Is 2022 a vintage year for movies? It certainly feels like it, especially as far as critical responses go.
There's been a lot to enjoy in 2022 thus far. So much so, in fact, that The Batman (opens in new tab), which boasts a rather impressive Rotten Tomatoes rating of 85%, finds itself all the way down at Number 58 on Rotten Tomatoes' round-up of the best movies of 2022. Well, so far anyway.
With so many great movies to choose from, we thought we’d showcase the top 10. You can find the full list here (opens in new tab) but, in our round-up, we've chosen not to include documentaries (we’ll round them up separately at a later date). So here, without further ado, are the 10 best movies of the year so far, according to Rotten Tomatoes.
10. Everything Everywhere All At Once
2022 might have been the year of Marvel’s Doctor Strange heading into the Multiverse of Madness (opens in new tab), but it’s another trip into a multiverse that has been wowing critics – and one with a much-smaller budget.
The movie follows Michelle Yeoh's Evelyn Quan Wang, a tired and unhappy laundromat owner who somehow discovers that it is she and she alone who can save the world by exploring other universes connecting with the lives she could have led.
A sprawling mass at 140 minutes, there is so much going on here, with madcap comedy, science fiction, fantasy, martial arts and animation all hurled into the same melting pot, but it all hangs together somehow.
9. Lingui, The Sacred Bonds
Beaten to the Palme d'Or at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival by striking horror Titane (opens in new tab), this tough drama hails from Chad.
The movie is the story of Amina, a devout Muslim whose live is torn apart when Maria, her 15-year-old daughter, tells her she is pregnant and wants to abort the child. Abortion is banned in Chad and the two face a battle that may well be already lost. Critics praised its power and elegance as it told an upsetting tale with real empathy. (opens in new tab)
8. Great Freedom
This time we’re in post-World War II Europe for another hard-hitting drama and the story of Hans.
Despite its liberation from Nazi rule, freedom does not include freedom of love in 1950s and 1960s Germany and Hans, a gay Jewish man, is sentenced to time in an Austrian prison for violating anti-homosexuality laws. Once inside, he begins a strange and unlikely friendship with Viktor, his deeply homophobic cellmate. An offbeat indie drama, but an utterly compelling one, as critics attested. (opens in new tab)
7. Top Gun: Maverick
While it’s fair to say that Tom Cruise’s long-awaited return to the cockpit was one of 2022’s most-anticipated movies, nobody saw reviews like this coming. Every poster for the film is a sea of five-star ratings, including TechRadar’s review (opens in new tab), which gave it maximum points.
Top Gun: Maverick sees Cruise return to play the supremely gifted, but cocky Peter "Maverick" Mitchell. We meet him 36 years after the original movie and Maverick has avoided promotion in order to keep flying. Now grounded after an outrageous display of ego, Maverick’s old rival, Iceman – now an admiral – reassigns him to TOPGUN as an instructor to train a group of elite pilots for a mission of unprecedented difficulty. Among the rookies are the son of his former friend Goose, ensuring this mission is off to a difficult start before it's even begun.
Reviewers have been knocked out by the movie’s spectacle and action-sequences, all the while stressing the need to see it on the biggest screen possible (opens in new tab). We couldn’t agree more.
One for those among you with a taste for horror (opens in new tab). Set in Upstate New York, the movie focuses on Izzy and her mother, who live off the grid in the mountains.
Izzy’s mother, who is never named, has told her daughter she is ill and must not go near people or their nearby town, not even for supplies. Instead, the two spend their time studying magic and making metal music. But, after a chance encounter with another teenager causes her to uncover a connection between her family and witchcraft, Izzy begins to unpick everything.
Tense and bloody, Hellbender was praised for being ambitious (opens in new tab) and achieving things way beyond its tiny budget.
5. The Innocents
A fine science-fiction tradition is dusted off for this Norwegian drama, which boasts a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 97% (opens in new tab).
In the bright light of a Norwegian summer, four children become fast friends during the holidays. Away from the prying eyes of teachers and their parents, they discover they have hidden powers. While exploring their newfound abilities, their lives change completely, and, as you expect, things get rather dark...
Critics acknowledged that this is a well-known story structure, but praised the passion and commitment of the young cast and the film’s pacing and new take on things.
4. The Duke
Helen Mirren and Jim Broadbent lead this comedy-drama, which proved to be the final act for much-acclaimed British director Roger Michell.
The movie retold the real-life cast of Kempton Bunton, a 60-year-old man who stole Francisco Goya's portrait of the Duke of Wellington from the National Gallery in London. After making off with the hugely valuable painting, Bunton then sent ransom notes saying that he would return the painting on condition that the government invested more in care for the elderly.
Charming and tremendously warm, Broadbent’s Bunton and Mirren, who plays his wife Dorothy, are both at the top of their game here.
3. Jujutsu Kaisen 0: The Movie
The year’s finest anime and a feature-length version of Gege Akutami's hugely popular manga series, this movie has a mighty 98% rating on the reviews aggregator. (opens in new tab)
The narrative follows Yuta Okkotsu, a high school student who suddenly gains control of an extremely powerful dark spirit, something that gets enrolled in the Tokyo Prefectural Jujutsu High School, where he is overseen by Jujutsu Sorcerers to help him control his power. But, what they really want to do is keep an eye on him…
A searing French drama set at the start of the 1960s, this movie is an adaptation of Annie Ernaux’s much-acclaimed novel, L'événement.
We follow Anne, a young student who is progressing well academically and planning her career. After discovering she is pregnant, Anne’s grades begin to slip and her life choices begin to shrink, forcing her to confront the shame and pain of an abortion, something that comes with the risk of a prison sentence.
The reviews for this movie have been wall to wall high-praise, (opens in new tab) with star Anamaria Vartolomei tipped for the biggest of things off the back of it. As you might gather from the subject matter, it's a harrowing watch at times, but beautifully and gracefully put together.
Movies with 100% ratings on Rotten Tomatoes do not come around all that often, but the debut from writer-director Laura Wandel is one such movie.
The definition of an intimate drama, this Belgian outing tracks Nora, a shy seven-year-old who is struggling to fit in at a new school. As she slowly tries to make friends, she notices her brother Abel, who is a few years older than her, being horrendous bullying. He doesn’t defend himself, nor does he want her to tell their father about it.
Coming in at only 72 minutes, the film is a difficult watch, with the camera rarely leaving Nora’s side and giving this drama a truly unique perspective. Maybe not a film for a Friday night treat, but with a 100% rating, (opens in new tab) it’s a movie everyone should seek out.