15 Best Films of 2022 – Best New Movies of 2022 – ELLE

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With all the jokes comparing 2022 to “2020 too,” it felt like not much had changed since the clock struck midnight on Jan. 1 (this year or last). But that’s not the case for films. The releases due out this new year feel fresh and exciting, from revived franchises to clever indies.
Here, we round up some of our favorite new movies of the year so far, a list that spans from heartwarming mother-daughter stories to adrenaline-pumping thrillers and coming-of-age adventures for both 13- and 30-year-olds alike. Scroll through the list below and keep an eye out for more additions later in the year.
Perhaps the most beloved movie of the year so far is this sci-fi-action-comedy, which stars Michelle Yeoh as an exhausted woman thrust into a mission to save the multiverse, when all she really wants to do is file her taxes and keep her house in order. Directing duo The Daniels (Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert) turn an out-of-this world romp into a gutting story about family and intergenerational conflicts, all with maximalist style and laugh-out-loud humor. (With the kind of ridiculous bits that shouldn’t land but absolutely do.) Yeoh is a revelation in the role, accompanied by a dynamic cast: Stephanie Hsu proves she’s a talent to watch, Ke Huy Quan makes a beautiful return to the screen, James Hong reminds us he’s still a legend, and Jamie Lee Curtis brings her many characters to life with ease. With an ambitious premise and many cinematic references, Everything Everywhere feels larger than life, but at the same time, very close to home.—Erica Gonzales, Senior Culture Editor
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Joachim Trier’s The Worst Person in the World is a layered portrait of a woman in Oslo figuring out love, purpose, and herself. Spanning four years, two boyfriends, and 12 artful chapters, the Oscar-nominated Norwegian film captures the brutal yet beautiful mess of coming of age—even if that’s in your late 20s and 30s. Star Renate Reinsve shines as protagonist Julie, but Anders Danielsen Lie is a scene stealer as Juli’’s ex-boyfriend Aksel too.—EG
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Nearly 12 years after the stop-motion YouTube video “Marcel the Shell With Shoes On” went viral, the internet’s favorite talking shell has landed where he rightfully belongs—on the big screen. A24’s feature-length film brings together the original duo from YouTube—Dean Fleischer-Camp as director and Jenny Slate as the voice of Marcel—for a so-adorable-you’ll-squeal-in-your-seat adventure as Marcel attempts to locate his family and copes with the consequences, and marvels, of viral fame. An animated feast for the eyes, the film is even more incredible when you consider it took seven years to complete.—Madison Feller, Senior Writer/Editor
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What’s a bad miracle? This question is at the center of Jordan Peele’s summer blockbuster, which tackles the ways we deal with spectacle—how we capture it, get inundated with it, become desensitized to it, capitalize on it—and the trauma that lingers in its wake. Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer make an amazing duo as siblings OJ and Emerald, who train horses for Hollywood films, and whose family ranch is terrorized by an ominous presence in the sky. Steven Yeun is a compelling addition as Ricky, the owner of a nearby theme park with a backstory that will haunt you for days.—EG
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Céline Sciamma bends time and genre in Petite Maman, the director’s tender French fantasy drama that explores the relationship between mother and child. The audience follows a young girl named Nelly who, while grieving her maternal grandmother, wanders into the woods and meets (spoiler alert) her own mother, Marion, as a child. The two become fast friends as the film shifts between past and present, eventually allowing the pair to share their true identities with one another. Magical and mysterious, it’s the rare (72-minute!) movie that leaves you both satiated and wanting more.—MF
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Meilin Lee is a confident yet adorably awkward 13-year-old girl, torn between pleasing her strict mother (voiced by Sandra Oh) and geeking out over her favorite boy band 4*Town (a fictional quintet singing pop songs written for the film by Billie Eilish and Finneas). Adding to Mei’s pubescent angst is the discovery of an inconvenient inheritance—whenever she gets too excited, she turns into a giant red panda. Domee Shi, Pixar’s first solo female director, spins an enchanting coming-of-age tale about the bonds that carry us through, complete with heaps of nostalgia (a Tamagotchi plays a pivotal role).—Melissa Giannini, Features Director
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Long before Kristen Stewart gasps that “surgery is the new sex,” I was hooked into this near-future merging of the art world with human biology run amok (it is David Cronenberg, after all). Viggo Mortensen stars as a performance artist whose body is capable of spontaneously sprouting never-before-documented organs which his partner, played by Léa Seydoux, then surgically removes them for an audience. It’s a clinically cold film about humanity, and whether, as we continue to radically transform our earth, we’re becoming less human as a result. —Katherine Krueger, Features Editor

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In our world of growing AI and smart home tech, this introspective sci-fi drama resonates a little deeper. From filmmaker Kogonada (Columbus), After Yang is set in the near future, where robots are purchased as domestic helpers and babysitters. When his daughter’s android, Yang (Justin H. Min), breaks down, Jake (Colin Farrell) seeks out a fix. What ensues is an exploration of identity and humanity with the director’s soft but moving style. Jodie-Turner Smith, Haley Lu Richardson, Sarita Choudhury, and Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja also star. Watch out for an incredible opening dance sequence, and a cover by Mitski.—EG
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Emma Thompson stars as Nancy Stokes, a 55-year-old widow who’s never had good sex. Her solution? Book a hotel room and hire a prostitute who goes by the name of Leo Grande (Daryl McCormack). In what appears as a run-of-the-mill romantic comedy ends up being a tender and heartfelt story about human connection, sex work, and the transformative power of vulnerability.—Juliana Ukiomogbe, Assistant Editor
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It turns out the Jane Austen adaptation we’d fall in love with this summer wasn’t a certain Netflix film, but this modern, queer retelling of Pride & Prejudice. Joel Kim Booster wrote and stars in the cult-favorite rom-com, where his character Noah tries to set up his BFF Howie (Bowen Yang) during a trip to Fire Island with their best friends. Things seem to be going well until an encounter with a stuffy vacationer (Conrad Ricamora as a fantastic Mr. Darcy analog, Will) throws Noah off. Fans of “Lucky” by Britney Spears, that rainfall scene in the 2005 Pride & Prejudice film, Margaret Cho, and Alice Munro’s short stories will surely enjoy. Don’t worry, Alison Bechdel also approves.—EG
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Steven Soderbergh, the director behind Ocean’s Eleven and Contagion, is back with another crime thriller. When an agoraphobic tech worker (Zoë Kravitz) overhears a crime being committed while listening to a data stream, she takes matters into her own hands and attempts to uncover the mystery. Come for Zoë’s blue bob, but stay for the engaging and adventurous storyline.—JU
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Hands down the most epic film you’ll see all year, RRR (Rise, Roar, Revolt) is a three-hour action drama that will leave you shouting at the screen over and over again—and yes, you should try to watch it in a theater. One of the most expensive Indian movies ever made, this Telugu-language film tells a fictional story about two real-life revolutionaries, Alluri Sitarama Raju and Komaram Bheem, fighting against the British Raj in the 1920s. Come for the wild action sequences, but stay for the thrilling dance scene that’s caused some audiences to literally party in the middle of the movie theater.—MF
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Celebrated director Mamoru Hosoda (Mirai, Summer Wars) teams up with Studio Chizu once again to put a fantastical spin on the metaverse. BELLE follows Suzu, an introverted high school student who escapes to the virtual world “U” where she reigns as a singing superstar named Belle. But her digital world gets shaken up when a mysterious beast crashes one of her performances, sparking an epic chase. This visual spectacle is sure to push the limits of your imagination.—EG
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Robert Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne lives in director Matt Reeves’ dark and gritty Gotham, where villains like the Penguin (a nearly unrecognizable Colin Farrell), Carmine Falcone (John Turturro), and the Riddler (Paul Dano) wreak havoc, and where Selina Kyle (the perfectly cast Zoë Kravitz) prowls as Catwoman. Moody, emo, and a little bit lost, this smoky-eyed, Nirvana-listening Batman is probably a fitting caped crusader for our times. And his chemistry with Selina is exactly as hot as you’d expect.—EG
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Set three decades after the events of Top Gun, this long-awaited follow-up sees Tom Cruise reprising his role as pilot Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, this time training a slew of TOPGUN students for an extra-dangerous specialized mission. Sequels are hard, especially if their predecessors are iconic, but Maverick surprisingly sticks the landing. Sure, it has corny nostalgic callbacks aplenty, and it’s still soaked with total Dude Energy, but it plays with suspense and adrenaline well to create a thrilling ride nonetheless. Plus, the technical aspects are a feat of their own. Cruise and his new recruits all flew in real courses, in real jets, helmed by real pilots—those are no simulators. Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller, Jon Hamm, Glen Powell, Jay Ellis, Monica Barbaro, Danny Ramirez, and Lewis Pullman round out the cast.—EG
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