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    The best movies to come out of 2022

    2022 brought us a myriad of excellent films to watch, but there were 10 that stood out.
    Image supplied
    Image supplied

    The Fabelmans

    Nostalgia and the tender reminiscences of childhood dreams have never been as brittle as in Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans, a masterful cinematic memory of the forces, and family, that shaped the filmmaker’s life and career.

    An exploration of love, artistic ambition, sacrifice, and the moments of discovery that allow us to see the truth about ourselves, and our parents, with clarity and compassion.

    Spielberg gives us another kind of fable about kids in mid-century America struggling to find their place in the world, a coming-of-age saga drawn from his childhood that tells the origin story of his filmmaking life.

    The Fabelmans is unquestionably a portrait of Spielberg, the artist, as a young man, and an attempt to thoughtfully memorialize his parents, with gratitude for their virtues and forgiveness for their frailties and the same humanistic grace that marks all his films.

    Yet while every scene is grounded in some event from his childhood, the story is steeped in Spielberg and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner’s respective backgrounds and shared intellectual interests and moral concerns

    All Quiet on the Western Front

    With All Quiet on the Western Front, German director Edward Berger has adapted the famous 1929 novel of the same name by German solider and journalist Erich Maria Remarque, bringing to the screen the harrowing experiences of the German army fighting on the frontlines in World War I.

    It tells the story of a time period when mankind was getting to know the kind of destruction it was capable of doing. It tells the story of the infamous Armistice of Compiegne, where the Germans surrendered (unofficially) to the French in the year 1918.

    But All Quiet on the Western Front is not about war. It is not about patriotism. It is about the realization that a soldier goes through while he stands on the frontline and faces the bullets of the enemy forces.

    Blonde

    Blonde boldly reimagines the life of one of Hollywood’s most enduring icons, Marilyn Monroe, exploring the split between her public and private selves.

    Written and directed by Andrew Dominik, Ana de Armas delivers a chilling, powerhouse performance – Dominik invades Monroe’s Psyche through de Armas’ performance.

    “I saw a story to tell about how a traumatic childhood origin becomes the lens through which the adult sees their life, says Dominik. “It tells the story of how childhood trauma shapes an adult who’s split between a public and a private self. It’s basically the story of every human being.”

    My Policeman

    Adapted from Bethan Roberts’ 2012 novel, which was inspired by the real-life 40-year affair between author E.M. Forster and policeman Bob Buckingham, My Policeman is directed by Michael Grandage from a screenplay crafted by Ron Nyswaner.

    A visually transporting, heart-stopping portrait of three people caught up in the shifting tides of history, liberty, and forgiveness, this masterfully crafted story of forbidden love and changing social conventions follows three young people—policeman Tom (Harry Styles), teacher Marion (Emma Corrin), and museum curator Patrick (David Dawson)—as they embark on an emotional journey, finding themselves entangled in a love triangle, as Patrick and Tom’s secret love affair clashes with the closeted policeman’s commitment to Marion.

    Good Luck To You, Leo Grande

    In Good Luck To You, Leo Grande, Nancy Stokes, a retired school teacher and widow (Emma Thompson), is yearning for some adventure, some human connection, and some sex. Good sex.

    Whilst her husband Robert provided a home, a family, and something resembling a life, good sex was never on offer. But he’s gone now, and Nancy has a plan: she will find adventure with a sex worker named Leo Grande (Daryl McCormack).

    In an anonymous hotel room, Nancy greets Leo. He looks every bit as good as his picture, but what Nancy wasn’t expecting was conversation as well as fornication. Director Sophie Hyde spent a lot of time working with writer Katy Brand on the script of Good Luck To You, Leo Grande before it approached a final draft, giving the thoughtfulness and care needed to balance a story with powerful themes relating to human intimacy.

    Triangle of Sadness

    Swedish writer-director Ruben Östlund’s Triangle of Sadness is an uninhibited satire where roles and class are inverted and the tawdry economic value of beauty is unveiled.

    In the film, models Carl (Harris Dickinson) and Yaya (Charlbi Dean) are navigating the world of fashion while exploring the boundaries of their relationship. The couple is invited for a luxury cruise with a rogues’ gallery of super-rich passengers, a Russian oligarch, British arms dealers and an idiosyncratic, alcoholic, Marx-quoting captain. At first, all appears Instagrammable.

    But a storm is brewing, and heavy seasickness hits the passengers during the seven-course captain’s dinner. The cruise ends catastrophically.

    Belfast

    Belfast is a movie straight from writer-director Kenneth Branagh’s own experience. A humorous, tender and intensely personal story of one boy’s childhood during the tumult of the late 1960s in the city of Branagh’s birth.

    “There is a certain spirit and a vitality in Belfast that I hope is reflected in the film, along with a very life-affirming humour. I hope people feel the joy and sometimes the sorrows of the city and what happens to the family and that they both recognise it and sympathise with it and understand, by looking at the reflections of other lives, to feel that we are not alone. If that’s what people get from the film, I would be thrilled,” Branagh said.

    C’mon C’mon

    When writer-director Mike Mills had a child in 2014 it was, for him, an instantly disorienting, then slowly revealing, transition. Mills knew he wanted to explore what was happening.

    But, in his typical way, his screenplay for C’mon C’mon became a kind of cinematic auto-fiction: a candid, highly subjective self-accounting, one that takes place inside an imagined family and pulls from myriad influences around him—the movies, music, books, and people that inspire him, as well as the rhythms and textures of the culture we all live in right now.

    The film is an ode to the relationship between adults and children. It’s the story of a middle-aged man learning how to take care of a kid for the first time, set against a panorama of twenty-first-century American cities and issues. It’s a story of an adult learning how to treat a child’s needs, worries, and joys with full respect; learning that they are different but not less than adults.

    The Menu

    In satirical thriller The Menu, a couple, Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy) and Tyler (Nicholas Hoult), travel to a coastal island in the Pacific Northwest to eat at an exclusive restaurant, Hawthorn, where the reclusive, globally celebrated Chef Julian Slowik (Ralph Fiennes) has prepared a lavish tasting menu for select special guests.

    The evening unfolds with increasing tension at each of the guest tables as secrets are revealed and unexpected courses are served. With wild and violent events occurring, Slowik’s motivation begins to rattle the diners as it becomes increasingly apparent that his elaborate menu is designed to catalyze a shocking finale.

    “We wanted to be really careful in skewering the industry and walked this tightrope, poking at it while remaining deeply respectful of the artform and the humans who are involved,” says director Mark Mylod, who is also well-known as a television director for Emmy Award-winning series like Game of Thrones.

    Redeeming Love

    Retelling the biblical story of Hosea, Redeeming Love centres on the unlikely relationship of Sarah, who becomes known as Angel (Abigail Cowen), and Michael Hosea (Tom Lewis).

    Sold into prostitution as a child, the now 18-year-old is a beautiful and in-demand woman in a rough-and-tumble prospecting town in California. Michael, on the other hand, is a farmer and man of faith.

    Through their relationship, Angel discovers there is no brokenness that love can’t heal. D.J. Caruso revised it and stays true to Francine Rivers’ portrait of pain, unconditional love, failure, forgiveness and, ultimately, the power of God to heal.

    Read more about the Top Films of 2022 here.

    About Daniel Dercksen

    Daniel Dercksen has been a contributor for Lifestyle since 2012. As the driving force behind the successful independent training initiative The Writing Studio and a published film and theatre journalist of 40 years, teaching workshops in creative writing, playwriting and screenwriting throughout South Africa and internationally the past 22 years. Visit www.writingstudio.co.za
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