The Best Films of 2022: A Year in Review

Our top ten lists for the best in movies

The movies are back! 2022 began with a flash freeze on moviegoing just as films like Parallel Mothers, Licorice Pizza, and Scream graced us with their big screen presence. Like Ghostface, though, movie lovers masked up and braved the night. Moreover, after holstering its blockbusters for two years, Hollywood brought out the big guns. It pulled out the top gun, to be exact, as Maverick revived summer movie season from its slumber. Featuring a definitive star role from Tom Cruise and Mach 10 action, Top Gun: Maverick was among the most widely praised films on That Shelf’s list of the best films of 2022.

While Hollywood admittedly churned lots of junk in 2022 to print some money, audiences also responded to original works. For example, the Daniels’ Everything Everywhere rode the wave of Marvel movie meta-verse overkill, but gave it a heart that universe-jumping never experienced before. Michelle Yeoh, a star to equal Cruise, pulled a Meryl Streep out of her hat and proved that a 60-year old actress could lead a movie to a 100-million dollar payday. The film rivalled Maverick for the most mentions on our top ten lists.

Other films show that the movies themselves are mostly delivering. Our lists for the best of the year reflect popcorn movies, indie films, and international titles in equal measures. We’re also all across the board when it comes to picking the year’s best performances, Canadian films, and movie moments. Which, really, just reflects the range of offerings this year.

All contributors at That Shelf were invited to submit a ranked top ten list with a few words on their choices. Please join us in saluting the best films of 2022!


Dakota Arsenault’s Top Ten Films of 2022


1. Brother

Clement Virgo is back to feature films after a brief sojourn making TV. The film features a towering performance from Aaron Pierre as the mysterious older brother Francis, whose influence over his little brother Michael is immense. When he does wield his power, we get to see the mess his absence creates for Michael and their mother. The film is as electrifying as the power lines that bookend it.

2. Tár

Cate Blanchett has made a career of impressive films, and she may have reached a new height with Todd Field’s return to cinema. Swapping the gender of what we usually associate with groomers and abusers to be a woman is a great way to change the audience’s perspective and thoughts on the conductor who is about to hit a career milestone.

3. The Good Nurse

A slow burn thriller where it’s never a question of who the killer is, but the shocks come from revealing how and why they were done. The amount of people whom the killer is suspected of executing elicits the biggest shock.

4. Top Gun: Maverick

Tom Cruise meditates on how he may be aging out of Hollywood and decides to drop the best action and practical effects movie of a generation.

5. Everything Everywhere All at Once

The best multiverse movie of the year will leave you howling with laughter (fighting over butt plugs) and dry heaving (the precarious nature of familial relationships).

6. The Batman

Those in the o never doubted that Robert Pattinson has turned into one of the best working actors today. Paired with Matt Reeves, who turned in two stellar Planet of the Apes films, was the best choice to bring back the Dark Knight.

7. Broker

Hirokazu Kore-eda makes another film about how the family you choose is stronger than the family you’re born into.

8. Bodies Bodies Bodies

Marketed as a slasher flick, instead it’s a take down on Gen-Z. Also, there is no shame in having a podcast.

9. After Yang

Colin Farrell is having a banner year. It’s probably his quietest performance ever and he brings heartache to a man who tries to understand the mystery of his daughter’s robot companion. Kogonada shows that Columbus was no fluke.

10. Prey

After the Predator franchise languished with cheesy reboots and sequels, it took 10 Cloverfield Lane director Dan Trachtenberg to pump new life to the alien hunting world.

Honourable mentions: Ashgrove, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, Good Night Oppy, The Northman, Viking


Colin Biggs’ Top Ten Films of 2022


1. Everything Everywhere All at Once

When I sat down to watch the Daniels’ Everything Everywhere All at Once, I didn’t expect to be emotionally devastated. Michelle Yeoh’s frazzled Evelyn, hurriedly putting together her tax forms for an upcoming meeting with IRS stickler (a scenery-chewing Jamie Lee Curtis), desperately wishing her life was anything else, was all too relatable. Then, her husband (Ke Huy Quan) leans over and tells her that the entire world depends on her. Right. This. Second. Instead of devolving into a CGI mess to convey a global catastrophe, the Daniels keep the scale small despite running through the multiverse. That one of the most poignant scenes in the film features two rocks with googly eyes is proof of the insanity of Everything Everywhere All at Once, but also its heart.

2. The Banshees of Inisherin

Martin McDonagh’s reunion with Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson could hardly have gone better. A story that examines how fragile our worldviews are, and how destructive it can be when they are shattered.

3. Decision to Leave

This is a director working at the height of their powers. Park Chan-wook glides the camera around, seamlessly keeping his two leads together even when they’re achingly apart.

4. Nope

The imagery and themes are very pointed, but the revelation of Nope, for me, was how well Peele utilized IMAX. Desert vistas and the night sky will never feel safe again.

5. The Fabelmans

A film that could quickly become self-indulgent instead vibrates with emotional intensity and technical bravura. Spielberg, like Scorsese, is never allowed to retire.

6. The Batman

Robert Pattinson’s portrayal of Bruce Wayne as a barely-keeping-it-together recluse was a revelation for those who haven’t followed the actor’s transformation into an eccentric character actor whose every project is worth watching.

7. The Northman

A brawling, revisionist take on Hamlet, The Northman isn’t dense on story, yet the visceral thrill of Amleth’s relentless quest for vengeance has to be witnessed.

8. The Menu

Not as cutting as the razor-sharp steel in its kitchen, but there is enough substance in this meal to leave you saying, “Yes, chef.”

9. Barbarian

If you’ve somehow not seen Barbarian, don’t let anyone tell you anything about it. Walk into this one clean and you’ll be rewarded with one of the great horrors of 2022.

10. Good Luck to You, Leo Grande

Did you need another reminder that Emma Thompson is an international treasure? Here it is.


Marko Djurdjic’s Top Ten Films of 2022


1. Top Gun: Maverick

While many of the films on this list scratched one itch or another, no film basked in its own formal and haptic glory quite like this one. Although I wholly and unironically love the propagandistic original, this rare pitch-perfect sequel improves on everything its predecessor achieved by IMAX-supersizing it (and then some). I don’t often succumb to the seduction of summer popcorn fare, or speak so highly/lustily about it, but a film that can be felt in every fibre, neuron, and cell of one’s jet-fuel-soaked being has to be the best. There’s nothing that comes close to the pure, unbridled joy, wonder, and pleasure I felt while watching Top Gun: Maverick. Not all box-office superheroes wear capes: some just need big ass jets and a whooooole lotta sincere nostalgia. And man oh man, did it ever work for me! Zooooom!!!

2. The Fabelmans

3. Turning Red

4. Licorice Pizza

5. Babylon

6. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

7. X

8. Decision to Leave

9. Jackass: Forever

10. EO

Honourable mentions: The Black Phone, The Batman, Blonde, All the Beauty and the Bloodshed


Larry Fried’s Top Ten Films of 2022


1. Bones and All

Luca Guadagnino takes two very disparate genres—road-trip teen romance and cannibal horror thriller—and fully commits to both sensibilities in what is one of the most chilling yet heart-wrenching films I have ever seen. A delectable experience from start to finish.

2. Everything Everywhere All at Once

What hasn’t been said about this wholly one-of-a-kind experience? Dazzling originality, succinct storytelling, humanistic performances. Taps into the zeitgeist yet feels utterly timeless in a way few films ever have or ever will.

3. Cha Cha Real Smooth

Cooper Raiff just gets it, man. He wears his heart on its sleeve to capture young heartbreak and emotional sincerity in a hilariously modern, witty, and post-post-ironic way. Dakota Johnson gives one of her most tender performances as well. We are so lucky to have her.

4. Top Gun: Maverick

Another universally beloved one and deservingly so. A model for the legacy sequel in that it made me nostalgic for the original, a movie I had watched for the first time hours beforehand. Complete sincerity makes its high-octane climax genuinely thrilling.

5. The Northman

Eggers is a complete and total visionary. Brutal maximalism expressed in every inch of craft and story. Takes an archetypal story and infuses it with a twisted energy that is extremely compelling. Alexander Skarsgård and Nicole Kidman are aces in this as well.

6. Bodies Bodies Bodies

A deeply misunderstood film that was shrugged off as “annoying” by critics who are so far removed from the nihilistic, disconnected experience captured effortlessly here by the entire creative team. It captures Gen-Z hypocrisy and narcissism to a scathing tee with a brilliant young cast.

7. Till

Any claim that this biopic is “standard” needs serious investigation. Chinonye Chukwu directs a horror film in a biopic’s clothing and the results are deeply chilling but artistically invigorating. Till achieves the impossible on numerous levels.

8. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

This movie is a complete miracle: script largely improvised with painstakingly intricate stop-motion and CGI animation and puppetry blended with live sets and backgrounds. One of the few instances of an internet meme spawning a film that feels like a massive expansion of its own inner world as opposed to a cash grab.

9. Call Jane

Most found this one middling out of Sundance but it appears many of these reviews weren’t ready for an abortion film that dared to be both a drama AND a comedy. Humour helps us cope with the darkness of this film’s relevancy, a story anchored by a badass protagonist brought to life by Elizabeth Banks in the first true vehicle for her talents as a dramatic actor.

10. The Woman King

Gina Prince-Bythewood did great action work in The Old Guard but this is that film notched up to 11. Some of the most visceral fight choreography and action compositions you’ll see in any film, let alone a historical epic of this size and scope. The entire cast is gangbusters, making an admittedly jam-packed story compelling throughout its entire runtime.

Honourable mentions: The Inspection, “Sr.“, Hustle, Prey, Emily the Criminal, RRR, Pleasure, Causeway, Tár, The Good Nurse


Jason Gorber’s Top Ten Films of 2022


1. Triangle of Sadness

Seeing the film blind in Cannes, surrounded by people whom the work was excoriating, and exiting to the warm Mediterranean air while the yachts that hadn’t been confiscated bobbed in nearby harbour was an impossible-to-replicate experience. However, my love for this mixture of the profound and the profane hasn’t waned since that day. Östlund’s latest film is not to everyone’s taste, but its mixture of deep philosophical elements with a slurry of comedic filth is absolutely a touchstone for this year’s slate of films.

2. The Fabelmans

It’s bemusing to say that many people still find this film to be a middling work by a populist legend, for there’s so much nuance at play here that it’s almost breathtaking. Thanks to Tony Kushner’s acute writing style and Spielberg’s almost preposterous late career flourishes, this is a masterwork by a master filmmaker.

3. Top Gun: Maverick

Star Wars with Obi-Wan taking the rudder, this glorious, unabashed blast of nostalgia reminded generations why schlepping to Cinesphere is an experience that cannot be replicated at home.

4. Living

A breathtakingly beautiful adaptation of Ikiru, this Bill Nighy vehicle truly astonishes. Like the film listed above, it does the nearly impossible and outdoes the original in many ways.

5. Tár

Cate Blanchett is always good, but she’s never been THIS good. Wall-to-wall brilliant, this acerbic take on power, perfection, and performance is truly incredible. Strike a mark against all fall festivals that failed to secure it as part of their slate.

6. The Banshees of Inisherin

As a metaphor for civil wars it’s perfect, but leave it to an impeccable cast, a hardscrabble landscape, and a menagerie of supporting characters to elevate what should be a one-trick rant into one of the most bleak, comedic, and deft films of the year.

7. Women Talking

Sarah Polley’s magnificent film is told with such confidence that it unreservedly establishes her as one of the great directors of her generation. She guides the remarkable cast to deliver subtle performances that are both riveting and emotionally resonant.

8. Everything Everywhere All at Once

The Daniels’ maximalist masterpiece finally hooked with wider audiences, making many fans of their unique brand of lunacy and emotional heft.

9. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Another film that trumps its original? For a solid 20 minutes, I felt that Rian Johnson’s return was floundering, only to be slapped in the face with a film much smarter than I. Second viewing shows how the tricks are done, and it’s no less wonderful to witness.

10. Nope

Jordan Peele’s films have always been a mixed bag for me, but this love letter to Spielberg and Kubrick did everything required to live up to high expectations.


Barbara Goslawski’s Top Ten Films of 2022


1. Women Talking

The most daring film of the year, Women Talking is also the most emotionally affecting. Polley’s taut direction takes a talky premise and infuses it with a staggering tension. Her strategy is brilliant. She pairs the film’s necessarily measured pacing with powerhouse, electrifying performances. At the same time, Polley contrasts this hermetically sealed world in which the women exist with the freer pacing of the world outside of them. The film expertly builds toward a final release that marks an extraordinary triumph of the human spirit. A truly unforgettable cinematic experience that inspired a burst of tears – essential ugly weeping that stood as a celebration of the bravery and innermost strength showcased in this film.

2. All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

A powerful fusion of perspectives, Laura Poitras’ portrait of Nan Goldin’s artistry and activism becomes a bolder vision of humanity and the frailty at its core. Goldin’s artistic practice has always been marked by an unflinching candour. As our subject, Goldin opens up and the doc becomes more intimate, and we in turn observe an essentially brutal honesty that affects all aspects of existence, whether they be in artmaking or in our most private relationships.

3. The Banshees of Inisherin

The Banshees of Inisherin is an extraordinary cross between fable and tall tale, full of familiar but intensely unforgettable souls. Every aspect of this film works at peak level, especially the performances. A warts-and-all send-up of human foibles that’s hilarious at times and heartbreaking at others, Banshees is also an poignant look at how easily humans can mess up a good thing.

4. Close

This is a refreshing coming of age film that feels unique in its focus thanks mostly to the director’s masterful control and the absolutely riveting performances. Close possesses a distinctly quiet intensity that underscores the fragility of the human psyche. In this moving look at innocence lost, we are given new insights into our larger struggles for love and acceptance and are offered a cogent look at the collective vulnerability at the heart of our fundamental existence.

5. Decision to Leave

A fresh reimagining of a classic noir procedural through the lens of a compelling romantic love story. Decision to Leave avoids all the mawkish pitfalls and clichés of the genre. On top of that, Park Chan-wook creates layer upon layer, adding levels of mystery to a central story that had originally seemed so clearcut, but becomes denser as it progresses. One of those films that rewards multiple viewings.

6. Riceboy Sleeps

Expertly using all the cinematic tools at his disposal, director Anthony Shim fashions a provocative depiction of the immigrant experience and how spirit can and will triumph over adversity. Shim’s directorial style creates an intimate look at the world in which our protagonists exist, and he expertly fashions a larger statement about bravery in the face of hardship. A jubilant achievement that will leave one cheering.

7. Everything Everywhere All at Once

This is a gloriously fun and intelligent genre-busting film that reminds us that cinema is magical while presenting a real-life hero(ine) who is as faulty as the rest of us. As her bravery grows (which, happily for us, doesn’t take long), we have a relatable character to cheer. The resulting film is gloriously original, breaking through walls, worlds, and expectations. This one defies all the rules and it is enchanting in the way that it defiantly opens everything up.

8. All that Breathes

This lyrical documentary reminds us of our place in the grand scheme of things while expertly fashioning an intimate portrait of two brothers fighting to preserve life under the most difficult of circumstances. The film expertly intermingles moments of sheer poetry with the most personal details of the brothers’ relationship, and it reaches an even higher level of achievement by placing these struggles in a larger socio-political context.

9. The Fabelmans

Spielberg keeps this portrait of the budding artist inspired with a nuanced, graceful approach. His mature style adds subtle notes to the beats within the story, fleshing out this love letter to cinema by creating a more intricate look at the people and relationships that shape us. The final few minutes of The Fabelmans are pure must-see genius.

10. Aftersun

A vivid, no holds barred portrait of a parent-child relationship. It’s exciting to see such a raw, unconventional approach. Wells examines the clash between memory and reality as we watch their dynamic play out through a videotape of a long past vacation together. The film’s unique approach produces an astonishing level of insight into how childhood memories can conceal the reality of a situation. An astonishing debut film.

Honourable mentions: Learn to Swim; Framing Agnes; Nope; Midwives; Emergency; Marcel the Shell with Shoes On; Saint Omer; The Woman King; I Didn’t See You There; Tár; The Eternal Daughter; Return to Seoul; The Worst Ones; Something You Said Last Night


Pat Mullen’s Top Ten Films of 2022


1. All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

Condolences to all the film bros who want documentaries to “stay in their lane,” but All the Beauty and the Bloodshed is the film of the year. Laura Poitras proves why she’s among the most respected artists in non-fiction with this brilliantly played work that sees art and activism collide. She finds a worthy ally, subject, and co-conspirator in photographer Nan Goldin, and gains intimate insight from the artist while chronicling her fight to hold the Sackler family of Purdue Pharma accountable for profiting on death, pain, and misery amid the opioid crisis. Poitras smartly situates Goldin’s activism amid her family history, photography, experience with abuse, and the AIDS crisis. There has been no better articulation that “silence equals death” than this potent essay about holding people in power accountable for their misdeeds.

2. Fire of Love

Fire of Love is to volcanoes what Adaptation is to orchids. Sara Dosa poetically conveys what it truly means to care about something passionately with this portrait of Maurice and Katia Krafft and their mutual flaming desire for volcanoes. Dosa pays tribute to the Kraffts’ contribution to scientific knowledge, but also to their notability as filmmakers. Nearly every frame of Fire of Love is meticulously restored footage shot by the Kraffts, which demonstrates how they captured their research with a cinéphile’s eye. Love it, love it, love it, love it, love it!

3. Women Talking

Talking the women indeed do. Sarah Polley’s tautly played ensemble piece invites audiences into a space the privileges the voices of women. These Mennonite women, survivors all, debate their options for defense against the men who wronged them. Every word said and unsaid is weighted with meaning as the women confront their duties to their faith, their daughters, and themselves. It’s hard to pick a favourite among the standout cast, but Sheila McCarthy is best in show for me.

4. Close

This film really hits close for me. (No pun intended.) Lukas Dhont’s proves himself among the most exciting new voices in the medium, particularly for queer cinema, with this portrait of being labelled before figuring oneself out in one’s own time. This devastating film is a testament to friendship, but also an intimate reminder how we’re often likeliest to betray those whom we hold nearest to our heart. Two stars are born in newcomers Eden Dambrine and Gustav de Waele who give heartfelt, vulnerable performances. I’m grateful that a generation of young people will grow up with this film.

5. Bros

It’s a damn shame that audiences didn’t turn up for Bros. Seeing it with a packed house at TIFF in which the audience roared with laughter throughout, Bros really felt like one of the few films this year that could have made a difference. Billy Eichner is endearingly punchable and, as writer, pulls off the tricky feat of pleasing everyone while landing in-jokes directly for the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community. And Luke Macfarlane, you can slide into my DMs any time you’re down for a sequel.

6. Tár

Cate Blanchett conducts a masterful feat of hand-talking in Todd Field’s drama that dares us to appreciate nuance. Blanchett’s conductor who seems to forget that life isn’t quite like music: you can’t simply command it with the rhythm of your hands.

7. To Kill a Tiger

Nisha Pahuja’s film immerses audiences in the plight of one family whose life in a small community in rural India is rocked when their daughter endures a brutal rape. By observing this one family’s strength, To Kill a Tiger interrogates the deeply rooted social norms that enable and perpetuate the status quo.

8. Living

Bill Nighy deserves an Oscar for his masterfully restrained performance as a man who learns what it means to live. This is a richly layered portrait of a man rousing himself from his self-imposed slumber. Oliver Hermanus’s Living adapts and, I think, improves upon the original Kurosawa film Ikiru..

9. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

This beautiful study in loneliness and connection is one of the best mockumentaries ever made. Director Dean Fleischer-Camp and star Jenny Slate lend such vulnerability to their project that survived their own break-up as they use conventions of non-fiction to ground an out of this world tale.

10. Babylon

Damien Chazelle delivers a raucous ride through the quick descent in which Hollywood lost its soul. 2022 is all about movies about the movies, and this one saved the most movie for last.

Honourable mentions: All Quiet on the Western Front; The Banshees of Inisherin; The Blue Caftan; Crimes of the Future; Decision to Leave; Fire Island; Glass Onion; Geographies of Solitude; Good Luck to You, Leo Grande; The Menu; The Territory; Top Gun: Maverick; Viking.


Shawn Peer’s Top Ten Films of 2022


1. Top Gun: Maverick

It is hard to argue that another movie defines 2022 the way Top Gun: Maverick has. Apart from being the highest-grossing movie of the year, the amount of love it received is high by today’s standards. It brought generations of film lovers together. There is no message or statement to take away when the credits begin, but mindless entertainment is something that audiences deserve every once in a while. Top Gun: Maverick is just that. Tom Cruise understands the theatrical experience more than anyone on his Earth, and his resilience to keep it off streaming services before its release undeniably preserved the practice of big screen moviegoing. We should be eternally grateful for what he did.

2. Everything Everywhere All at Once

There is not much more that can be said about the Daniels’ Everything Everywhere All at Once and its cinematic impact for 2022. This true feat in storytelling and execution has a concept that sounds ludicrous on paper, but it resulted in a moving journey. As it traverses several universes, it climaxes into heart-breaking moments that show the hardships and struggles of family.

3. Babylon

Even with the high anticipation for Babylon, there was a handful of doubt that Chazelle could handle a film of such grandeur. But as one of the greatest filmmakers working today, he effortlessly balances the characters and storylines without ever leaving the film feeling bloated. Margot Robbie cements herself as a true star who elevates everything she touches. Diego Calva shines in a classic rags-to-riches story that showcases the beauty of cinema.

4. The Northman

Robert Eggers’ third feature film, The Northman, is an epic tale of revenge that fully indulges in the brutality and griminess of medieval Iceland. Alexander Skarsgård pushes his body to its physical limit, resulting in gruesome and raw fight sequences that are visual feasts for the eyes.

5. Elvis

Elvis may have not been a hit with all audience members, but it is undeniable that Baz Luhrmann created a visually eye-popping musical biopic that never drags in its three-hour runtime. Austin Butler delivers a star-making performance in the titular role that will be collecting well-deserved awards.

6. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

MCU fatigue may be starting to show, but Black Panther: Wakanda Forever delivers much-needed emotion and stakes to the franchise, which is affected by the real-life passing of Chadwick Boseman. Ryan Coogler’s innovation and technique continues to show why he is one of the best modern directors, and the entire cast truly gives it their all in every aspect. It pays off with a great end to Phase 4.

7. The Menu

The Menu is a perfect example of how to build tension and suspense slowly and effectively in a (mostly) single setting. Ralph Fiennes is delightfully spine-chilling as chef Julian Slowik but he is equally matched by Anya Taylor-Joy, who is ferocious as Margot Mills. Her performance solidifies her as one of Hollywood’s top leading ladies.

8. The Banshees of Inisherin

The Banshees of Inisherin is a beautiful, emotional, and hilarious look into the impact and importance of friendship. Martin McDonagh delivers one of the best screenplays of the year with writing that is constantly witty and heartwarming. Not a single character stands out because every cast member is equally and uniquely remarkable. In a year of franchises and blockbusters, The Banshees of Inisherin is a great reminder that original cinema is alive and kicking.

9. The Woman King

The Woman King shows a previously unseen side of history with the Agojie tribe in West Africa during the 1820s. Viola Davis, as always, commands the screen every time she appears, but the supporting cast, which includes Thuso Mbedu and Lashana Lynch, are given moments to shine and round out a world that is so well-realized and fleshed out. All of this is possible with Gina Prince-Bythewood’s confident direction and artistic creativity, which results in one of the best action films of 2022.

10. Prey

A prequel to the Predator franchise, Prey uses its 1700s’ setting to its full advantage. It pits hunter against hunter in a true battle for survival that keeps you on the edge of your street from start to finish. Bonus points are given for Indigenous casting and centring the story around a Comanche tribe.

Honourable mentions: Turning Red, Cha Cha Real Smooth, She Said, Bones and All, and RRR.


Courtney Small’s Top Ten Films of 2022


1. Everything Everywhere All at Once

Everything Everywhere All at Once was an absolute joy to experience on the big screen. This wildly original film tackled themes of family, love, and the expansive multiverse far better than any Marvel film could. Furthermore, I did not expect this inventive film to be as moving as it was. Stephanie Hsu crafted one of the most heartbreaking villains I have seen in quite a while. Everything—from the editing to the performances by Yeoh, Quan, and Hsu—was superb.

2. Aftersun

A fascinating look at memory, loss of innocence, those little moment we often take for granted, etc. This film took me on an emotional journey that I was not anticipating.

3. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

This murder mystery was a joy to watch. A sequel as entertaining as the original while still carving out it own unique space.

4. All Quiet on the Western Front

Beautifully shot, and not overly stylized, the film is a wonderful meditation on the horrors of wars, the misguided egos of men in power, the draining and inescapable cycles of violence, and much more.

5. Top Gun: Maverick

Add Top Gun: Maverick to the list of sequels that exceeded the original in every way. While there are a few too many callbacks to the ’80s’ version, Tom Cruise knows how to construct a thrilling summer action experience.

6. RRR

One of the best action films, superhero flicks, and bromances to come out this year. The scene where the arrogant colonizers are put in their place via one outstanding dance number was the chef’s kiss.

7. Brother

Clement Virgo’s Brother (which will be released in early 2023) knocked my socks off at TIFF this year. Aaron Pierre and Lamar Johnson are riveting in the lead roles.

8. Tár

Tár is the perfect example of how to tell a story from the perspective of a villain who believes they are ultimately the hero.

9. Women Talking

Sarah Polley constructs a mesmerizing and timely work filled with outstanding performances. Through the difficult conversations the women have, the film forces audience to confront many issues that impact our society today.

10. The Woman King

Filled with thrilling action set pieces, Gina Prince-Bythewood crafts a crowd-pleasing epic that delivers on multiple levels. Viola Davis is sensational as an aging warrior torn between her duty and her emotions.

Honourable mentions: The Bansees of Inisherin, Elvis, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, Turning Red, After Yang, Nanny, Saint Omer


Rachel West’s Top Ten Films of 2022


1. The Banshees of Inisherin

Martin McDonagh makes magic again with Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson in this achingly emotional, heartbreaking, and darkly funny story of the end of a friendship. Farrell (who gave four great performances in 2022 in this film, The Batman, After Yang, and Thirteen Lives) and Gleeson have never been better, but co-stars Kerry Condon and Barry Keoghan equally shine in supporting roles.

2. Women Talking

Filled with exceptional performances from a true ensemble, Sarah Polley has crafted a masterwork. Absolutely riveting from start to finish.

3. Tár

In a career filled with exceptional performances, Cate Blanchett outdoes herself in Tár.

4. All Quiet on the Western Front

The source material behind Netflix’s German WWI epic is just as relevant and horrifying as ever. It’s impossible to take your eyes off Austrian star Felix Kammerer. A sensory overload at times, cinematographer James Friend spectacularly lays out large-scale battle scenes that are some of the best war moments captured on film since Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers.

5. The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

Nicolas Cage delivers his greatest performance of all-time as Nick Cage. It’s a fan-pleasing, Easter egg-filled extravaganza.

6. Everything Everywhere All at Once

Original, funny, moving, and it has Michelle Yeoh.

7. Top Gun: Maverick

Tom Cruise proves why he is a movie star. Even as someone who doesn’t really love the original Top Gun, there is no denying the sequel was a crowd-pleasing old fashioned action flick that was only made better by seeing it on the big screen.

8. Decision to Leave

It may not be the same calibre of Park Can-wook’s previous films, but Decision to Leave is a wholly engrossing murder mystery wrapped in a romantic thriller with a fabulous performance by Park Hae-il.

9. Glass Onion

I may not love it as much as Knives Out, but it is even more fun than its predecessor

10. The Batman

I just like that The Riddler has to wear his glasses on the outside of his mask.

Honourable mentions: The Woman King, The Quiet Girl, After Yang, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, Nope


Best Performance in a Leading Role

Cate the great lands the most mentions here with three shout-outs for her icy turn as an EGOT composer caught in a PR firestorm. She could be looking at Oscar number #3!


Ana de Armas in Blonde – Marko

Cate Blanchett in Tár – Dakota, Jason, Shawn

Austin Butler in Elvis – Courtney

Danielle Deadwyler in Till – Larry

Colin Farrell in The Banshees of Inisherin – Colin, Rachel W.

Emma Thompson in Good Luck to You, Leo Grande – Pat

Michelle Yeoh in Everything Everywhere All at Once – Barbara Goslawski

Best Performance in a Supporting Role

With the only performance to land two votes in a crowded field, Brendan Gleeson snuck ahead and may do the same come awards season.


Jessie Buckley in Women Talking – Barbara

Timothée Chalamet in Bones and All – Larry

Paul Dano in The Fabelmans – Jason

Brendan Gleeson in The Banshees of Inisherin – Shawn, Rachel W.

Stephanie Hsu in Everything Everywhere All at Once – Courtney

Luke Macfarlane in Bros – Pat

Aaron Pierre in Brother – Dakota

Ke Huy Quan in Everything Everywhere All at Once – Colin

Michelle Williams in The Fabelmans – Marko

Best Performance by a Four-Legged Friend

Move over, Colin Farrell! The Banshees of Inisherin has only one ass that can’t be beat. Her name is Jenny.


Sarii in Prey – Colin, Dakota

Sox in Lightyear – Shawn

The donkeys who played EO – Courtney, Marko, Rachel W.

Jenny the donkey in The Banshees of Inisherin –Barbara, Jason, Larry, Pat


Brother | Elevation Pictures

Best Canadian Film

Clement Virgo’s powerful drama Brother is the only film to land multiple votes on the Canadian front. Toronto stories are always in good hands with Virgo, and this adaptation of David Chariandy’s novel might be his best film since Rude.


Black Ice – Colin

Bones of Crows – Rachel W.

Brother – Courtney, Jason, Dakota

Crimes of the Future – Shawn

Riceboy Sleeps – Barbara

Slash/Back – Marko

This Place – Larry

To Kill a Tiger – Pat


Best Documentary

Laura Poitras trounced the competition for delivering a perfect marriage between art and activism in All the Beauty and the Bloodshed. It’s refreshing to see the rich squirm, isn’t it?


All the Beauty and the Bloodshed – Barbara, Courtney, Marko, Pat

Fire of Love – Rachel W.

Good Night Oppy – Dakota

Jackass Forever – Colin

Moonage Daydream – Jason

Sr. – Larry, Shawn

The “You Gotta See this on the Big Screen” Award              

If you haven’t seen Top Gun: Maverick on the big screen, have you really seen Top Gun? That Lady Gaga banger in the credits totally merits surround Dolby sound, as do the whooshing airplanes.


Everything Everywhere All at Once – Larry

Fire of Love – Pat

Moonage Daydream – Jason

Nope – Colin

Top Gun: Maverick – Courtney, Dakota, Marko, Shawn, Rachel W.

The barfing scene in Triangle of Sadness – Barbara


Best Musical Moment/Needle Drop

Let the music play!


The dance competition in After Yang – Dakota

The dance-off   in RRR– Courtney

Glass Onion” in Glass Onion – Jason

“Mona Lisa” in Glass Onion -Larry

If I Can Dream” in Elvis – Shawn

Love Is Not Love” in Bros – Pat

Grocery Store Dance to “New Body Rhumba” in White Noise – Marko

Under Pressure” in Aftersun – Rachel W.

Daydream Believer” in Women Talking – Barbara


Hidden Gem

Top ten lists often yield some predictable choices, but here are the films that may have been overlooked, under-appreciated, or lost amid the shuffle.


Call Jane – Larry

Cha Cha Real Smooth – Shawn

Nanny – Colin

Piggy – Marko

Please Baby Please – Courtney

Rebel – Jason

The Quiet Girl and The House – Rachel W.

Soft  – Pat

Something You Said Last Night – Barbara

Topology of Sirens – Dakota


Best Food on Film Moment


“One of everything from The Menu, please!” I’m sure that I’ve seen that breadless bread plate in Toronto restaurants for, like, $90.


Everything bagel in Everything Everywhere All at Once – Larry

The doomed “captain’s dinner” (pre-barf) in Triangle of Sadness – Barbara, Dakota

When young Steven Spielberg hides his brisket under his plate so he can go watch his first self-made movie in The Fabelmans – Marko

The cheeseburger made for Anya Taylor-Joy in The Menu – Colin, Courtney

The breadless bread plate in The Menu – Shawn

S’mores in The Menu – Pat

All of The Menu – Jason, Rachel W.


Elf We Gotta Shelf

Which talents and trends need to take a seat? It seems it is “too soon” for Will Smith to mount a comeback.


Damien Chazelle – Colin

Robert Eggers – Marko

Filmmakers using Black hardship to teach white characters valuable life lessons (Armageddon Time, Empire of Light) – Courtney

Soulless Netflix big budget spectacles – Dakota

Navel-gazing films about directors’ childhoods – Pat

The f*cking HFR in Avatar: The Way of Water – Larry

Will Smith – Barbara, Rachel W


Most anticipated film of 2023

Here comes Dune!


Barbie – Larry

Creed 3 – Dakota

Dune: Part II – Barbara, Colin, Pat

Fast X – Courtney

Killers of the Flower Moon – Marko

Oppenheimer – Rachel W.

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse – Shawn

…discovering a film I love that I don’t know it even exists yet. – Jason


Happy Holidays from That Shelf!