Best Netflix Original Movies of 2022: Well, it is that time of the year when awards are given out to the best films released on the calendar. But the awards aren’t always given to the best, unfortunately. Favoritism and biases often delude the line, and critics crossover to the other side. It is also the time when people like us get onto our computer screens and try to sort out the good ones from the lot objectively. Is that a moral victory of some sort? You be the judge. Netflix is everyone’s favorite OTT platform to diss on. The volume of content it produces on a yearly basis is astonishing

What is even more astonishing is how bad most of those films are. TV shows are relatively better, but boy, it gets dark in there. This list comprises titles that we think are the best original Netflix Movies released on the platform in 2022.

NOTE: We have not considered documentaries for this list.

1. The Wonder

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Florence Pugh in The Wonder

Sebastian Lelio starts The Wonder with a disclaimer that all films should start with: believe in the story. Without that rudimentary checkbox, there is nothing in it for you, really. That warning is an important safety net for Lelio to focus entirely on his thematic structure and what he wants to say about this story and the characters. His balanced approach makes sure that the treatment of the story is not prejudiced or inclined towards one philosophy. As a viewer, you are not confronted or compelled to make that choice. The strongest emotion that hits you when push comes to shove is desperation and helplessness. It is the key to unlocking your conscience and aligning yourselves with the film.

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Florence Pugh’s rising star is greatly supported by her role in The Wonder. It is pivotal for Lelio to convince you to believe in his story. In a very stout character, Pugh injects empathy and feelings. Her touch truly transforms an otherwise dull character, springing to life as things become heated.

2. All Quiet on the Western Front

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All anti-war films drive home one point: the meaningless nature of war. At its core, they have a hollow, futile spirit kindled by greed, hubris, and the ever-convulsing tragedy of human nature. All Quiet is a magnificent showcasing of that very ugly truth and becomes a contemporary thinkpiece with its values and vision. Impassioned pleas by charismatic despots have fully shown capable of turning the world. History books from the 1940s are all you need to look at. But the fervor that seems to drive soldiers and the masses works menacingly only when there is an unconditional surrender to the idea.

All Quiet On The Western Front brings out the inherent conflict in decision-making and following orders to give us a very unique movie-watching experience. More than bomb explosions and rifle bullets, we are confronted with a larger psychological paradigm that has seen us destroy ourselves on so many occasions in the past.

3. The Good Nurse

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Eddie Redmayne & Jessica Chastain in The Good Nurse

In the aftermath of the goodness, one thing became quite certain: Eddie Redmayne was a shoo-in favorite for the awards season. Critics’ fascination with real-life serial killers and their portrayals on the screen will ensure that Redmayne’s performance does not evade attention. Despite largely being about Charles Cullen, the good also makes a decent impression with how it builds tension and the characters. It does not squarely focus on Cullen or his exploits to sensationalize the story. The perspective it chooses is Amy’s (Jessica Chastain) and how she befriends Cullen.

Initially, he is a source of empathy, but the shocking truth sets them apart. Even then, The Good Nurse remains true to highlighting Amy’s story rather than Cullen’s. There are no twists and turns that present the story as cinematic. In fact, it is mostly devoid of theatrics and rather bland in its narrative. That is indeed a good thing for the film as it gives the twin performances of Redmayne and Chastain more focus and allows them to marinate into the setting organically.

Also Read: 6 Movies Like Good Nurse

4. The Stranger

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The Stranger works in a Shutter Island-like ruse to get out the truth. Although it is distinctively less dramatic and more poignant, that is the basic premise of the story. Every minute is sewn together to keep you engaged with the narrative and with the characters all the time. The dialogue has a flimsy, fleeting quality that you can miss even if you take your attention off for a second. For long stretches, you can’t help but feel that this film is a story of the two men bonding and growing intimate and not an investigation into getting a confession and solving a decade-old mystery

That is what makes The Stranger an intense character study and also a battle for justice that is not vacant. Emotions dictate the latter, while the tragedy of the human condition is the former. For all its patience and artistic purity, The Stranger does feel like moving at a glacial pace.

The tone and tenor are easily unlikeable and won’t sweep you off your feet. They become a challenge for average viewers who are not content with a slow burn where talking is the chosen way to uncover the truth of the story. The Stranger does not take too much time to arrive at its central conceit – an undercover team working hard to catch their culprit – but takes its own sweet time to adjust you to its cinematic universe where trust is a declining commodity. Full marks to Thomas Wright for remaining true to his vision and not compromising on it to make it more palatable.

5. A Jazzman’s Blues

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A Jasmine’s blues might be too simple for some people’s taste. In fact, the story of Leanne and Bayou It’s just like any other boy and girl in love. The subject of forbidden love is perhaps presented in cinema as being too dark and macabre. What Tyler Perry does so well with his film is molding those themes with the soulful nature of music. There are times when the film moves like a well-orchestrated symphony. But there are other occasions when it comes across as a film that we have seen so many times before.

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That is something you need to accept before going to watch it. Joshua Boone is the pick of the actors, seamlessly juggling drama and music. He is instinctive in many scenes and responds to Perry’s challenge with a flavor of his own. A Jasmine’s Blues is not a paradigm-changing film, but it never wants to be that either. It is an ordinary story told with an extraordinary sense of passion and fidelity to the beauty of the times it revives.

6. Hustle

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At the outset, it must be noted that ‘Hustle’ provides no new innovations in the plot. It is typical in the way it unfurls, with all the moves being reasonably foreseeable. But the attempts here, like Stan’s, are earnest.  But the movie is not just about the sport. It also touches upon various aspects of the industry as a whole. There are marked observations about the industry’s business aspects, the politics that can sometimes be a little too dirty, and the hostile attitude towards outsiders. Director Jeremiah Zagar is not too concerned about getting the underpinnings of the technicalities right. His narrative does not have machine-like precision or exactness. At times, his grip seemed to be loosening.

It was evident that he was a bit short of ideas. But, the truth of the matter is that these imperfections along the way make the movie truly appealing and amenable. ‘Hustle’ is an important breather from Netflix’s horrendous run of recent films. Adam Sandler’s charming central act and the umpteen basketball stars on display fit in smoothly with the winning story of an underdog we haven’t been able to resist for decades. Be ready to be sucked into rooting for Bo “the Cruz Missile” and Stan “the double Deuce” every step of the way.

7. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

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A tech billionaire invites his old gang of friends (sic), a former ally he Social Network’d, and the best detective in the whole wide world to his private island to solve a murder mystery. Count me in! And no, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, now streaming on Netflix, is not based on Elon Musk. Although, one could see why it could. This Christmas has definitely brought some charm to your screens. Attractive, flawed, and morally corrupt people once again assemble in a single, isolated location on Rian Johnson’s command and under Benoit Blanc’s hawk-like eyes to solve a murder, with them bringing the promise of deliverance from mediocrity. And they certainly do.

Johnson’s endless wit, Craig’s charm, and finely tuned performances from a blockbuster ensemble ensure that you walk away a happy customer from Glass Onion. There is some A24 deviousness in how the plot comes to life. Blanc’s detective work is enthralling and riveting to watch. Arguably, it is the most entertaining film of the year, something the whole family can enjoy together.

Also Read: 8 Movies Like Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

8. White Noise

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Noah Baumbach and his usual band of hellraisers are back to get the temperature up once again. This time, the mercurial filmmaker adapts Don DeLillo’s 1985 novel of the same name. The basis of the story is an everyday mystery for the common man: what could go wrong for them? Well, the answer mostly is “everything” unless you are born once lucky SOB. There is an element of contemporary relevance in its usage of apocalyptic themes that imitate the last two years that flew by. Baumbach brings richness to the book’s themes which will definitely please readers of the book. It might even compel some viewers to read it after watching it, as is so often the case.

Adam Driver has become the go-to man for filmmakers in the last few years. There is something very theatrical that Baumbach manages to extract from Driver that certainly elevates White Noise’s interesting motley of emotions. The quintessential creative markup by Baumbach is a tense, comical spectacle that is easily one of the year’s best films.

9. I Used to Be Famous

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There are glimpses of Begin Again in I Used to Be Famous that give it a familiar feeling. Once you read a few lines of the plot summary, getting drawn to see how it manifests is irresistible. And most emphatically, Eddie Sternberg and co. do not disappoint. Although the execution is not pinpointed, I Used to Be Famous has enough heart and resilience to endure the viewer. The movie epitomizes succeeding against all odds. When the chips are down and all hope is lost, it is tough to carry on. Film cliches are reignited left and right, and yes, the film is cheesy, but you will still see it and feel good about the characters regardless.

10. Bardo

There are very few filmmakers today who can be given some leeway to experiment raggedly with storytelling. There are few who even try. Alejandro G. Iñárritu has earned enough cinema credit to turn conventions, genres, and the entire experience of watching a film upside down. And to be fair, he often does. Modern cinema has turned into a safe space well-regulated by newly acquired sensibilities in the zenith of the digital revolution. Netflix’s newly released Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful Truths, or simply Bardo, settles quite nicely beyond those contours in the first few minutes. But perhaps in defying those vile accusations of the ordinary, Iñárritu’s fantastical effort becomes a tad too distant from its viewer & sways towards being self-absorbed.

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Bardo is a canvass of history, the present, and the frightening reality we all dread becoming in the future. It is Innaritu’s uncovering of and homage to the most essential truth of mankind: hypocrisy and its acceptance in the face of convenience. It will no doubt go down as a timeless classic in pop culture and a reference point for outsiders looking outside to understand themselves and those around them better.

11. Blonde

‘Blonde,’ on Netflix, is almost 3 hours long, and yet somehow, you feel there is still so much left to see. Although the promos and marketing point toward a Marilyn Monroe biopic, ‘Blonde’ is anything but. It plays out like a nightmare with feverish modern sensibilities focused on the feminist movement and critique of predatory studio heads of the times. But it is also a revealing, honest, and critical portrayal of and looks into Monroe’s personal life off-camera. The only shortfall is the chaotic execution which might be a bit too artsy for some.

Blonde’s structure, substance, and style are all kinetic ingredients for a polarizing response. The film’s reality is that it does not ask you to linger on the fence for long. After the initial minutes, the moment Armas becomes Monroe, as a viewer, you are confronted with a difficult yet decisive choice to continue or not.

Somehow, an exact manifestation of this unique and strange quality was missing in ‘Blonde.’ Dominick’s style felt experimental, but his command and grasp over his narrative, at least for the first half, are exhibited in the delicate strokes of genius visually. There is indeed a lyrical quality to ‘Blonde’ that is very likable. Make no mistake: it is an art-house film made on a budget of a mainstream commercial blockbuster. But in critical terms of movie reviewing, ‘Blonde’ comes across as more frustrating than awe-inspiring.

Also Read: 8 Movies Like Blonde

12. Qala

Tripti Dimri, you beauty. If Bulbul were not a screaming call for Dimri’s stature as an actress, Qala would cement her as a major contender. Her enigmatic portrayal is as visceral as it is tender, and many other oxymorons encapsulate a near-perfect performance. Anvita Guptan’s structure for Qala is a refreshing change to see. The subtlety and existentialism that is often absent in Hindi cinema find a valuable assessment in Qala. For most parts, following the story becomes a difficult job, and hence you tend to follow Dimri instead.

She is so well put together by costume and hair design departments that just looking at her does the trick. But it is how she emotes her trauma, insecurities, and ambitions that really makes her a reliable anchor for Guptan. Qala is bold for not compromising with its creator’s vision and recreating a lost, rustic way of moviemaking. It is a must-see for Indian viewers and will appeal to global audiences as well.

13. Thar

Thar was met with great skepticism when it was first released. For a Hindi movie to have this kind of story format is highly unusual. The industry is just not used to seeing such stoic, serious-minded stories, let alone Westerns. But all great movies aren’t great solely because of how they are made. An established and engaging narrative must accompany the blueprint. One of the most brilliant things in the film is the use of the atmospheric setting by director Raj Chaudhary. Visually, there is hardly anything that Chaudhary does wrong. The storytelling in Thar is very patchy, albeit that comes with the territory. Its revisionist penchant differentiates it from staple mainstream content but still makes sure that it does not turn its average viewer away completely. Thar’s balance in managing those elements is refreshing, making it a must-watch film on Netflix from 2022.

14. Apollo 10 1⁄2: A Space Age Childhood

The center of America’s space revolution affected the lives of each and every person in NASA’s vicinity. Through Stan – our protagonist’s eyes – we see a changing world in every expanse of life; culture, food, science, cinema, nothing remained as it was. Except for constants like middle-class frugality and the indelible hypocrisy of political democracy.

Loosely based on his own memories, the film recreates the burgeoning ’60s and ’70s in Houston, America, a place where “science-fiction came to life.” Linklater and his team do a wonderful job bringing all of that back to life in a forty-minute-long montage that is easily the best part of the film. A case could even be made for that specific montage becoming a film of its own, and a pretty good one at that, too. His nostalgic experiment, though, is more than just harkening back to one of humanity’s greatest achievements and the challenge of a changing world. It transcends those bounds in a bid to reconnect the viewer with oneself and others around them.

15. The House

When one learns about the kind of work that goes into making a stop-motion animation film, you have an even greater appreciation for all personnel involved. Physically manifesting every move, emotion, and touch of character requires immense patience and a sense of elegance as well. Netflix’s The House takes it even further with a mouthwatering anthology format with quirky, ambitious, and deeply moving segments. To feel and understand what The House will mean for you, watch the movie right now. Keep in mind that it will need as much effort from you to be honest about your motivations as it took the work from the people who made it.

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