The 50 best movies of 2022 in the US – 50 to 31 | Culture

This list is compiled by the Guardian film team, with all films released in the US during 2022 in contention. Check in every weekday to see our next picks, and please share your own favourite films of 2022 in the comments below.

50

Bros

Billy Eichner’s ribald romcom, produced by Judd Apatow, saw two gay men struggling with commitment and heteronormative expectations and was heralded as being a groundbreaking queer first within the straight and strait-laced studio system. But, stake-claiming aside, it is also genuinely funny and insightful. Read the full review

49

Rich and emotionally persuasive … Broker. Photograph: Zip/CJ ENM

Broker

Hirokazu Kore-eda enlisted Parasite’s Song Kang-ho for a rich and emotionally persuasive drama about two friends stealing babies from outside a church and selling them on the adoption parallel market. Read the full review

48

Top Gun: Maverick

Tom Cruise returns almost four decades on for another bout of speed and need: this time he is the mentor to a new generation of navy fighter pilots, led by Miles Teller, playing the son of Maverick’s late wingman, Goose. Read the full review

47

Paris, 13th District

The latest film from Rust and Bone director Jacques Audiard, here putting together a short story collection of sexual encounters and relationships in Paris’ 13th arrondissement, shot in tough black-and-white. Read the full review

46

Grisly … Holy Spider.
Grisly … Holy Spider

Holy Spider

Border director Ali Abbasi returned to the Cannes film festival this year with a shocking act of provocation. A grisly thriller loosely based on the true story of a serial killer targeting women in Mashhad, it caused controversy in Iran but won Zar Amir Ebrahimi the lead actress prize at the festival. Read the full review

45

Happening

Golden Lion-winning abortion drama, more relevant than ever, from director Audrey Diwan; a study of a woman (played by Anamaria Vartolomei) who becomes pregnant in early 60s, pre-legalisation France. Read the full review

44

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Entertaining second dose of Rian Johnson’s labyrinthine crime mystery, with Daniel Craig on good form as Hercule Poirot-esque detective Benoit Blanc, here investigating a murder-themed party that turns deadly. Read the full review

43

Vortex

Descent into dementia … Gasper Noé’s Vortex.
Descent into dementia … Gasper Noé’s Vortex

Split-screen dementia drama from Argentine provocateur Gaspar Noé, starring Dario Argento and Françoise Lebrun as an elderly couple whose lives are dogged by the latter’s cognitive decline. Read the full review

42

The Woman King

Stirring period epic, starring Viola Davis as the leader of the Agojie, a brigade of female warriors in west Africa, who are attempting to see off threats from the Oyo empire as well as from slave-buying colonialists. Read the full review

41

Brian and Charles

David Earl and Chris Hayward’s story of an inventor’s relationship with his creation blends Caractacus Potts with Victor Frankenstein to heartwarming effect. Read the full review

40

We (Nous)

Loose and freewheeling … We (Nous).
Loose and freewheeling … We (Nous). Photograph: © Sarah Blum

French-Senegalese film-maker Alice Diop offers a sensitive portrayal of the disparate communities that live along one of Paris’s commuter rail lines – predating her acclaimed fiction feature debut Saint Omer. Read the full review

39

The Eternal Daughter

Joanna Hogg reunites with Tilda Swinton for an unusual ghost story which sees the actor playing dual roles in a moving and thought-provoking drama that exists within the same universe as her acclaimed autobiographical Souvenir films. Read the full review

38

Everything Went Fine

André Dussollier and Sophie Marceau are outstanding as a father and daughter whose tricky relationship is upended when he asks for her help to die, in François Ozon’s wonderfully observed story. Read the full review

37

Benediction

Terence Davies’ account of the life of Siegfried Sassoon (played by Jack Lowden and Peter Capaldi in younger/older versions), tracing his career from lionised war poet to unhappy later life. Read the full review

On the way to war … Benediction.
Melancholy study … Sassoon biopic Benediction. Photograph: Photo Credit: Laurence Cendrowicz/Courtesy of Vertigo Releasing

36

Small Body

Mysterious fable from Italian director Laura Samani, about a woman desperate to revive her stillborn baby who heads off on a quest to find the church that may be able to accomplish it. Read the full review

35

Great Freedom

Intriguing German drama about a former concentration camp inmate imprisoned after the second world war for gay sex acts, and who develops a complex relationship with his straight cellmate. Read the full review

34

All Quiet on the Western Front

All Quiet on the Western Front.
‘Never fails to do justice to its subject’ … All Quiet on the Western Front. Photograph: Netflix undefined

Anti-war nightmare of bloodshed and chaos where teenage boys quickly find themselves caught up in the ordeal of trench warfare, in a German-language adaptation of the first world war novel. Read the full review

33

Lingui, the Sacred Bonds

Chadian auteur Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s quiet fable, about a woman torn between social proprieties and respecting her daughter’s decision to get an abortion. Read the full review

32

All That Breathes

Two Indian brothers dedicate themselves to rescuing birds that are being poisoned by pollution in this complex and quietly beautiful film. Read the full review

31

Corsage

Vicky Krieps puts in a star turn as lonely, patronised Elisabeth of Austria in Marie Kreutzer’s austere drama that functions as a cry of anger from the pedestal-prison of an empress. Read the full review

30

Crimes of the Future

As he did with 90s hit Crash, David Cronenberg’s horror sensation creates a bizarre new society of sicko sybarites where pain is the ultimate pleasure and “surgery is the new sex”. Read the full review

29

Cow

Cow
Unflinching … Cow

American Honey director Andrea Arnold delivers a meaty slice of bovine socio-realism, detailing the life of dairy cows with unflinching and empathic precision. Read the full review

28

No Bears

Complex metafiction of fear in which jailed director Jafar Panahi plays a version of himself, forced to shoot his new film in a town near the border with Turkey. Read the full review

27

White Noise

Don DeLillo’s novel of campus larks and eco dread gets an elegant, droll film treatment from Noah Baumbach, starring Adam Driver and Greta Gerwig. Read the full review

26

Fire of Love

Katia and Maurice Krafft in Fire of Love.
Dream lava … Katia and Maurice Krafft in Fire of Love. Photograph: Image’Est

Romantic portrait of passionate, doomed volcanologists embraces the mythology around Maurice and Katia Krafft, the scientists who died in the 1991 Mount Unzen disaster. Read the full review

25

Descendant

Powerful documentary on the legacy of slavery showing how an illegal slave ship led to the creation of an Alabama community of inherited trauma but also defiance. Read the full review

24

Nitram

Deeply disturbing drama about mass killer Martin Bryant that shies away from depicting the Port Arthur massacre itself – but outstanding performances mean it’s still a highly unsettling story. Read the full review

23

The Innocents

Creepy-kid horror from Norwegian director Eskil Vogt (co-writer of The Worst Person in the World), about two young sisters who make friends with other children who apparently possess supernatural powers. Read the full review

22

The Northman

Alexander Skarsgard and Anya Taylor-Joy in The Northman.
Norse stars … Alexander Skarsgard and Anya Taylor-Joy in The Northman. Photograph: Focus Features/Aidan Monaghan/Allstar

Brutal Viking saga based on the same legend as Shakespeare’s Hamlet, with Alexander Skarsgård as the chieftain’s son out for vengeance on the man who murdered his father and took his throne. Read the full review

21

Official Competition

Penélope Cruz is on fire in a delicious movie-industry satire in which she plays an eccentric director using unorthodox techniques to manage lead actors – and polar opposites – Antonio Banderas and Oscar Martínez. Read the full review

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