberts’s 2012 novel of the same name, which centers on Marion (played here by The Crown’s Emma Corrin) and Tom (Harry Styles), a school teacher and policeman, who meet and fall in love on the Brighton coast in the ’50s. Enter Patrick (David Dawson), a curator who has moved to Brighton to recover from the death of a previous lover and soon develops feelings for Tom. The men embark on a passionate affair—in spite of the fact that homosexuality is illegal. For a while, the threesome embraces their lives as a ménage a trois, until jealousy shatters their arrangement. Fast forward to the ’90s, and the frail Patrick reenters the lives of the now-married Marion and Tom, with predictably dramatic consequences. —R.S.

She Said, November 18

In Maria Schrader’s rousing drama, Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan play Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor, The New York Times reporters who broke the story of Harvey Weinstein’s history of sexual misconduct. It could very well be an awards-season front-runner for 2023. —R.S.

Bones & All, November 23

Some five (!) years after the sensation that was Call Me By Your Name, director Luca Guadagnino and Timothée Chalamet are back together again with Bones & All, a very different kind of queer love story. Adapted from Camille DeAngelis’s novel of the same name, it follows Maren (Waves star Taylor Russell), a wayward young woman (and…cannibal) who meets a drifter named Lee (Chalamet). “I like to think that Bones and All is an extremely romantic movie, addressing the romanticism that lies within us and within relationships in general,” Guadagnino told Fantastic Man earlier this year. “Of course, there’s the literal aspect of it being a movie about cannibal lovers, which is extreme in many ways, but I think the more extreme aspect of the movie is the intensity of the feel­ings that these people go through—the impossibility of love.” OK! —M.M.

The Fabelmans, November 23

Fifty years into his hallowed career, Steven Spielberg finally turns the lens onto himself in this semi-autobiographical coming-of-age drama, co-written with frequent collaborator Tony Kushner. Included in the cast are Paul Dano and Michelle Williams (as Mr. and Mrs. Fabelman), Seth Rogan (as an uncle), and the likes of Judd Hirsch, Jeannie Berlin, and David Lynch. —M.M.

Empire of Light, December 9

Plot details for Sam Mendes’s latest are still scant—per Deadline, the romantic drama is “set in and around a beautiful old cinema on the South Coast of England in the 1980s”—but with a cast lead by Olivia Colman, Colin Firth, and Top Boy’s Michael Ward, hopes are high. —M.M.

I Wanna Dance With Somebody, December 21

Whitney Houston’s precipitous rise and tragic fall will be the subject of Kasi Lemmons’s emotionally charged fable, which sees Naomi Ackie embody the legendary singer, with Ashton Sanders as her former husband, Bobby Brown, and Stanley Tucci as record producer Clive Davis. —R.S.

Babylon, December 25

Damien Chazelle’s new film will explore the transition from silent films to talkies. One of the most perfect films of all time circled the same topic, but never mind—if anyone can take on Old Hollywood with affection and joie, it’s Chazelle, whose love of Hollywood glamour shone bright in the buoyant La La Land. Starring Margot Robbie, Brad Pitt, Tobey Maguire, and many others (is that Flea on the cast list?), the movie is packed with the megawatt stars of today as well. —Chloe Schama

Several films on our radar have yet to set their release dates. They include:

Killers of the Flower Moon

Martin Scorsese is bringing together two of his closest collaborators, Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio, for Killers of the Flower Moon, an off-kilter Western that follows an FBI investigation into a spate of murders targeting Indigenous Americans. Based on a best-selling nonfiction book and costarring Jesse Plemons and Brendan Fraser—both long overdue wider critical recognition—it looks set to be an awards season lock. —Liam Hess


Written and directed by the hotly tipped Sierra Leonean American filmmaker Nikyatu Jusu, Nanny is a masterful horror film that is equally unafraid to tackle weightier themes rarely seen on film—from the immigrant experience to the exploitation of women from the African diaspora in today’s America. With a star-making turn from Anna Diop as a Senegalese nanny navigating the trials of working for a dysfunctional, wealthy Manhattan family while also dealing with demons of her own (expressed through an increasingly terrifying series of nightmares, rooted in West African folklore and explored more deeply in another brilliant turn by Leslie Uggams as her boyfriend’s grandmother), Nanny is as visually striking as it is smart and subversive. —L.H.

Women Talking

Adapted from Miriam Toews’s celebrated 2018 novel, Women Talking centers on an isolated religious community where the women are regularly drugged and raped overnight. (The story was inspired by horrific true events in Bolivia.) Sarah Polley directs, and Frances McDormand, Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley, Judith Ivey, and Ben Whishaw star. —M.M.

Originally published in

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