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2022 Film Reviews

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Aftersun – “I think it’s nice that we share the same sky.”  

Aftersun is, in my opinion, the best film of 2022. This incredibly moving, emotionally taxing exploration of father/ daughter relationships is Charlotte Well’s directorial debut. Itis a film about memory, told through the perspective of the daughter (Sophie) as an adult, who reminisces about a holiday she went on with her father, reflecting on the complexities of their relationship.

Paul Mescal plays the role of the loving father suffering from deep parental guilt about his struggles to understand the burdens of fatherhood as a mentally ill young adult. Although his sense of inadequacy is poignant, Calum (the father) ultimately appears to be better at being a father than anything else. Frankie Corio plays the role of the slightly awkward teenage daughter who loves her father in an almost protective and highly sympathetic way. The chemistry and ease between the two actors introduces a sense of emotional depth.

Aftersun is beautifully subtle in its criticisms of a father clearly too young and immature to adopt the kind of strong and stable father figure that Sophie clearly desires. Her resentments, however, are clouded by her idealized image of him as well as a sense of sympathy and understanding for his own internal battles with depression, grief and heartbreak. Paul Mescal’s devastating portrayal of a father trying to strike the perfect balance of guardian and friend, failing to protect his daughter from his worries strikes a nerve with many. 

This is a truly profound and life-changing movie, that will leave you with a deep urge to self-reflect upon your own familial relations and experiences in childhood. It is for this reason that I believe Aftersun is the most impactful film of 2022. 

The Fablemans – “You can’t just love something. You also have to take care of it.” 

Watching this film is an experience that can be likened to listening to an elderly person spinning a talel of their youth. The Fablemans is an incredibly moving coming-of-age epic about a boy (Sammy) who attempts to reconcile the pain of growing up through his love of cinema. Steven Spielberg’s semi-biographical film is an incredibly personal account of self-discovery, self-actualization and the beautiful yet devastating realization that growing up changes you in a way that is painful and permanent.  

The film follows Sammy’s experiences of a dramatic, unpredictable childhood, constantly moving from place to place and having to care for his mentally unstable mother. The only constant in the film is Sammy’s love for filmmaking. He harnesses this passion as an emotional outlet, allowing him to develop his mesmerizing imagination. Perhaps the most appealing element of the film is its authenticity and honest portrayal of the struggles of adolescence. 

Despite the film having a long runtime, the compelling characters and beautiful imagery helps maintain interest and feelings of joy, nostalgia and hope. Overall, watching this film is a highly emotional experience that encapsulates what it feels like to grow up with a dream.

Banshees of Inisherin – “Some things there’s no moving on from. And I think that’s a good thing.” 

The Banshees of Inisherin is certainly unique in its quirky plot, stunning imagery and dazzling script. The weird and wonderful feature revolves around the dissolution of a friendship between ‘dull’ Pádraic and depressed, self-important Colm. The film perfectly balances both tragedy and comedy, maintaining an element of surprise throughout. 

The most striking and impressive part of the film is the script and the ability of the actors to deliver a performance worthy of its brilliance. Colin Farrell portrays a simple, ‘nice-guy’ townsman  whose best friend suddenly decides to cut him out of his life for the reason that Pádraic is too boring. Confused and heartbroken, Pádraic refuses to accept the reality of his situation and repeatedly attempts to rekindle what has burnt out, leading to some horrific consequences. The chemistry between Farrell and Gleeson is electric and inspires new levels of empathy, concern and distress. The script is witty and effortless in its attempts to explore family relations and friendship as both beautifully endearing yet psychotic and frightening. 

The Banshees of Inisherin is certainly one of the best films of the year, with its ability to keep the audience at the edge of their seats, curiously awaiting the next shocking event and ever contemplating whether the two characters will ever be able to come back from the string of betrayals and sins they have committed against each other.

Triangle of sadness – “Socialism works only in heaven where they don’t need it, and in hell where they already have it.”

This chaotic comedy / drama is delivered in three acts: the first is set in a fancy restaurant, the second a luxury yacht, the third a deserted island. Ruben Ostland leaves no room for calamity as the drama plagues the two main actors during their adventures. The blatant absurdity of the plot and shallow nature of the main characters emphasizes the toxic nature of capitalism and social hierarchy. 

To say the film is politically driven is an understatement. Essentially, it is a funny and clever satire in which the wealthy and the beautiful are the butt of the joke. Ostland voices these ideas through the Captain of the yacht, played by Woody Harrelson who, during a drunken outburst, takes control of the speakers and delivers a powerful, violent speech denouncing the rich and their lack of charity and sincerity. The fashion industry is another victim of Osltand’s critique, shown predominantly through the main characters who are both models. The idea of beauty as a currency and a significant aspect in setting the social hierarchy is an issue that is exploited as not only unjust but deeply harmful.

This film can only be described as a rollercoaster being entertaining, challenging, and funny. Ostland’s desire to direct a film in which conversation and discourse is encouraged is clearly fulfilled. It is a film which reminds you what the cinema was intended for and certainly does not take itself too seriously. 

Everything everywhere all at once – “The Universe is so much bigger than you realize” 

The title of this movie encapsulates exactly what is to come. This astonishingly creative masterpiece will inspire all kinds of emotional responses with the perfect balance of joy, sadness, fear and above all laughter. This movie is loaded with great performances and witty dialogue. 

Although there is an ongoing threat of anxiety and stress throughout the film, the underlying life lesson about believing in the power of oneself, encourages a real sense of hope. The technicality of the film is flawless, creating a wonderfully unique experience. It is a beautifully crafted, complicated visual feast which will only leave you hungry for more. It is both incredibly thought provoking and ineffable. 

The clever comedy of the film and the brilliance of the cast is reason enough to watch it. The absurdity that follows the characters will leave you in fits of laughter. Very rarely do films of this length keep the audience on their toes, but there never appears to be a dull moment for Evelyn Wang, with her overwhelmingly stressful life drawing her closer to the brink of exhaustion, she escapes into the multiverse allowing her to fulfill her potential as a powerful force. 

Overall, whether you enjoy science-fiction or not, this film is without a doubt worth the watch. It is the perfect opportunity to put away your phone and fully immerse yourself in the weird and wonderful world, expertly created by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert. It is truly an adventure like none other. 

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