Despite the fact that both the pandemic and uncertainty around moviegoing continue, 2022 has already been a solid year for cinema. At the midway point, one obvious trend from our best-of list is the absence of big-budget tentpoles: The Batman and Downtown Abbey: A New Era weren’t quite well-received enough to warrant inclusion, and the less said about Jurassic World: Dominion, the better. Top Gun: Maverick, however, is more than just a commercial success story, so don’t give up on studio pictures just yet.
What instead dominates this list are indie distributors—thoughtful, modest fare with ambitious emotional reach. As far as scorecards go, it’s hard to beat A24: All five of the studio’s features released in 2022 are among The A.V. Club’s favorites. Read on for our chronological round-up of the best-reviewed films of the year so far.