23 Movies to See at the 2022 New York Film Festival – Town & Country

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Buzzy features starring Tilda Swinton, Timothèe Chalamet, Gabrielle Union, Adam Driver, and more will be the talk of awards season.
On September 30, the 60th annual New York Film Festival begins, and brings with it some of the most anticipated movies of the awards season. Cinephiles can take in new projects from Martin Scorsese, Kelly Reichardt, Elegance Bratton, and Luca Guadagnino among many others—but with all of the programming, which lasts through October 16, how will you know what to see? Use this T&C cheat sheet to enhance your viewing pleasure.
This feature debut from Scottish director Charlotte Wells is based on her own relationship with her father, and stars Paul Mescal as a young dad spending the weekend at a resort with his daughter. The intricacies of their relationship are spellbinding, and the film is both charming and cunning, with tricks up its sleeve that audiences might never see coming.
Nan Goldin made a name for herself as an artist whose 1986 piece The Ballad of Sexual Dependency marked a new era in modern photography. More recently, her work has included political activism that’s helped bring about the fall of the Sackler family as well as the beginnings of justice for those affected by the opioid crisis. This documentary (the festival’s Centerpiece Selection), from Academy Award winner Laura Poitras, tells Goldin’s story—as an artist, addict, activist, and more—and puts her life’s work in exciting, essential context.
Anne Hathaway, Jeremy Strong, and Anthony Hopkins lead a marvelous cast in director James Gray’s funny, heartbreaking story about a boy in 1980s New York City learning just what it means to become an adult. Banks Repeta is remarkable as sixth grader Paul Graff, whose growing pains give the film its shape, and Gray’s nuanced storytelling gives the film the heart and humor that makes it much more than simply a coming-of-age story.
Call Me By Your Name director Luca Guadagnino is reunited with that film’s star, Timothée Chalamet, in this offbeat, enchanting story about young love—between two cannibals. It’s bloody, yes, but also a touching portrait of what it means to be an outsider, featuring great performances from Taylor Russell, Mark Rylance, André Holland, and Chloë Sevigny.
The legendary writer and filmmaker James Ivory takes a turn on the other side of the camera in this new documentary—co-directed by Ivory and Giles Gardner—that juxtaposes recently unearthed footage of a 1960 trip to Afghanistan with the rest of Ivory’s life story (some of which was recounted recently in his gorgeous memoir, Solid Ivory), telling an unforgettable tale about the journeys we take to figure out who we are.
The life and times of Austria’s iconic Empress Elizabeth (Sisi to her friends and, well, T&C) are the basis of this smart, stylish film directed by Marie Kreutzer and starring Vicky Krieps in one of the best performances of the year. In Corsage, Sisi’s not just an archetypal difficult royal but instead a fully realized person—brilliant, moody, caring, and calculating—and the timelessness of her situation is underscored by a sharp production that winks at audiences without giving in to gimmicks. It’s a crowded world of royal storytelling out there, but Corsage is essential viewing.
Doumentarian Frederick Wiseman explores the life of Sophia Behrs, a photographer and writer, and the longtime wife of Leo Tolstoy, in this new film about marriage, complicated people, and the way in which history is remembered.
Director Park Chan-wook won the Cannes Film Festival’s Best Director award earlier this year for his latest, a delicious thriller about an investigator, an unusual case, and a uniquely fascinating suspect. Park Hae-il stars in the twisting mystery, which will keep audiences guessing until its final moments.
Could this year’s breakout star be a donkey? It’s possible if you listen to the buzz around EO, the new film from director Jerzy Skolimowski (which just so happens to be Poland’s entry for the Oscars’ Best International Feature category) that follows a former circus animal—actually played by six different animal actors—on a journey across Europe. The film won big back at Cannes and seems poised to charm just as well stateside.
The latest from director Joanna Hogg (The Souvenir) is a stylish horror story starring Tilda Swinton and following a woman and her mother on a trip to a creepy English hotel where they’ll be checking in for more than a good night’s sleep. Hogg is an expert at creating atmospheric films that unearth hard truths about relationships, and this promises to be no exception.
This debut feature from writer-director Elegance Bratton—an accomplished photographer and documentary filmmaker—tells a semi-autobiographical story about a young gay man’s experience in basic training to become a Marine. The festival’s closing night feature, The Inspection stars Jeremy Pope, Raul Castillo, and Gabrielle Union, and grapples with big questions of sexuality, duty, and self-discovery.
Harry Belafonte, Samuel L. Jackson, Zendaya, and more appear in film critic-turned-director Elvis Mitchell’s new documentary, which follows the explosion of Black cinema in the 1970s, and examines the impact that the decades movies had (and continues to have) on the world in which we live.
Sigourney Weaver, Joel Edgerton, and Quintessa Swindell star in this drama from director Paul Schrader about the gardener at a historic estate and the trouble that begins when a young relative of his imperious boss comes to stay. “This one,” Schrader said in a recent interview, “is going to piss people off.”
This new film from director Mia Hansen-Løve stars an incandescent Lèa Seydoux as Sandra, a woman coping not only with the decline of her beloved father, but the arrival in her life of a very complicated new love interest. It’s a finely observed and stunningly filmed portrait of a complex, difficult life made with incredible attention to detail and style to spare.
Martin Scorsese and David Tedeschi co-direct this documentary about the legendary rock singer David Johansen, who was a member of the seminal punk act the New York Dolls and also performed as Buster Poindexter. Mixing footage of a 2020 Johansen set at Manhattan’s Café Carlyle with new interviews and archival footage, the film captures the unique magic of one music’s most incredible performers and tells a story about life, legacy, and what happens when Downtown royalty meets Madison Avenue.
The true story of how New York Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey broke the story that did what had until then seemed impossible—toppling the Hollywood behemoth Harvey Weinstein—gets its own silver-screen treatment in this new drama, directed by Maria Schrader and starring Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan.
Michelle Williams and Hong Chau star in director Kelly Reichardt’s new drama about an artist on the cusp of a major moment in her career while the rest of her life refuses to fall into place. Reichardt and Williams have made magic before, in Meek’s Cutoff, Wendy and Lucy, and Certain Women, and this collaboration promises to not to break the spell.
Claire Denis’s political thriller, based on the novel by Denis Johnson, follows a journalist and a businessman who meet in Nicaragua but whose romance is cut short by turmoil and a pressing need to flee the country. Any new Denis film is always an event, but this one—which stars Margaret Qualley and Joe Alwyn—is especially enticing thanks to its cocktail of intrigue, danger, and desire.
Lydia Tár seems to have it all. The world-famous conductor is at the top of her field and lives in the kind of charmed world of big-advance memoirs and loaned private planes that most people never even dream of. Until, that is, she doesn’t. In director Todd Field’s first film in 16 years—and one that, we have to say, is worth the wait—a marvelous Cate Blanchett plays Tár as a woman who thinks she has the world by the tail and is suddenly (and, at least for audiences, deliciously) disabused of that notion, leaving the world she has so carefully built to crumble.
Station Eleven star Danielle Deadwyler might just deliver the performance of the year in Till, the beautiful and gutting new picture from director Chinonye Chukwu. Deadwyler plays Mamie Till-Mobley, whose son Emmett was violently killed during a trip to Mississippi and became a historical figure whose death crystalized a horrific chapter in American history. But for however haunting the Till family’s story may be, Chukwu’s film—which also stars Whoopi Goldberg, Sean Patrick Thomas, and Tosin Cole—is a stunning feat and destined to be among the year’s most essential viewing.
Ruben Östlund’s latest film opens aboard a luxury cruise ship, where a pair of models-slash-influencers (Harris Dickinson and Charlbi Dean), are living the high life, or at least documenting it for their followers. It’s a parade of riches and excess, that is until the unthinkable happens and the story becomes much more complicated. Both ends of the funny, dark film are about imbalances of power and who gets to wield them, and audiences might never vacation the same way again.
Adam Driver and Greta Gerwig star in director Noah Baumbach’s White Noise, the festival’s opening-night film, which adapts Don DeLillo’s modern classic about a family grappling with a toxic catastrophe that in some ways physically embodies unseen issues within their everyday existence. Expect dark humor, sharp dialogue, and top-notch performances in one of the year’s most anticipated releases.
Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley, and Frances McDormand star in director Sarah Polley’s adaptation of Towes’s novel about women in a religious community coming to grips with a series sexual assaults and asking questions about the meaning of faith, the limits of community, and the importance of accountability. The director of films including Away From Her and Take This Waltz, Polley is a master of big ideas and small moments, and any new film from her should be considered an event.


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