Personal Best: ITOL’s Favorite Films of 2022

A year’s end inspires memories, contemplation, aspirations—and for critics, talk about which films we loved and which ones we missed. As 2022 winds down, the ITOL team raises a toast to our personal favorites, from a mother’s fight for justice and a father-daughter sojourn to fierce pursuits of agency, pleasure, identity, and power.

The films below (more than 50, with links to our writers’ reviews and essays here and elsewhere) include those directed by women and underrepresented filmmakers, those that center their stories, and a few that simply gave us a memorable time at the movies. All have at least one of us who’d say they knocked it out of the park. Maybe you’ll find one of your favorites here—or one you’ve yet to discover.

JOAN AMENN

1. “Women Talking” (directed by Sarah Polley) 

2. “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” (directed by Guillermo del Toro and Mark Gustafson) 

3. “The Banshees of Inisherin” (directed by Martin McDonagh) 

4. “Turning Red” (directed by Domee Shi) 

5. “Till” (directed by Chinonye Chukwu) 

6. “Crimes of the Future” (directed by David Cronenberg) 

7. “Bones of Crows” (directed by Marie Clements) 

8. “Bad Axe” (directed by David Siev) 

9. “Klondike” (directed by Maryna Er Gorbach) 

10. “The Fabelmans” (directed by Steven Spielberg) 

Honorable mentions:Charlotte,” “Glass Onion,” “After Yang” 

CALUM COOPER

1. “Aftersun” (directed by Charlotte Wells)

2. “The Banshees of Inisherin” (directed by Martin McDonagh)

3. “Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio” (directed by Guillermo Del Toro and Mark Gustafson)

4. “Everything Everywhere All At Once” (directed by Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert)

5. “Top Gun: Maverick” (directed by Joseph Kosinkski)

6. “Blue Jean” (directed by Georgia Oakley)

7. “Decision to Leave” (directed by Park Chan-wook)

8. “The Quiet Girl” (directed by Colm Bairéad)

9. “Women Talking” (directed by Sarah Polley)

10. “Good Luck to You, Leo Grande” (directed by Sophie Hyde)

Honorable mentions: “All Quiet on the Western Front,” “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed,” “Boiling Point,” “Bones and All,” “Enys Men,” “Fire of Love,” “Glass Onion,” “Nope,” “One Fine Morning,” “Palm Trees and Power Lines,” “RRR,” “Tár,” “Turning Red,” “The Whale,” “The Woman King”

VALERIE KALFRIN

Aftershock” (directed by Paula Eiselt and Tonya Lewis Lee)

Aftersun” (directed by Charlotte Wells)

“The Batman” (directed by Matt Reeves)

Emily the Criminal” (directed by John Patton Ford)

Everything Everywhere All at Once” (directed by Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert)

Fire of Love” (directed by Sara Dosa)

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” (directed by Guillermo Del Toro and Mark Gustafson)

Nope” (directed by Jordan Peele)

Prey” (directed by Dan Trachtenberg)

“Top Gun: Maverick” (directed by Joseph Kosinkski)

Honorable mentions: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” “Catch the Fair One,” “I Didn’t See You There,” “Vesper

TOM MOORE

Watcher” (directed by Chloe Okuno)

Fresh” (directed by Mimi Cave)

Mr. Malcolm’s List” (directed by Emma Holly Jones)

Emergency” (directed by Carey Williams)

Prey” (directed by Dan Trachtenberg)

She Said” (directed by Maria Schrader)

Devotion” (directed by J.D. Dillard)

Turning Red” (directed by Domee Shi)

Bones and All” (directed by Luca Guadagnino)

The Inspection” (directed by Elegance Bratton)

Honorable mentions:Butterfly in the Sky,” “Pearl,” “Do Revenge

CAELYN O’REILLY

“Everything Everywhere All at Once” (directed by Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert)

“Jackass Forever” (directed by Jeff Tremaine)

“RRR” (directed by S.S. Rajamouli)

“Nope” (directed by Jordan Peele)

“The Phantom of the Open” (directed by Craig Roberts)

“Ambulance” (directed by Michael Bay)

“Glass Onion” (directed by Rian Johnson)

“Halloween Ends” (directed by David Gordon Green)

“Three Thousand Years of Longing” (directed by George Miller)

“The Bad Guys” (directed by Pierre Perifel)

BRIAN SKUTLE

“After Yang” (directed by Kogonada)

“Bad Dream” (directed by Camilo Diaz)

“The Banshees of Inisherin” (directed by Martin McDonagh)

“The Batman” (directed by Matt Reeves)

“Everything Everywhere All at Once” (directed by Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert)

“The Fabelmans” (directed by Steven Spielberg)-see Brian’s great deep dive into the mother figures in Spielberg films here: https://intheirownleague.com/2022/12/05/from-sugarland-to-the-fabelmans-mother-figures-by-steven-spielberg/

“Marcel the Shell With Shoes On” (directed by Dean Fleischer-Camp)

“Maya” (directed by K/XI)- see Brian’s in-depth interview with K/XI from the 2022 Renegade Film Festival here: https://intheirownleague.com/2022/03/27/emotional-journeys-through-horror-a-profile-of-k-xi/

“RRR” (directed by S.S. Rajamouli)

“Women Talking” (directed by Sarah Polley)

Honorable mentions: “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” “The Bond,” “eternity on a loop,” “Fire of Love,” “Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio,” “The Whale,” “The Woman King”

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