What to Watch

Hidden Gems of 2022: 30 Films You Might Have Missed

From eye-opening documentaries to intimate dramas, we highlight the films that might have slipped beneath your radar this past year...

Let's face it: chances are that, despite your best efforts, some truly great movies slipped beneath your radar in 2022 – especially if they were confined to limited or digital releases only. Don't fret… we've rounded up a list of features you might have missed, all released in the UK throughout 2022, and all awarded at least four stars or higher by our team of contributors. To avoid repeating ourselves, none of the following were featured on our best of 2022 list, but all of them, from intimate documentaries to experimental dramas, are well worth your time. Best of all, they're now available across a number of streaming platforms…

 

A Bunch of Amateurs

Kim Hopkins' compelling, sensitive doc about the Bradford Movie Makers triumphs as a celebration of both community and cinephilia (get streaming options).

What we said: “What elevates the film beyond the loveable underdog outline is the smart and sensitive editing that pays close attention to the inner lives of its subjects (read our full review).”

 

Anaïs in Love

Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet delivers a warm and comedic exploration of feminine desire that feels like a breath of fresh air (get streaming options).

What we said: “This sharp, 93-minute film is not so much a linear romance as it is a portrait of chaotic, impulsive but ultimately fulfilling love (read our full review).”

 

Ascension

Jessica Kingdon's mesmeric documentary about capitalist China sets the benchmark for just how dispiriting a 2022 film can be (get streaming options).

What we said: “The result is a mesmeric experience, a fever dream of casual cruelty and unchecked waste that you won’t be able to get out of your mind, even if you’d quite like to (read our full review).”

 

Beast

A schlocky premise – what if there was a lion? – makes for unpretentious fun thanks to impressive directing and slick pacing (get streaming options).

What we said: “There's an impressive blend of craft and inventiveness on display to make the short runtime feel genuinely refreshing in an age of excessively plotted IP (read our full review).

 

Brian and Charles

David Earl and Chris Hayward write and star in this hilarious, poignant and very British tale of a man and his artificial best friend (get streaming options).

What we said: “The contrast between the absurdism of the premise and the compassion of the delivery firmly steadies the film in the safe territory between mawkishness and parody (read our full review).”

 

Clara Sola

Swedish-Costa Rican director Nathalie Álvarez Mesén brilliantly explores female desire and emancipation using non-professional actors (get streaming options).

What we said: “The film is abundant with luscious, moist sequences of handheld mystique, whose life force imbue every second of it with inarticulate longing (read our full review).

 

Cow

Andrea Arnold's latest protagonist may be a dairy cow called Luma, but she still affords her the dignity and rich inner life typical of her filmography (get streaming options).

What we said: “Arnold is not asking us to take up arms against farms, merely to look into Luma’s eyes and think about what we see there, all the while neatly fitting into her oeuvre of unsatisfied creatures performing unsatisfying labour (read our full review).”

 

Dark Glasses

Italian “Master of Horror” Dario Argento delivers a well-oiled, greatest hits-like giallo riff in his first feature film for more than a decade (get streaming options).

What we said: “For fellow degenerates simply looking for a master director capable of holding us rapt over every image and beat, Argento’s return reaffirms what made him great in the first place (read our full review).”

 

Dry Ground Burning

Adirley Queirós and Joana Pimenta's sisterly portrait makes for a surprisingly gentle but scorching look at the Sol Nascente favela (get streaming options).

What we said: Dry Ground Burning is laden with political sentiment, but also caring of its subjects and their raw intimacy: a surprisingly gentle look, free of all aestheticization (read our full review).”

 

Eleven Days in May

Michael Winterbottom's horrifying yet empathetic documentary shows us the true face of Israeli violence in its occupied territories (get streaming options).

What we said: “In a conflict that receives so much useless talk of both-sidesism, a film like this is absolutely vital, a blood-soaked reminder that, when all the speeches are done, Israel’s military is still indiscriminately slaughtering Palestine’s children (read our full review).

 

Emily the Criminal

John Patton Ford’s debut is a dark, unpredictable tale about a young woman's descent into lawlessness, powered by a brilliant lead turn (get streaming options).

What we said: “Aubrey Plaza delves even deeper into the darkness with this fervently intense crime-thriller, proof that she deserves every and any role she wants (read our full review).”

 

Ennio

Giuseppe Tornatore helms a loving, exhaustive look at his former collaborator Ennio Morricone, arguably cinema's greatest composer (get streaming options).

What we said: “The convincing case made by Ennio is that he set the standard for what we think of as film music today. On this evidence, it's hard to disagree (read our full review).”

 

Gangubai Kathiawadi

Alia Bhatt shines in a Bollywood based on truth tale of such pure cinematic spectacle that even the film's sizeable flaws seem to fall away (get streaming options).

What we said: “Compared to the green-screened, cinematically illiterate entertainments coming out of that other big filmmaking capital of the world, one watches this and wonders why it’s so difficult to just make a film look like a damn film (read our full review).”

 

Great Freedom

Sebastian Meise's study of systemic homophobia in post-war Germany is magnificently acted and strikingly composed (get streaming options).

What we said: “Here is a powerful and poignant historical drama that balances empathy and intelligence, the enormous and the intimate, in a way that, in plenty of other years, would land it as a worthy frontrunner for an Oscar (read our full review).”

 

Hive

In Blerta Basholli's moving portrait of Kosovan widows, a mother navigates her personal and professional life in the aftermath of war (get streaming options).

What we said: “A powerful and emotionally-charged debut that lingers well beyond the credits, Hive is the work of an exceptional storyteller (read our full review).”

In Front of Your Face

In his latest lo-fi effort, prolific Korean filmmaker Hong Sang-soo reflects on life and mortality in a refreshingly altruistic way (get streaming options).

What we said:In Front of Your Face is a small miracle of a film and, in a way, the same kind of prolonged confession, only made possible by distance and displacement (read our full review).”

 

Luzzu

This heartfelt ode to life on the water from writer-director Alex Camilleri is as stoic in its execution as it is observant (get streaming options).

What we said: “The expansive ocean, with its deep and dark unknown depths, provides the setting of Camilleri’s debut feature, just as the rhythm of the Maltese waves provides its heartbeat (read our full review).”

 

Nitram

Justin Kurzel's deeply upsetting film tackles the 1996 Port Arthur massacre with unimpeachable restraint and moral clarity (get streaming options).

What we said: “Pulled off with unimpeachable restraint and clarity of purpose without losing the visceral sense of disgust a story like this needs, a gripping and important reckoning with a national tragedy (read our full review).”

 

Midwives

Hnin Ei Hlaing's doc about two rural midwives in a sectarian region is fuelled by the undying energy of its remarkable heroines (get streaming options).

What we said: “It’s a genuinely touching story of carving out a safe space within the reality of chauvinism and patriarchy, fuelled by the undying energy of its heroines (read our full review).”

 

Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon

Ana Lily Amirpour's hypnotic third feature could be accused of style over substance, but it's so much fun you're unlikely to care (get streaming options).

What we said: “The film’s real breakout star comes from the diminutive Evan Whitten, acting with such assurance and range that he puts the adults around him to shame (read our full review).”

 

Murina

Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović's elegant, claustrophobic debut finds a father and his daughter vying for power on the Croatian coast (get streaming options).

What we said: “Kusijanović maintains a masterful knife-edge of ambiguity and tension for the film's entire runtime, using the oppressive blues of the sea to build towards an excoriating conclusion (read our full review).”

 

Official Competition

Mariano Cohn and Gaston Duprat mix big laughs with formal ambition for a comedy that loves and mocks its subjects equally (get streaming options).

What we said: “It’s very rare to see a comedy that looks and sounds as good as this one does, beautifully composed frames full of colour and interesting geometry that you feel yourself getting lost in (read our full review).”

 

Paris, 13th District

Beautiful monochrome photography brings the tower blocks of Les Olympiades to life in this clever, laid-back look at millennial dating (get streaming options).

What we said: “This is an often serious auteur really cutting loose with a louche, horny hangout movie that is, in the best possible way, painfully and unapologetically French (read our full review).

 

Petrov's Flu

Kirill Serebrennikov's nightmarish black comedy about a man plagued with an unshakeable fever is one of the year’s best surprises (get streaming options).

What we said: “There’s something instinctual and musical to Serebrennikov’s vision of post-communist sociological collapse, a surreal and dizzying trip down a series of nightmarish avenues (read our full review).

 

Prayers for the Stolen

Tatiana Huezo's accomplished debut feature moves slowly but uses its time to expertly draw a rural community paralysed by fear (get streaming options).

What we said: Prayers for the Stolen is undeniably slow, bordering on glacial at times, but it uses this time wisely, getting into the frightened and frustrated minds of young girls in a community that is often just resignedly waiting to lose them (read our full review).”

 

Something in the Dirt

Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead's latest follows two LA slackers as they set out to chronicle the strange-goings in their building (get streaming options).

What we said: “Two guys, horsing around in their apartment with sci-fi, horror, or whatever takes their fancy: a good vibe, in other words (read our full review).”

 

The Tale of King Crab

Taking their cues from Herzog, Alessio Rigo de Righi and Matteo Zoppis deliver a spectacular tale about an ill-fated treasure hunt (get streaming options).

What we said: “Nothing in The Tale of King Crab ever quite resolves, and that’s key to the film’s unique charm. This is a spectacular fiction debut that ruminates long in the mind (read our full review).”

 

Theo and the Metamorphosis

Director Damien Odoul builds a playground for star Theo Kermel in an experimental film that is by turns sweet, surreal and disturbing (get streaming options).

What we said: “There’s a sense of impish, chaotic playfulness throughout that’s a complete about-face from the restrained sterility that is the domain of most films targeted at the arthouse market these days (read our full review).”

 

The Quiet Girl

Colm Bairean's small, gentle story of a magical childhood summer is a warm hug of a film laced with just the right amount of drama (get streaming options).

What we said: “Bairead has marked himself as a major talent to watch, bringing a slight story to genuinely cinematic life, and providing us with probably hugs you’ll see in any movie this year (read our full review).”

 

What Do We See When We Look at the Sky?

Alexandre Koberidze’s remarkable second feature depicts a lyrically sublime romance between a pharmacist and a footballer (get streaming options).

What we said: “The result is an eternally charming and magnifying folktale that embraces the impossible coincidences of life (read our full review).”

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Reviews

Girl review – Glasgow-set mother-daughter story is classy and ambitious

This sombre and surprisingly stylish debut from British filmmaker Adura Onashile skilfully explores notions of family and seperation

Cat Person review – adds nothing meaningful to the feminist film canon

Emilia Jones and Nicholas Braun headline an adaptation of the acclaimed short story that can't help but feel dated in its message

The Lair review – ropey but hilariously gory B-movie

British filmmaker Neil Marshall's latest yarn is on the cheap side but reaffirms his status as a capable peddler of schlocky action

Eileen review – sapphic drama is equal parts seductive and reductive

Anne Hathaway stars in an uneven take on Ottessa Moshfegh’s novel that swaps soft-centred lust for a clumsy criminal affair