2022's Best 20 Movies (So Far), According to Metacritic – Collider

The people of Metacritic have decided…
There have been some great movies released in 2021 and 2022 worldwide, but which ones have impressed critics the most?
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Metacritic has collated a list of the highest-rating movies released between 1 January and 30 June 2022, ranked by Metascore. These movies — many of which tackle important social issues — had to have at least seven professional reviews to be eligible for inclusion. So, without further ado, here are the critics’ favorite movies of 2022 so far. Be sure and add these must-see movies to your to-watch list!
Nitram is the third collaboration between Australian director Justin Kurzel and fellow Aussie screenwriter Shaun Grant (The Snowtown Murders (2011), True History of the Kelly Gang (2019)). Nitram follows as another true crime-based film and tells the fictionalized story of Martin Bryant, the man responsible for the deadliest mass shooting in Australia’s history. US actor Caleb Landry Jones stars as the titular character (the film’s title is Bryant’s first name spelled backward). The movie’s unnerving and controversial subject matter was highly praised, with Jones winning best actor at 2021’s Cannes Film Festival.
When filmmaker Celeste Bell’s mother, Marianne Joan Elliot-Said — also known by her stage name Poly Styrene — died, Bell teamed up with co-director Paul Sng to chronicle her mother’s legacy as the influential frontwoman for English punk band “X-Ray Spex.” Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché combines archival footage with commentary and excerpts from Poly Styrene’s diaries to create a multi-layered, extremely personal music documentary.
With a running time of 2 hours 22 minutes, Gaspar Noé’s Vortex is a long, slow burn. Inspired by the director’s own near-death experience in 2020 and his mother’s battle with dementia, the movie focuses on an elderly Parisian couple played by Françoise Lebrun and famed Italian director Dario Argento in his first lead actor role. Presented entirely in split-screen – the technique highlights the protagonists’ separate journeys – the movie unflinchingly deals with the inevitable ravages of aging.
Belle (Japanese: Ryû to sobakasu no hime) is an anime reworking of the classic Beauty and the Beast tale by Japanese director Mamoru Hosoda. When shy 17-year-old Suzu (Kaho Nakamura, Kylie McNeill in the English dub) enters a virtual world called “U,” her online persona, Belle, becomes a globally renowned singer who must investigate the arrival into U of the mysterious dragon-like Beast (Takeru Satoh/Paul Casto Jr.). Several critics named Belle one of the best-animated films of 2021, praising its stunning visual effects and use of humor.
Directed by Swiss twins Ramon and Silvan Zürcher, The Girl and the Spider (German: Das Mädchen und die Spinne) is a tragicomic catastrophe film that takes place over two days, when Mara (Henriette Confurius) helps Lisa (Liliane Amuat) move into a new apartment. The drama unfolds from character interactions and the movie's unconventional shooting style.
This timely documentary, directed by Emma Pildes and Tia Lessin, traces the history of The Jane Collective, an underground Chicago-based group of courageous volunteers that provided over 11,000 safe, low-cost — but illegal — abortions during the 1960s and '70s before Roe v Wade became law. Matter-of-fact anecdotes delivered to the camera make The Janes a powerful piece of movie making.
Chadian writer-director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun impressed critics with Lingui, The Sacred Bonds, a movie about Amina (Achouackh Abakar Souleymane), a practicing Muslim whose 15-year-old daughter, Maria (Rihane Khalil Alio) becomes pregnant and wants to have an abortion in a country where it is both legally and morally condemned.
From talented artist-musician-poet Saul Williams and co-director Anisia Uzeyman (who also was the cinematographer), Neptune Frost is a tale about the coltan miners of Burundi, East Africa, who form an anti-colonialist computer hacker collective to fight the authoritarian regime. Essentially a sci-fi musical, the movie explores issues of gender, technology, and class.
The most expensive Indian movie made to date, the epic RRR — "Rise, Roar, Revolt" — is a three-hour spectacle that combines action, dance numbers, historical drama, and a smidge of romantic comedy.
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Director S.S. Rajamouli tells the story of two real-life revolutionaries fighting the British Raj for Indian independence in the 1920s.
With Turning Red, first-time feature director Domee Shi has created one of the more charming, creative Pixar movies in recent memory. When the confident but dorky Meilin (Rosalie Chiang) gets over-excited, she morphs into a giant red panda. The transformation is a clear metaphor for adolescence and puberty, and Turning Red explores the importance of family (Meilin’s overprotective mom is voiced by Sandra Oh), teamwork, courage, and self-control.
Another (unfortunately) timely movie, The Fallout, marks Megan Park’s debut as a writer-director and looks at the aftermath of a school shooting through the eyes of teenager Vada Cavell (Jenna Ortega). Also starring Maddie Ziegler, Niles Fitch (This Is Us), and Will Ropp (Love, Victor) as Vada’s friends, The Fallout is an authentically gut-wrenching look at how survivors cope in the wake of a life-altering tragedy. The outstanding soundtrack is provided by Finneas O’Connell, brother of Billie Eilish.
Happening (French: L’événement) is based on Annie Ernaux’s autobiographical novel and stars French-Romanian actress Anamaria Vartolomei as the academically gifted university student Anne Duchesne. Set in 1963, Anne wants to terminate her pregnancy but finds few options available to her. Writer-director Audrey Diwan pulls no punches with her social-realist approach to the subject matter and creates a tough-to-watch — but rewarding — movie.
Marking the directorial debut of Belgian Laura Wandel, Playground (French: Un monde) is a harrowing account of bullying and family that, for the most part, is presented from a child’s POV.
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The young actors playing Nora (Maya Vanderbeque) and her brother, Abel (Günther Duret), give outstanding performances in this intense and unsentimental movie where children are torn between loyalty to themselves and the adults in their lives.
Korean director Hong Sang-soo has directed 14 films in the past ten years, and all have been well-received by critics. In Front of Your Face (Korean: Dangsin-eolgul-apeseo) is no exception, where he serves as director, screenwriter, producer, editor, cinematographer, and composer.
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The movie portrays a day in the life of a former actress, Sangok (Lee Hye-yeong), who returns to Seoul after years of living in the US. But Sangok has a secret that can only be told to a famous director who wants to coax her back to acting.
Indian filmmaker Payal Kapadia makes her feature debut with A Night of Knowing Nothing, merging an anxiety-laden reality with fiction, dreams, memories, and fantasies. Using archival footage, CCTV and found footage, and voiceover narration of letters found on a film school campus that detail the end of a romance, A Night of Knowing Nothing documents student life in modern India at a time when universities have been rocked by rising student protests.
In post-WWII Germany, an unlikely friendship develops between Hans Hoffmann (Franz Rogowski), imprisoned for homosexuality, and his cellmate, murderer Viktor (Georg Friedrich), in Sebastian Meise’s Great Freedom (German: Große Freiheit). There’s no Hollywood ending here but what is offered is a touching, humanistic portrayal of the relationship that develops between two men under extreme circumstances.
Directors Emily and Sarah Kunstler expertly weave together lectures, anecdotes, and interviews in Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America, as lawyer Jeffery Robinson presents the timeline of anti-Black racism in the US, from the time of slavery to the present day. Robinson’s interviews with victims of racism across the country make for confronting and compelling viewing.
Hit the Road (Farsi: Jaddeh Khaki) is the first movie by Iranian director Panah Panahi. It’s a road movie that follows an Iranian family as they attempt to reach the border of Turkey to smuggle their eldest son out of the country. Funny, touching, and beautifully shot, the movie studies the intricacies of family dynamics.
By Norwegian director Joachim Trier, The Worst Person in the World (Norwegian: Verdens verste menneske) is an episodic rom-com that follows Julie (Renate Reinsve) for four years of her life, through all its ups and downs. It’s the third movie in Trier’s “Oslo Trinity,” following Reprise and Oslo, August 31st which are also worth checking out.
The town of Stadtallendorf, Germany, has a complicated history of embracing and excluding foreigners. In Maria Speth’s intimate documentary Mr. Bachmann and His Class (German: Herr Bachmann und seine Klasse), the titular teacher provides a safe environment for his 12- to 14-year-old multicultural students, making them feel as if they’re at home. Mr. Bachmann is a long — three-and-a-half-hours — but captivating tribute to a remarkable, inspiring schoolteacher and an examination of Germany’s education system.
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Paul McClure (he/him) is a Lists Writer for Collider based in Melbourne, Australia. An avid TV/movie watcher and reader, the happiest day of Paul’s life was when Neil Gaiman retweeted one of his articles.
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