The Skinny's Films of 2022

A Scottish film tops The Skinny's films of the year for the first time, but Charlotte Wells' wonderful Aftersun required no home team advantage

Feature by Film Team | 05 Dec 2022
  • The Skinny's Films of 2022

1. Aftersun

Dir. Charlotte Wells

There is a sense throughout Aftersun of reaching and reaching, of brushing something vital with your fingertips only to have it slip away. In her masterful autofictive debut, Charlotte Wells transforms a simple story about a young woman looking back on a childhood holiday with her father into a devastating investigation into the ache of subjectivity, into how sun-bleached memories can collapse and coagulate and doggedly continue into a haunted present. Like souvenir snow globes that hold entire worlds in fragile bubbles, Aftersun invites us into a grief that seems hardly articulable, that tips and whirls and beats against crystalline walls. [Anahit Behrooz]

A still from Decision to Leave.

2. Decision to Leave

Dir. Park Chan-wook

Decision to Leave understands that the most compelling thing about a detective movie has nothing to do with closing the case: rather, it’s about how the chase demands getting so physically and psychologically close to a suspect that the act of watching them through a pair of binoculars or putting them in handcuffs becomes deliriously charged with forbidden intimacy. Park Chan-wook, the veritable GOAT of sexy twisted obsessions, is on excellent form with this darkly humorous, lush and heart-stubborn tale of a detective who’s got it so bad that he sends a murder suspect a “you up?” text. It’s extremely romantic. [Xuanlin Tham]

A still from Everything Everywhere All At Once.

3. Everything Everywhere All at Once

Dir. Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert

“If less is more, just think of how much more more will be!” The immortal words of Dr Frasier Crane could easily have been the mission statement for the Daniels’ dimension-hopping, generation-spanning, butt plug-cramming Everything Everywhere All at Once. It’s a touching family drama and a ludicrous sci-fi romp. It’s a hilarious slapstick comedy and a howling existential crisis. It builds exhilarating fight scenes around fanny packs and depicts tender romance with hotdog fingers. You could argue about whether Everything Everywhere All at Once was the best film of 2022, but there’s absolutely no denying that it was the most film. [Ross McIndoe]

A still from Memoria

4. Memoria

Dir. Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Apichatpong Weerasethakul can hardly do any wrong and when it was revealed he would be teaming up with Tilda Swinton for his first English-language feature, hearts were sent aflutter. Rightly so. Despite relocating from his native Thailand to Colombia, Memoria retains much of the woozy lyricism and time-collapsing otherworldliness that has beguiled his audiences for the past two decades. Here, with Swinton haunted by a strange unnatural thudding sound that nobody else can hear, Weerasethakul seems to be leaning into the enigmatic nature of his work but playfully building out an actual investigation of a mystery. That said, those expecting easy answers have perhaps misunderstood the assignment. [Ben Nicholson]

A still from Nope.

5. Nope

Dir. Jordan Peele

Jordan Peele’s third feature is part sci-fi, part Western, part horror, and all a satisfying rebuttal to cinematic sentimentalisation of non-human life – this is easily the horse film of the year, if not the decade. As three characters born of Hollywood’s past seek the perfect shot, cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema finds beauty and irony in dusty vistas and nocturnal shadows. Johnnie Burn’s sound design elicits chills from simple, slightly unnatural rhythms. Daniel Kaluuya’s stoic grace and Keke Palmer’s manic optimism balance the Haywood siblings’ dance between hunter and hunted. Despite Nope’s cynical messaging, it is impossible to look away from such craftsmanship. [Carmen Paddock]

A still from The Banshees of Inisherin.

6. The Banshees of Inisherin

Dir. Martin McDonagh

Following two unpleasantly tart American comedies, Martin McDonagh rights the ship with this existential drama set on a fictional windswept island off the coast of Ireland. It’s 1923 and civil war is raging on the mainland but it’s a falling out between two friends – one a cheery farmer, the other a curmudgeonly fiddler with one eye on the sands of time – that takes centre stage. The film begins in the world of Blarney but slowly shifts to something closer to Beckett, with McDonagh’s firecracker script delivering laugh-out-loud moments without shying away from the loneliness of lives lived in communities so isolated that they might as well be the edge of the world. [Jamie Dunn]

A still from Hit The Road.

7. Hit The Road

Dir. Panah Panahi

Panah Panahi’s richly humanistic and often hilarious road movie would be a must-watch in any year, but in the context of the unjust imprisonment of Panahi’s father (Jafar Panahi) and the ongoing horrors being committed by the Iranian regime in the face of mass protests, Hit the Road is absolutely vital viewing in 2022. Many critics dubbed this the Iranian Little Miss Sunshine but those comparisons don’t do justice to the sharpness of Panahi’s filmmaking, where the sight gags and raucous performances are cut through with shards of melancholy, with this lovable family of misfits becoming almost mythic in their search for freedom on the open road. [Jamie Dunn]

Still from Happening.

8. Happening

Dir. Audrey Diwan

A work of colossal empathy and venom, Audrey Diwan’s film of unwanted pregnancy in 60s France, when abortion is illegal, has a profoundly upsetting effect. As university student Annie (the film adapts Annie Ernaux’s memoir of the same name) pursues every available way out of her situation, the misogyny of men, girlfriends and institutions bears oppressively on her, and Diwan’s rigidly focused camera captures every moment of internal panic coursing through Annie’s mind. As time starts running out, the film takes on a paralysing tension that’s difficult to shake as it breaks the taboos even the most intense abortion dramas don't approach. [Rory Doherty]

Still from The Worst Person In The World.

9. The Worst Person in The World

Dir. Joachim Trier

Both early press and the marketing campaign for Joachim Trier’s film pushed an idea of it as 'a Norwegian Frances Ha' – made easy when the main publicity still was star Renate Reinsve running down a city street. But while the film is indeed a tale of an impulsive late-twentysomething navigating love and purpose, that comparison is ultimately superficial, doing a disservice to the slippery nature of Trier and co-writer Eskil Vogt’s perceptive, novelistic and legitimately haunting portrait of the fear of never being enough; a fear of death but also that you’ve never quite lived, with a chance you may never. [Josh Slater-Williams]

Still from Licorice Pizza

10. Licorice Pizza

Dir. Paul Thomas Anderson

The two characters at the centre of Licorice Pizza are constantly running, and it feels like the whole movie is charged by their uncontainable youthful energy. Paul Thomas Anderson struck gold when he rolled the dice on the untested Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman, whose tangible chemistry gives this romance its beating heart, but who also skilfully navigate the messy emotional territory their characters wander into. Their authentic work is leavened by marvellously scenery-chomping cameos from Sean Penn and Bradley Cooper, with the latter’s appearance sparking the sequence of the year. Licorice Pizza already feels like a modern classic, densely packed with pleasures and endlessly rewatchable. [Phil Concannon]