The Best Films of 2022

Variety Best Films of 2022
Courtesy of Warner Bros. / Universal / Searchlight Pictures / Focus Features

This fall, the story of how prestige films, awards films — whatever you want to call them — underperformed at movie theaters was more than a box office story. It was, potentially, the story of a paradigm shift. An essential question was raised: If a drama as acclaimed and exciting to watch as “Tár” — or, God forbid, the most highly lauded Steven Spielberg film since “Lincoln” — can’t raise the temperature of moviegoers, then what hope do movies for adults have? The reason we make note of this here is that if we’re going to be honest about it, there’s a subtle way that this trend can taint the films we’re talking about. Instead of triumphs, they can look like “disappointments,” like movies that somehow didn’t measure up to what they were supposed to be. But this is a moment to remind ourselves that our favorite movies, and the others singled out by our critics as the best of the year, really are triumphs. They are films that are built to last, and will. There are hit movies on our lists, like “The Batman,” but in an age of numbers-crunching it’s important to remember that the achievements of movies like this don’t need to be quantified. We hope, in reading our lists, that you embrace the quality in these films that so inspired us: the sensation of discovery. (Click here to jump to Peter Debruges list.)