Best Movies of 2022, According to Metacritic: Metacritic is one of the most respected and esteemed websites for understanding a movie’s greatness. The review aggregation website works on a simple funda of ‘weighted average’ where reviews from carefully selected movie critics from around the world are assigned a definite score out of 100 and averaged out to calculate a score known as a ‘Metascore.’ This score is then color-coded according to the total score into the colors – green (favorable), yellow (mixed), and red (unfavorable), allowing audiences to understand which movies floored the critics and which ones didn’t.
In a year where great movies were underwhelming performers at the box office, some movies nearly broke our hearts into thousand pieces. Then, movies like Everything Everywhere All At Once literally shook our core of what cinema could be. The following list is an averaged-out average of the culmination of those meta scores. It puts the best movies of 2022 in an order that will likely help audiences peep into the best of the bests, according to movie critics (or simply, according to Metacritic).
15. The Banshees of Inisherin
Set on a remote island off the west coast of Ireland, The Banshees of Inisherin tells us how two best friends, Padraic and Colm, stop talking one day out of the blue. Colm suddenly realizes that he needs to end his friendship with the good-for-nothing, Pádraic. On the other hand, Pádraic, his doting and over-caring sister Siobhan, and the islands’ troubled child Dominic try their best to repair the two men’s stormy relationship. Refusing to take no for an answer when Pádraic makes repeated efforts to win back his friend’s old self, Colm only gets more determined to give his ex-best friend an ultimatum that leads to shocking and bizarre events in the village.
For those who don’t mind a slow burn that uses humor to tell a heartbreaking story, Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin is worth watching. The duo of Colin Farrell (playing Pádraic Súilleabháin) and Brendan Gleeson (playing Colm Doherty) reunite after working with McDonagh in 2008s In Bruges, and the result is magical. The film boosts outstanding performances by the lead stars and takes you to Ireland’s jaw-dropping, gorgeous backdrop. Currently, with a Metascore of 87, based on 62 reviews, the film has been lauded by films critics, with Guy Lodge of Variety saying, “The result feels closer than any of his previous films to the barbed, intimate lyricism of McDonagh’s work as a playwright, and more deeply, sorrowfully felt to boot.”
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For Descendant, documentary filmmaker Margaret Brown returns to her hometown in Alabama to document the historical findings of The Clotilda – the last ship to arrive in the US, illegally bringing enslaved Africans to the country. The ship’s discovery in 2019 turned attention toward Africa’s descendants, allowing Brown to offer a moving portrayal of the entire community wrestling to safeguard their heritage and consistently looking for justice in today’s time.
Descendant is a fantastic and compelling work that shows how history can be reclaimed by giving a tribute to the community. The film has secured a Metascore of 87 with 13 critic reviews. Odie Henderson mentions in his review for RogerEbert.com that “Descendant is worth seeing no matter who you are. For viewers like me, however, it engenders the reality that, no matter how hard anyone tries to whitewash history, our stories will forever continue to be told in full, by us and for us.” The 109 minutes film is written by Brown and Kern Jackson, shedding light on vivid subjects, including how the country’s past sins have eternally dented the African communities.
13. A Night Of Knowing Nothing
A Night of Knowing Nothing, directed by first-timer Payal Kapadia is a Hindi documentary. This 97-minute film follows a university student in India who writes letters to her estranged lover while he is away. These letters beam with fascinating conversations that allow us to take a glimpse of the changing environment around the protagonist’s life. The film gives us an unstructured narrative that blends reality and fantasy along with dreams and memories, as well as never-ending worries and anxieties about how life will unfold.
The film has received positive responses on the Metacritic website, achieving an 87 Metascore. Michael Phillips from Chicago Tribune called the movie delicate and further expanded by saying that A Night of Knowing Nothing is, “about precarious young hearts, the storm clouds of nationalist politics and, most of all, the possibility and necessity of artistic freedom.”
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For people interested in watching a good film that fits under 90 minutes, Aftershock is the one for you. The 86-minute-long documentary follows the story of two people who lost their partners due to preventable childbirth complications. The film presses on the most immediate and pressing issue of our time – The US maternal health crisis. The two bereaved fathers shed light on the country’s medical negligence and prod activists, birth workers, and health front liners to educate and act on the unspoken American problem.
Currently, at a Metascore of 87, the film is heartbreaking to watch if not triggering. Lovia Gyarkye of The Hollywood Reporter mentioned in her review that the film is “clear-eyed, but by no means exhaustive, a documentary that investigates this underreported crisis without losing sight of the people processing the depths of their loss.”
11. Three Minutes: A Lengthening
Narrated by one of the greatest actors of her generation, Helena Bonham Carter, Three Minutes – A Lengthening captures unimaginable horror in 69 minutes. The documentary uses the three-minute footage of an amateur movie shot in 1938 to depict a story about a Jewish town in Poland, taking us to the haunting memory of the mass genocide, the Holocaust.
Three Minutes: A Lengthening is directed by Bianca Stigter and has secured a 88 Metascore on Metacritic.com. The documentary is almost a philosophical detective story accounting for devastating atrocities by the Nazis. Stephanie Zacharek of the Time writes, “Stigter’s film is at times somber; it’s more often ruefully poetic.”
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10. Return to Seoul
Return to Seoul centers around 25 years old Freddie, who, on an impulse, returns to South Korea for the first time to find her biological parents in the country. Although she was adopted and raised in France, Freddie feels she knows very little about her heritage, and this decision takes her in new and unexpected directions. The film is directed by Davy Chou, who took the script’s idea from a similar experience with his friend.
Return to Seoul is probably the best film of 2022 and is currently at a Metascore of 88, based on excellent reviews by film critics. David Ehrlich perfectly describes the film in his review, “It’s the rare movie that can drop a long-take dance sequence into the middle of a pressing conversation without seeming the least bit mannered or aloof; the rare movie that only feels more honest as a result of its most flamboyant choices, and only makes its heroine more empathetic as a result of how she pushes other people away.”
9. The Quiet Girl
The Quiet Girl or An Cailín Ciúin (original title) is set in rural Ireland in 1981. The story follows a quiet, neglected girl sent away from her dysfunctional family to live with a foster family for the summer. However, good things only last for some time, and while she thrives in warmth and care, she discovers dark secrets about her new home that she wasn’t supposed to know.
With a Metascore of 89 based on 13 film reviews, the film has gotten overwhelming responses from critics. The film is stunning and sympathetic, considering it is directed by a first-timer Colm Bairead and is an adaptation of the novella – Foster by Claire Keegan. In her review, Fionnuala Halligan of Screen Daily writes, “The Quiet Girl is thoughtful, spiritual in its stillness but alive with the hum of the land and the emotions it guards. Editing by the experienced John Murphy finishes the work with a precision that smoothes this rite of passage story. Certainly, this is a quiet film, but it speaks in high volumes.”
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8. Mr. Bachmann and His Class
Here is another extremely personal documentary directed by Maria Speth. Mr. Bachmann and His Class shows the bond between an elementary school teacher and his students. In this 217-minute-long documentary, the director aims to show his unorthodox teaching methods that often clash with the incomprehensible social and cultural realities of the German industrial town that it is set in.
Maria celebrates the man in the documentary and all the respected teachers who have gone way above and beyond their way to educate the children and show them the world with a whole new perspective. Mr. Bachmann and His Class is currently with an 89 Metascore, and film critics have called the film a “heroic-teacher drama about idealism in the face of adversity.” This, of course, is the need of the hour for today’s generation.
7. Great Freedom
Great Freedom or Große Freiheit (original title) is a queer drama directed by Sebastian Meise. Franz Rogowski plays the role of Hans Hoffmann, who is imprisoned for being gay and forms a relationship with his fellow cellmate Viktor, a convicted murderer. The film is set during post-World War II Germany. The film was nominated for the Un Certain Regard section and won the jury prize at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival.
Written by Thomas Reider and Meise, the protagonist in the film is repeatedly imprisoned under Paragraph 175 – a provision of the German Criminal Code (15 May 1871-10 March 1994) that criminalizes homosexuality. Metacritic has rated the film 89 calling it “often brutal and spare in style.” Great Freedom is a truthful humanistic cinema that must be watched for its scarring reality and political and sensual storytelling.
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6. Hit The Road
Written and directed by Panah Panahi, son of the legendary Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi, Hit the Road is an incredibly heartbreaking road trip with twists and turns that will either leave you in a split or with a lump in your throat. The movie’s plot follows a family of four with entirely different personalities having different reactions or sentiments towards their journey together. A very quiet adolescent accompanies the middle-aged parents along with a very notorious, out-and-about six-year-old kid.
Driving across the Iranian countryside, the family, during the trip, end up bickering, developing unspoken tensions, and fussing over trivial matters such as taking in a sick dog, etc. The film offers rib-tickling humor and emotional turmoil at the same time with a simple observation of the Iranian family whose life will change soon as they prepare to part ways with one of their offspring. Panahi’s Hit the Road is currently standing at a comfortable Metascore of 90.
5. The Worst Person in the World
The Worst Person in the World is an unconventional romantic comedy-drama that takes into the life of Julie, played by the beautiful Renate Reinsve, a young woman who finds it difficult to navigate her life when it comes to love and her career. The four years of Julie’s life, shown in 12 separate chapters, are filled with confusion, and desperation, as she tries to make sense of her wants and desires and take an honest look at herself, and understand who she really is.
The Joachim Trier movie currently holds a Metascore of 90. The film manages to deliver an astonishing coming-of-age story that also works as a thorough character study. It also helps that the movie has exceptional performances by Reinsve, Anders Danielsen Lie, and Herbert Nordrum.
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4. All the Beauty and the Bloodshed
All the Beauty and the Bloodshed is directed by none other than Academy Award winner (Citizenfour) Laura Poitras. The documentary snagged the top prize at the 2022’s Venice Fim festival because of the unpredictable and profoundly moving portrait of its subject Nan Goldin. The story is about a renowned artist who is a photographer, visual artist, and activist. All the Beauty and the Bloodshed expands on Goldin’s history of addiction and public dissent.
This overwhelming film has received an astonishing response on Metacritic with 27 favorable reviews, earning a Metascore of 91 to become one of the best movies of 2022 on Metacritic. A film critic at Original CIN mentioned that the documentary is “both complex and rawly immediate.”
3. No Bears
It is a heartwarming feeling for any movie fanatic to witness a new Jafar Panahi movie. The fact that both the father and the son (who debuted with his first feature film) are on this list of the Best Movies of 2022, according to Metacritic.
Bagging the third position No Bears is currently at a Metascore of 91. Urging his viewers to act on the oppression and suppression of his country, No Bears is Panahi’s most angry film to date. With a runtime of little over 100 minutes, he portrays two parallel love stories that show how lovers are constantly troubled by inevitable hindrances from a ruling power and age-old traditions, respectively.
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Cate Blanchett starrer Tár is a psychological drama written and directed by Todd Field. The film follows the life of a renowned composer and conductor, Lydia Tar, and how her life turns upside down in the blink of an eye. During the premiere of the film at the 79th Venice film festival, Blanchett won the Volpi Cup for the best actress for delivering one of the year’s most magnetic and powerful performances. The film also received nominations for Best Picture, Best Screenplay, and Best Actor at the 80th Golden Globe Award.
The film is extremely provocative, making its viewer choose sides and get uncomfortable with their choices. The protagonist is a complex character, and Todd Field ensures that his audience is left a sense of unease as it comes to a rousing end.
Even though the film talks about classical music and the value of art and the artist, the horror of the sexual politics in the industry and cancel-culture is just one step above the entire field, leaving a numbing effect on its viewers. With a Metascore of 91, the film is greatly appreciated for the pressing issue it addresses and Cate’s brilliant central turn.
Directed and written by Charlotte Wells, Aftersun is set in the late 90s. The film follows a story of an 11-year-old Scottish girl, Sophie, who travels with her father to a Turkish resort to celebrate his 31st birthday. Wells has done a superb job showing us her side – a state of mind and confusion about understanding what happened to her father. And through the eyes of Sophie, the director takes us back to her vivid memories, making us a part of her time spent with her father.
Even though it feels like a simple story about a daughter and father bonding together on vacation, the audience can slowly feel the trance it creates with its layers of complexities. Director Charlotte Wells makes it quite prominent for the viewer to know her intentions from the very first moment in the film. Based on the 46 film critics’ reviews, Aftersun ranks first as one the best movies of 2022 on the Metacritic website with a Metascore of 95.