Top 15 Films of 2022 – Allen’s Picks

 11) The Fabelmans

One of the most celebrated directors of all time, Steven Spielberg has always worn his heart on his sleeve. His latest is a deeply felt account of his upbringing. The Fabelmans (2022) is easily his most personal work. While he has given a part of himself in everything he has done, none hit as closely to his life than this. The story of a young boy who grows up wanting to make movies just as his own family unravels is fascinating and emotional at the same time. Is that why Spielberg is so good at what he does? Does he exert his power over his movies because he feels so powerless at home? The film is a testament of how images and experiences imprint into a young person’s mind and shape who they will be as adults. Good or bad, there was never a moment that didn’t feel honest to who Spielberg is as a person and storyteller. At the very least, he never keeps the horizon in the middle.

10) Avatar: The Way of Water

Thirteen years since his megahit Avatar (2009) stormed theaters, James Cameron has brought us back to the world of Pandora – the next step in what might be the biggest undertaking any filmmaker has ever shouldered. If there was a person crazy enough to pull it off, it’s Cameron. Featuring stunning, photo-realistic visual effects, this latest adventure expands the universe, taking us to wonderous, imaginative places. Images are so well rendered that at times I forgot what I was looking at wasn’t real. That is what separates Cameron from other blockbuster filmmakers. He understands that spectacle and scope can be tools to immerse us into these fantastical realms. Splashy CGI mean nothing if there isn’t something tangible for us to attach to. Cameron has taken a story that is easy to understand, characters easy to root for, and places them in set pieces that are nothing short of spectacular. 

9) Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

There were several Pinocchio adaptations this year, the best of which is Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (2022). Utilizing stunning stop motion animation, del Toro (with co-director Mark Gustafson) avoided Disney comparisons by taking a familiar story and infusing it with its own identity. The framework is the same, following the adventures of a magical wooden puppet (Gregory Mann), a woodcarver (David Bradley), and a cricket (Ewan McGregor). But under del Toro and Gustafson’s guidance, the narrative takes unexpected turns – exploring grief, life, death, the bonds between fathers and sons, and the turmoil of socio-political unrest. It not only has lessons to share for children, but for their parents as well. The fact that it examines serious themes in a world of fantasy is a testament to its success. It’s the best animated film of the year.

8) Tár

Cate Blanchett once again proves that she is one of our finest actors in Tár (2022). Set against the backdrop of classical music, Blanchett plays a world-famous composer/conductor in the midst of organizing her latest production. However, the sins of her past come back to haunt her. Writer/director Todd Field incorporates clever use of sound – from the power of an orchestra to the minimalism of creaks and knocks – to turn the main character’s shrinking world into a horror show. It’s a story of power and hubris, forcing the protagonist to come face to face with the ghosts they try so desperately to hide. Above all else, this is another entry into Blanchett’s growing catalog of excellent roles. Just when we thought we’ve seen everything we could from her, she throws us for a loop, delivering yet another showstopping performance.

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Allen is a moviegoer based out of Seattle, Washington. His hobbies include dancing, playing the guitar, and, of course, watching movies.

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