Best movies of 2022, according to film critics’ top 10s

Published 4:00 pm Friday, February 10, 2023

20th Century Fox

Best movies of 2022, according to film critics’ top 10s

With a wealth of options to choose from, knowing what films are worth spending precious time on is no mean feat, which is why we turn to the experts to help us find the cream of the crop.

Stacker looked at data from Metacritic‘s year-end roundup of film critics’ top 10 lists from their verified publications and highlighted the top 30. Films received three points if they placed #1 on a list, two points if they placed #2, one point if they placed between #3 and #10, and half a point if they placed on an honorable mentions list between #11 and #20. Points were then tallied up, and films were ranked by most points. Metascore, which represents how it was received when it was released or its reception throughout the year, is included for context. All in all, 296 individual critics’ lists were considered in the points calculation.

If the top 10 lists of international critics are anything to go by, 2022 was a banner year for cinema worldwide. From an American family drama film that combined kung fu action and absurdist humor to global acclaim (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”) to a simple and humanizing look at a donkey’s life in Poland (“EO”) to a stop-motion animated children’s film about a talking shell (“Marcel the Shell with Shoes On”), there was no lack of variety and eclecticism in this year’s film slate.

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Without further ado, here’s what films critics thought were the best movies of 2022 and what you should add to your must-watch lists.

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Lashana Lynch, Sheila Atim, and Thuso Mbedu in ‘The Woman King.'

Sony Pictures

#30. The Woman King

– Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood
– Total points: 28
— 1st-place votes: 1
— 2nd-place votes: 2
— Other-place votes: 21
– Metascore: 77
– Runtime: 135 minutes

Loosely based on real-life Agojie—the all-women warriors who protected the Dahomey kingdom of West Africa from the 17th to 19th century—”The Woman King” centers on General Nanisca (Viola Davis) as she trains the next generations of fighters to defeat their greatest threat yet. Davis has received particular acclaim for her performance and garnered Best Actress nominations from the Golden Globes and BAFTAs.

Margot Robbie in ‘Babylon.'

Paramount Pictures

#29. Babylon

– Director: Damien Chazelle
– Total points: 28.5
— 1st-place votes: 2
— 2nd-place votes: 2
— Other-place votes: 18.5
– Metascore: 60
– Runtime: 188 minutes

At the dawn of the age of the talkies in 1920s Hollywood, a group of hungry industry outsiders and members of the fading old guard grapple with a transition that will change their way of life and the film industry as they know it. The epic period dramedy from “La La Land” director Damien Chazelle received three nominations at the upcoming Academy Awards for Best Score, Production Design, and Costume Design.

Vicki Berlin, Dolly De Leon, and Charlbi Dean in ‘Triangle of Sadness.'

Imperative Entertainment

#28. Triangle of Sadness

– Director: Ruben Östlund
– Total points: 30
— 1st-place votes: 2
— 2nd-place votes: 0
— Other-place votes: 24
– Metascore: 63
– Runtime: 147 minutes

This searing and hilarious look at wealth and privilege takes place across three chapters, detailing an eccentric group aboard a luxury cruise ship that sinks and strands the survivors on an island, where, suddenly, the class hierarchies have dramatically shifted. “Triangle of Sadness” was nominated for Best Original Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Picture at the 95th Academy Awards.

Amin Simiar and Mohammad Hassan Madjooni in ‘Hit the Road.'

JP Production

#27. Hit the Road

– Director: Panah Panahi
– Total points: 30.5
— 1st-place votes: 3
— 2nd-place votes: 1
— Other-place votes: 19.5
– Metascore: 90
– Runtime: 93 minutes

On a road trip across the Iranian countryside, a mother, father, and their two sons bond, bicker, and reminisce on happy memories as they attempt to smuggle their adult son to the Turkey-Azerbaijan border. “Hit the Road” marked Iranian director-writer Panah Panahi’s feature debut.

Tilda Swinton in ‘The Eternal Daughter.'

Element Pictures

#25. The Eternal Daughter (tie)

– Director: Joanna Hogg
– Total points: 31.5
— 1st-place votes: 1
— 2nd-place votes: 2
— Other-place votes: 24.5
– Metascore: 80
– Runtime: 96 minutes

A mother and daughter sojourn to a seemingly desolate hotel in the English countryside that was a former family home. Attempting to mine her mother’s memories for her screenplay, the daughter must contend with the ghosts of the past, present, and future. The mother and daughter of Joanna Hogg’s “The Eternal Daughter” are both played seamlessly by Tilda Swinton.

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Jack Lowden in ‘Benediction.'

British Film Institute (BFI)

#25. Benediction (tie)

– Director: Terence Davies
– Total points: 31.5
— 1st-place votes: 1
— 2nd-place votes: 2
— Other-place votes: 24.5
– Metascore: 81
– Runtime: 137 minutes

Upon returning home from World War I, decorated British soldier Siegfried Sassoon (Jack Lowden) transitioned into a vocal critic of Britain’s continuing involvement in the war. Sassoon, a poet, became a major figure among the societal and cultural elite while simultaneously coming to terms with his homosexuality. Sassoon’s real-life niece spoke out against the movie’s portrayal of Sassoon’s conversion to Catholicism.

Ava Morse and Rosalie Chiang in ‘Turning Red.'

Walt Disney Studios

#24. Turning Red

– Director: Domee Shi
– Total points: 32
— 1st-place votes: 0
— 2nd-place votes: 1
— Other-place votes: 30
– Metascore: 83
– Runtime: 100 minutes

In this newest Disney-Pixar collaboration, teenager Meilin (Rosalie Chiang) struggles to adapt to her burgeoning adolescence while being her mother’s perfect daughter. To make matters worse, a family curse has Meilin occasionally transforming into an 8-foot red panda whenever she gets overly emotional—a perfect metaphor for puberty.

Critics have widely hailed the movie for its thoughtful portrayal of teenage turbulence and increasing representation for Asian viewers. “Turning Red” is director Domee Shi’s feature debut, which received a Best Animated Feature Film nomination at the 2023 Oscars.

Colin Farrell, Jodie Turner-Smith, Justin H. Min, and Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja in ‘After Yang.'


#23. After Yang

– Director: Kogonada
– Total points: 34.5
— 1st-place votes: 2
— 2nd-place votes: 2
— Other-place votes: 24.5
– Metascore: 78
– Runtime: 96 minutes

A young girl’s beloved android companion named Yang suddenly malfunctions, and it’s up to her father, Jake (Colin Farrell), to figure out how to fix him. Along his journey, Jake and his family reckon with love and loss in this near-future science fiction film. Directed by South Korean filmmaker Kogonada, “After Yang” was adapted from Alexander Weinstein’s short story “Saying Goodbye to Yang.”

Anamaria Vartolomei in ‘Happening.'

Rectangle Productions

#22. Happening

– Director: Audrey Diwan
– Total points: 36
— 1st-place votes: 2
— 2nd-place votes: 2
— Other-place votes: 26
– Metascore: 86
– Runtime: 100 minutes

In 1960s France, where abortion is still illegal, young student Anne is faced with the unwelcome news of her pregnancy. With an otherwise bright future ahead of her and final exams looming, Anne must take matters into her own hands. Based on Annie Ernaux’s novel of the same name, “Happening” won the Golden Lion at the 78th Venice International Film Festival.

Jenny Slate in ‘Marcel the Shell with Shoes On.'


#21. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

– Director: Dean Fleischer Camp
– Total points: 38.5
— 1st-place votes: 2
— 2nd-place votes: 1
— Other-place votes: 30.5
– Metascore: 81
– Runtime: 90 minutes

Marcel is a cute, one-eyed, 1-inch-tall shell who lives with his grandmother in an abandoned community once brimming with other shells. But when a documentary filmmaker discovers them in his Airbnb, a short film posted about them online brings the shells exciting hope and dangerous possibilities. “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On” is based on a series of shorts by director Dean Fleischer Camp and co-writer and Marcel voice actor Jenny Slate.

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Jafar Panahi in ‘No Bears.'

JP Production

#20. No Bears

– Director: Jafar Panahi
– Total points: 39
— 1st-place votes: 3
— 2nd-place votes: 3
— Other-place votes: 24
– Metascore: 92
– Runtime: 106 minutes

In this work of metafiction, a documentary filmmaker (also named Jafar Panahi) directs a film from afar while stationed in an Iranian village as his film is shot across the border in Turkey and becomes embroiled in a romantic triangle. In reality, Panahi finds that his film, and his real-life circumstances, have begun to parallel one another. Panahi has been imprisoned in Iran since July 2022, having been under intense scrutiny by the Iranian government and previously arrested due to the dissident nature of his films.

Timothée Chalamet and Taylor Russell in ‘Bones and All.'

Frenesy Film Company

#19. Bones and All

– Director: Luca Guadagnino
– Total points: 41.5
— 1st-place votes: 4
— 2nd-place votes: 5
— Other-place votes: 19.5
– Metascore: 74
– Runtime: 131 minutes

In the 1980s, two lost souls converge on a cross-country road trip through American backroads, bonding over their shared, unquenchable hunger for human flesh. During their 1,000-mile journey, they must confront the horrors of their past and figure out if their love will really tear them apart. “Bones and All” is based on the novel of the same name by Camille DeAngelis.

Kayije Kagame in ‘Saint Omer.'

Srab Films

#18. Saint Omer

– Director: Alice Diop
– Total points: 46
— 1st-place votes: 5
— 2nd-place votes: 2
— Other-place votes: 27
– Metascore: 90
– Runtime: 122 minutes

A pregnant novelist is called to jury duty at the trial of a young mother accused of killing her 15-month-old child by purposefully leaving her on the beach as the tide rose. But as the life and story of the accused woman unfold, a clearer portrait is painted that leaves the novelist even more shaken and questioning. After working primarily as a documentary filmmaker, “Saint Omer” serves as director Alice Diop’s narrative debut.

Austin Butler in ‘Elvis’.

Warner Bros.

#17. Elvis

– Director: Baz Luhrmann
– Total points: 47
— 1st-place votes: 0
— 2nd-place votes: 4
— Other-place votes: 39
– Metascore: 64
– Runtime: 159 minutes

This delirious biopic chronicles the life and death of Elvis Presley (Austin Butler)—from his upbringing as a poor boy who loved the blues to his time as a worldwide phenomenon—all the while revealing the parasitic relationship he shared with the very man who made Elvis a household name: Col. Tom Parker (Tom Hanks). For his portrayal of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Butler has received universal acclaim, landing him his first Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.

Robert Pattinson and Zoë Kravitz in a scene from ‘The Batman.'

Warner Bros.

#16. The Batman

– Director: Matt Reeves
– Total points: 47.5
— 1st-place votes: 2
— 2nd-place votes: 2
— Other-place votes: 37.5
– Metascore: 72
– Runtime: 176 minutes

In this new take on the Dark Knight, Batman (Robert Pattinson) must uncover a series of clues left around Gotham City by a sick and sadistic killer. In his quest through Gotham’s dark underbelly, he must form new alliances to bring the killer to justice and offer a sliver of hope to the plagued and corrupted city. To physically disappear for his role as the villain Penguin, actor Colin Farrell had to undergo six to eight hours putting on the required prosthetics.

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Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, and Jessie Buckley in ‘Women Talking.'

Hear/Say Productions

#15. Women Talking

– Director: Sarah Polley
– Total points: 52
— 1st-place votes: 3
— 2nd-place votes: 6
— Other-place votes: 31
– Metascore: 78
– Runtime: 104 minutes

In an isolated religious sect, a group of women converges to uncover a startling secret: They have been repeatedly drugged and sexually assaulted by the men of the colony over the years. Together, the women discuss their situation and what can possibly be done about it. “Women Talking” is based on Miriam Toews’ novel of the same name, itself based on real-life events.

Christoph Waltz and Gregory Mann in ‘Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio’.


#14. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

– Directors: Guillermo del Toro, Mark Gustafson
– Total points: 53
— 1st-place votes: 3
— 2nd-place votes: 1
— Other-place votes: 42
– Metascore: 79
– Runtime: 117 minutes

Based on the classic children’s story, director Guillermo del Toro’s reimagining of “Pinocchio” follows the eponymous wooden boy brought to life by a grieving father’s wish. Pinocchio struggles to fit in in an embattled world that doesn’t quite understand him and longs to be loved and accepted. The film is del Toro’s first stop-motion animated feature movie, and it took over two years to complete.

Kristen Stewart and Léa Seydoux in ‘Crimes of the Future’.

Serendipity Point Films

#13. Crimes of the Future

– Director: David Cronenberg
– Total points: 57
— 1st-place votes: 7
— 2nd-place votes: 6
— Other-place votes: 24
– Metascore: 67
– Runtime: 107 minutes

In a dystopian future, human beings have begun physically transforming in response to an increasingly synthetic world, and these mutations have become prized like works of art. Performance artist Saul Tenser (Viggo Mortensen) puts his metamorphosing organs on display, while eco-anarchists have altered their bodies to digest plastic. “Crimes of the Future” marks famed body horror director David Cronenberg’s fourth collaboration with Mortensen and his first body horror film since 1999’s “eXistenZ.”

Kate Hudson, Daniel Craig, Leslie Odom Jr.,and Jessica Henwick in ‘Glass Onion’.


#12. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

– Director: Rian Johnson
– Total points: 57.5
— 1st-place votes: 2
— 2nd-place votes: 4
— Other-place votes: 43.5
– Metascore: 81
– Runtime: 140 minutes

This standalone sequel to 2019’s “Knives Out” follows renowned detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) on another confounding whodunnit case. A group of elite friends gathers on the private island of their wealthiest member for a weekend murder-mystery party—but the murder and mystery quickly become a little too real. The title “Glass Onion” is based on the song of the same name by the Beatles, which plays during the film’s end credits.

Nan Golden in ‘All the Beauty and the Bloodshed’.


#11. All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

– Director: Laura Poitras
– Total points: 61.5
— 1st-place votes: 2
— 2nd-place votes: 4
— Other-place votes: 47.5
– Metascore: 90
– Runtime: 113 minutes

Acclaimed photographer Nan Goldin becomes an influential activist against Purdue Pharma owners, the Sackler family, forcing numerous museums showcasing her work to cut ties and funding from the Sacklers for their crucial role in the opioid crisis. “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed” chronicles Goldin’s life and work parallel to her late-in-life activism. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

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Donkey with carrots around neck in ‘EO’.

Skopia Film

#10. EO

– Director: Jerzy Skolimowski
– Total points: 64.5
— 1st-place votes: 4
— 2nd-place votes: 7
— Other-place votes: 38.5
– Metascore: 85
– Runtime: 88 minutes

See a world through a donkey’s eyes in “EO,” Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski’s loose reimagining of the 1966 film “Au Hasard Balthazar” by Robert Bresson. The film follows the eponymous donkey’s travels through Europe, encountering humans, both good and bad, leading up to his ultimate fate. The film was nominated for Best International Feature at the 95th Academy Awards.

N.T. Rama Rao Jr. and Ram Charan Teja in ‘RRR’.

DVV Entertainment

#9. RRR

– Director: S.S. Rajamouli
– Total points: 87.5
— 1st-place votes: 8
— 2nd-place votes: 4
— Other-place votes: 55.5
– Metascore: 83
– Runtime: 187 minutes

In the late 1920s, two Indian revolutionaries form a strong friendship as they seek to defend their country from British colonial rule. A Telugu-language film, “RRR” is the most expensive Indian film to date, with a budget of $102 million. The song “Naatu Naatu” won Best Original Song at the 80th Golden Globes, and the song will be competing for the same honor at the Oscars.

Park Hae-il and Tang Wei in ‘Decision to Leave’.

CJ Entertainment

#8. Decision to Leave

– Director: Park Chan-wook
– Total points: 100.5
— 1st-place votes: 8
— 2nd-place votes: 4
— Other-place votes: 68.5
– Metascore: 84
– Runtime: 139 minutes

A sleepless detective is on the tail of a widow suspected of killing her husband—only problem is: he’s falling in love with her. The stylish neo-noir from director Park Chan-wook doubles as a scintillating romance, and it was South Korea’s submission for Best International Feature Film at the 95th Academy Awards. It made the December shortlist but did not make the final cut.

Paul Dano, Michelle Williams, and Mateo Zoryan in ‘The Fabelmans’.

Amblin Entertainment

#7. The Fabelmans

– Director: Steven Spielberg
– Total points: 117
— 1st-place votes: 13
— 2nd-place votes: 4
— Other-place votes: 70
– Metascore: 84
– Runtime: 151 minutes

Steven Spielberg’s autobiographical coming-of-age drama is seen through the eyes of Sammy Fabelman (Gabriel LaBelle), who begins making home films at a young age and explores his burgeoning talent. Still, he must grapple with the stigma of venturing into an art career alongside his parents’ increasingly tenuous marriage. The hilarious and moving scene where Sammy meets legendary Western director John Ford (David Lynch) is an almost exact retelling of a real encounter.

Tom Cruise in ‘Top Gun: Maverick’.

Paramount Pictures

#6. Top Gun: Maverick

– Director: Joseph Kosinski
– Total points: 127
— 1st-place votes: 12
— 2nd-place votes: 9
— Other-place votes: 73
– Metascore: 78
– Runtime: 130 minutes

Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) has been one of the Navy’s top aviators for the last 30 years but continues to evade an advancement in rank due to frequent insubordination. After a test mission gone awry, Maverick is sent to train a class of Top Gun graduates for a special mission, where he’s forced to confront his past. With the help of real Navy fighter pilots, real jets were actually being flown in “Top Gun: Maverick.”

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Keke Palmer in ‘Nope’.

Universal Pictures

#5. Nope

– Director: Jordan Peele
– Total points: 134.5
— 1st-place votes: 8
— 2nd-place votes: 12
— Other-place votes: 86.5
– Metascore: 77
– Runtime: 130 minutes

Following two legacy Hollywood ranchers, the Haywood siblings (Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer) lose their father in a freak accident and are now tasked with managing the stable of horses their father had employed on sets for years. But the siblings discover something deadly creeping above them in the California skies. For those that have seen the film, its monster can feel vaguely familiar; some have said it takes inspiration from the anime “Neon Genesis Evangelion.”

Frankie Corio and Paul Mescal in a scene from ‘Aftersun’

BBC Films

#4. Aftersun

– Director: Charlotte Wells
– Total points: 167.5
— 1st-place votes: 21
— 2nd-place votes: 15
— Other-place votes: 74.5
– Metascore: 95
– Runtime: 102 minutes

A debut feature by Scottish-born writer and director Charlotte Wells, this film follows 11-year-old Sophie (Frankie Corio) and her young father, Calum (Paul Mescal), vacationing at a fading resort in Turkey, the last vacation they would ever take together. There, they shared in the unique joy and pain of their complex relationship, one that Adult Sophie looks back on as she tries to reconcile the duality of her father. Based loosely on the real-life relationship between Wells and her own late father, “Aftersun” scored the first Oscar nomination for lead actor Paul Mescal and 16 nominations for the British Independent Film Awards.

Cate Blanchett in ‘Tár’.

Focus Features

#3. Tar

– Director: Todd Field
– Total points: 196
— 1st-place votes: 24
— 2nd-place votes: 17
— Other-place votes: 90
– Metascore: 92
– Runtime: 158 minutes

Acclaimed composer Lydia Tár (Cate Blanchett) is both revered and feared—a towering figure in the world of classical music, where, as a woman, her existence is a groundbreaking presence. But in the days leading up to the recording of a career-defining symphony, an unsavory open secret about Lydia slowly becomes public. “Tár” marked director Todd Field’s first return to filmmaking in 16 years, following 2006’s “Little Children.”

Colin Farrell in ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’.

20th Century Fox

#2. The Banshees of Inisherin

– Director: Martin McDonagh
– Total points: 208.5
— 1st-place votes: 18
— 2nd-place votes: 27
— Other-place votes: 100.5
– Metascore: 87
– Runtime: 114 minutes

Longtime pals Pádraic (Colin Farrell) and Colm (Brendan Gleeson) form a rift in their friendship when Colm one day plainly reveals to Pádraic that he’s decided he doesn’t like him anymore. Pádraic’s hurt and determination to win his friend back are complicated by Colm’s grim promise: He will sever one of his fingers every time Pádraic attempts to talk to him. “The Banshees of Inisherin” marked a reunion for Farrell, Gleeson, and director Martin McDonagh, who all previously worked together on McDonagh’s film “In Bruges” in 2008.

Michelle Yeoh in ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’.


#1. Everything Everywhere All at Once

– Directors: Dan Kwan, Daniel Scheinert
– Total points: 248
— 1st-place votes: 44
— 2nd-place votes: 19
— Other-place votes: 78
– Metascore: 81
– Runtime: 139 minutes

Immigrant mother Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh) has problems in her marriage, business, and relationship with her teenage daughter (Stephanie Hsu). But everything changes when an interdimensional rift opens up, and a man who looks just like her husband explains to her that the fate of the world rests solely in her hands. “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is the frontrunner at the 95th Academy Awards, scoring 11 nominations, including Best Picture.

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