The Best A24 Movies of 2022, Ranked – MovieWeb

The ever-popular indie production company released 16 new features last year. Here are our favorite A24 films of 2022, ranked.
2022 wasn't just a comeback for movies at large. Last year, the world's favorite indie production company, A24, released an impressive sequence of sixteen feature films, many of which have since been labeled as iconic within a few short months' time. Even if it was cultural phenomena like Everything, Everywhere, All At Once that seemed to take center stage throughout 2022, A24 has still proven itself as no less than a powerhouse when it comes to producing diverse films from exciting new voices. Last year's unforgettable lineup saw everything from Cronenberg-inspired body-horror, to contemplative sci-fi drama, to sharp-edged Gen-Z social satire. With new directors entering the scene every day, it will be a delightful surprise to see what A24 has in store for the years to come. With that being said, these were our favorite A24 releases of 2022, ranked.
Darren Aronofsky might be one of the most idiosyncratic filmmakers of our time, and his latest, The Whale, is no exception to this rule. Most notably, The Whale marks the triumphant return of nineties leading man Brendan Fraser to screen – his staggering performance has been lauded by fans and critics alike, and we can only thank Aronofsky for showing us Fraser's immense talent as it's never been seen before. Despite, or because of, its box office success, The Whale has become a very polarizing film for how it tackles themes of obesity and Aronofsky's reliance on prosthetics. However, it is more than a competent adaptation of its source material, and the incredible performances across the board make this one of A24's most memorable of the year. Alongside Fraser, Stranger Things's Sadie Sink also shines throughout the film, and the two share a palpable and heartwarming chemistry.
From newcomer Owen Kline of the Squid and the Whale fame, Funny Pages is certainly not for the faint of heart, nor for those who haven't picked up a comic or two. Nonetheless, Kline's debut is bound to stick with any viewer for its serrated, Terry Zwigoff-inspired humor and nostalgic style. The film follows 18-year-old misanthrope Robert as he abandons the comforts of suburban life to live in a decrepit apartment and pursues cartooning. Robert quickly falls under the wing of an unwilling teacher and fellow oddball – to say the least – Wallace, who serves as a role model of sorts. Despite its limited commercial release, Funny Pages garnered a consensus among critics as being one of the most authentic and distinctive movies of the year, the NY Times calling it a "tonally flawless" feature debut. Any fans of Robert Crumb or Ghost World should definitely give it a watch.
Related: Top 15 Non-Horror A24 Films, Ranked
It's not any news that Ti West's Pearl has already become something of a cultural sensation across the internet. The Mia Goth-helmed period horror is a sequel to West's earlier film X, which took place on the same remote farm during the grittier '70s. Where X is a wildly entertaining, though somewhat conventional, slasher-comedy, Pearl goes above and beyond in its total immersion into character and aesthetic experimentation. Not only is Goth's performance completely unforgettable, with particular notice to her nightmare-fueling grin and seven-minute-long monologue, but West couldn't have given us any more of a visual treat to marvel at within the bloodshed. Thankfully, West forsook his original plans to shoot the film in black and white, and what we're left with is a gorgeous technicolor nightmare that also gives us a great Hollywood history lesson.
Even if the movie was both made for and meant to parody Gen-Zers, there is a lot to love about Bodies Bodies Bodies regardless of the age at which one experiences it. Halina Reijn's razor-sharp horror sees a group of twenty-somethings become embroiled in a whodunit mystery after a party game goes horribly wrong. As the body count begins to grow – literally and figuratively – audiences get to learn the true depths of the characters' privilege and brattiness. The humor never slows down in this bewildering thrill ride, and Reijn's film might boast one of the most impressive young ensemble casts in years. Rachel Sennott, Amandla Stenberg, and Borat 2's Maria Bakalova stand out in particular with their gripping, layered performances.
Based on a series of his own YouTube shorts from the 2010s, Dean Fleischer-Camp's feature-length Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is equal parts heart and hilarity, without a doubt bound to make any adult cry. Not only does Camp manage to make us deeply care for a tiny, one-eyed shell within minutes, but he also gives us a chance to reflect on our own lives in a shockingly profound way. Rightfully so, Marcel was a smash hit across the festival circuit, winning Best Animated Feature at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards, among several other accolades. Besides its touching storyline, what also makes Marcel so revolutionary, if on a small (no pun intended) scale, is its infallible blend of stop-motion animation with live-action filmmaking. The film feels like your favorite cartoon and is shockingly realistic all at once.
Related: Highest-Grossing Indie Movies of All Time
From first-time writer/director Charlotte Wells, Aftersun was without a doubt one of the most tender, heart-wrenching films of last year, A24 or otherwise. On paper, the film might read like something of a sequel to Sofia Coppola's Somewhere, following simply a father and his adolescent daughter's vacation adventures along the Turkish coast. However, Wells's film is an achingly poignant and beautiful study of aging and grief – what it means to lose a parent whom you may not have ever known in their entirety. The film features breathtaking cinematography from Gregory Oke, as well as career-defining performances from Paul Mescal and newcomer Frankie Corio. Aftersun may be a quiet film, but it's not one that’s easily forgotten.
Kogonada's After Yang is a breathtaking new addition to A24's already-impressive milieu of recent sci-fi dramas. Featuring just one of Colin Farrell's many great indie performances this year, the film follows Farrell's character, Jake, as he tries to fix his daughter's broken android companion, Yang. What After Yang lacks in elaborate plot or visual effects, it more than makes up for with its reinvigorating minimalist style and profound emotional subtlety. In a genre that unfairly gets labeled as detached, Kogonada is able to craft a moving story that touches on a number of modern themes, such as cultural appropriation, AI ethics, and the historical and interpersonal role of memory in our lives. After Yang is a representation of when A24 can make style and substance converge to perfection.
What more can be said of the Daniels' film that seamed to completely take the world by storm last year? Everything, Everywhere, All At Once has been memed, dissected, and endlessly praised on every corner of the internet, and yet it still feels like there's an infinite sum of things to discover about it. Rightfully so, the film was A24's very frst to surpass $100 million at the box office, proving the production company can still make accessible films that look cool and have important things to say. It’s hard to put a finger on the one asset of EEAAO that makes it so exceptional compared to everything else in the genre. One thing is for certain: had the film been directed by anyone else, it easily could have turned into a mind-numbing, finance-crippling disaster. However, the Daniels have created something whose legacy now precedes it. It's still a mystery how they did it, but somehow they made us cry over googly-eyed rocks. In 2022, that may have been just what we needed.
Just a Hugh Grant admirer trying to find her way in life, Fionna is a Creative Writing student based in Ohio. However, her heart resides in Philadelphia. She is a huge fan of both Clueless and Paul Schrader (and his Facebook account)!


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