List

2022 Staff Picks: Movies

By Skokie Staff Advisory Services

Our expert staff members look back at the year and share their favorite titles.

  • Everything Everywhere All at Once

    2022

    We love this multilayered sci-fi comedy action movie that ingeniously plays with time but also conveys complex family dynamics. It’s endearing, hilarious (especially the pop culture references), thrilling, wild, and irreverent, while still being important. It is a must-see movie! Suggested by Chris, Jade, Rummanah, Sharon, and Susanne.

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  • After Yang

    2022

    We really enjoyed this mellow, contemplative sci-fi drama about a family’s android companion named Yang who suddenly stops working, and the father's efforts to find the right part to fix him. Indeed, in his sophomore film, director Kogonada is more concerned with the humanistic questions than with special effects, and you might be surprised by the emotional depth this movie holds. Suggested by Chris, Jade, Rummanah, and Sharon.

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  • Summer of Soul

    2022

    The 2022 Oscar winner for Best Documentary Feature, this film examines the long-forgotten 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival that ran for six weekends, with legendary musical artists and a huge attendance. Working with 40 hours of footage, first-time director Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson does an awesome job selecting performances, conducting interviews, and using archival news/TV clips and headlines. We love how this documentary celebrates Black joy, history, culture, and fashion while also providing musical healing during a tumultuous time. Suggested by Chris, Rummanah, and Sharon.

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  • Flee

    2022

    Amin (a pseudonym) reveals a hidden past about himself and his family, when they fled the war in Afghanistan in the 1990s. This earned three Oscar nominations: Best Animated Feature, Best Documentary, and Best International Feature Film. We loved how it mixes animation and archival footage to tell a beautiful, at times heartbreaking, story of compassion, courage, and creativity. Suggested by Chris, Rummanah, and Sharon.

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  • The Lost City

    2022

    We had a blast watching this action comedy. Spoofing action films (especially Romancing the Stone) and romance novels worked really well in the plot. Plus, there’s the great on-screen chemistry between Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum. Suggested by Lynnanne, Rummanah, and Sharon.

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  • The Bad Guys

    2022

    I love this cute movie about friendship and acceptance. The characters are lovable and humorous, which makes it a great family movie. Suggested by Michelle.

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  • Till

    2023

    A powerful historical drama from filmmaker Chinonye Chukwu, told through the lens of Emmett Till’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, who became an educator and a prominent activist in the Civil Rights Movement. Danielle Deadwyler in the lead role should get an Oscar nomination. Suggested by Sharon.

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  • Happening

    2022

    Based on a 1963 novella by the Nobel Prize-winning French author Annie Ernaux, this beautifully crafted, acted, and fiercely pro-choice film makes no apologies for the story it wants to tell. I found it sometimes difficult to watch, as the camera determinedly stares straight on as the film’s 23-year-old protagonist, Anne, desperately, brutally, tries to find options to abort her unwanted pregnancy. Suggested by Chris.

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  • Elvis

    2022

    I really enjoyed every minute of this film, and I think Austin Butler's performance of Elvis was outstanding. He imitated Elvis, specifically his body movements, voice, and mannerisms, incredibly well. Suggested by Tonya.

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  • The Batman

    2022

    I loved how Matt Reeves leaned into the detective side of Batman in this film. It's dark and gritty and I couldn't help but think that The Batman is a close competitor to Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight. Suggested by Paul.

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  • Writing with Fire

    2022

    This Oscar-nominated documentary focuses on the only independent newspaper in India run entirely by female journalists. These women from marginalized communities, finding their own voice and lifting themselves and each other up, courageously reported issues the mainstream did not, speaking truth to power. Suggested by Rummanah and Sharon.

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  • Bergman Island

    2023

    I loved this sly and enigmatic film by the French filmmaker Mia Hanson-Love, which has a lot more going on than first meets the eye. It’s simultaneously a homage to Ingmar Bergman, a satisfying film within a film, and likely a winking autobiographical story with more than a few layers of fiction thrown in for good measure. Suggested by Chris.

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  • Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

    2022

    In the 1950s, a widowed London housekeeper falls in love with a Christian Dior gown and follows her dream to purchase a couture dress from the House of Dior. She is almost turned away on the spot; however, her optimistic, down-to-earth personality inspires everyone she meets and leads to some unexpected outcomes. We smiled the entire time while watching this charming, heartwarming, and uplifting movie. Suggested by Sharon and Rummanah.

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  • Pearl

    2022

    Mia Goth gave a great performance and I'm excited to see her at the end of the trilogy in MaXXXine. Suggested by Jade.

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  • Turning Red

    2022

    We’re thrilled that Pixar is moving toward more diverse stories. Animator/director/screenwriter Domee Shi, working with a women-led filmmaking team, perfectly captures the rollercoaster ride that is puberty with humor, candidness, and compassion. Suggested by Rummanah and Sharon.

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  • DC League of Super-Pets

    2022

    I love all movies involving talking pets, and this movie didn't disappoint. Add in a few superheroes and the comedy duo of Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson, and you have a fantastic family movie. Suggested by Michelle.

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  • Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom

    2022

    In perhaps the best movie title of the year, using mostly nonprofessional actors, Bhutanese director Pawo Choyning Dorji crafted a gentle, life-affirming, beautifully lensed fable about an unmotivated teacher who is sent to the most remote school in the country to fulfill his last year of mandatory government service. Over time, he finds purpose, connection, and community. Suggested by Sharon.

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  • The Worst Person in the World

    2022

    Actress Renate Reinsve, who won the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actress, is a force to be reckoned with in this inventive, Oslo-smitten comedy about a young woman who is fiercely committed to her independence, even if she’s not entirely sure where it will lead her. I found the bittersweet joy and pleasure of this film is watching her try, fail, and try again to discover where she belongs. Suggested by Chris.

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  • The Woman King

    2022

    Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love & Basketball and The Old Guard) directs the heck out of this women-led historical fiction movie about the Agojie, an all-female military unit in the 1820a that guarded the West African kingdom of Dahomey. The incomparable Viola Davis transformed herself to become General Nanisca, and her co-leads Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch, and Sheila Atim all deserve much acclaim. Suggested by Sharon.

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  • Language Lessons

    2021

    I discovered this under-the-radar gem after listening to a film podcast. It is a bittersweet dramedy about two very different people in different parts of the world coming together. I really enjoyed its unique form of storytelling by almost exclusively using video chats, and the chemistry between Mark Duplass and Natalie Morales is excellent. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • Wildhood

    2022

    I’m truly delighted by this beautifully told road trip story. It follows teenager Link as he runs away from his abusive white father, taking his younger half-brother with him to find his Mi'kmaw mother, about whom he was lied to for several years. Along the way, Link reconnects with his Mi'kmaq heritage, explores his two-spirit identity, and meets a potential romantic interest. Suggested by Sharon.

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  • Mr. Malcolm's List

    2022

    It’s a PG-rated Bridgerton and Jane Austen novel rolled into a rom-com period piece with modern sensibilities. Suggested by Sharon.

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  • Encanto

    2022

    We were captivated by this animated film that is infused with magical realism, Colombian culture, charming visuals, toe tapping music by Lin-Manuel Miranda, and a predominantly Latinix voice cast. We also liked how the story has no villain to defeat, but rather a family whose bonds need mending. This won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film. Suggested by Rummanah and Sharon.

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  • Beans

    2022

    Tracey Deer lived through the 1990 Oka Crisis (a land dispute between the Mohawk communities and the town Oka, Quebec, Canada) when she was 12 years old and already knew that someday she would tell her story based on those events. It’s one of the best independent movies of recent years, as we see a young girl experience for the first time the ugliness of bigotry and more, and then decide how she’ll become her own type of activist. Suggested by Sharon.

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  • Sound of Metal

    2022

    I was absolutely thrilled to find out that Criterion would release The Sound of Metal on DVD. I loved Riz Ahmed's tour de force performance as Ruben and his journey of understanding that being deaf is not a handicap and that deafness isn't something to fix. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • My Donkey, My Lover & I

    2022

    The title kind of says it all, and I couldn’t stop chuckling. A schoolteacher who is having an affair with the father of one of her pupils makes hasty plans to follow his family on a week-long hike through the Cévennes National Park. Of course there’s a lot wrong with that vacation scenario, and Patrick, her often opinionated donkey, steps in as a sort of therapist. Suggested by Sharon.

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  • Spider-Man: No Way Home

    2022

    Out of all of the Marvels films released on DVD as of this moment, this is my favorite. The screenplay is strong as it weaves emotional depth into the story without losing its breakneck pace, and the action sequences are fun and jaw dropping. I also enjoyed how it brought the other Spider-Man films together too. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • The Rose Maker

    2022

    This comedic tale about a small family-owned rose farm on the verge of bankruptcy versus a corporate competitor is a sweet success. Sure the plot is a bit familiar, but it doesn’t make it any less enjoyable, especially with veteran French actor Catherine Frot leading the cast. Plus, you’ll get some useful rose growing tips. Suggested by Sharon.

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  • The Power of the Dog

    2022

    I generally do not like western movies, but I was drawn to Campion's subversion of the genre and questioning what it means to be "a man." The cinematography is breathtaking and the performances by the fabulous cast are truly electrifying. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • Belle

    2022

    The animation is stunning, the story is creative and engaging, and the relationships are very intriguing, including two characters who are mysteriously drawn together. This one invites multiple viewings. Suggested by Sharon.

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  • Dog

    2022

    Channing Tatum co-directs (his directorial debut) and stars in this road trip movie about a military dog named Lulu, whose history of aggressive behavior makes her a liability, and Jackson Briggsm a U.S. Army Ranger who’s suffering from PTSD and tasked with taking Lulu to the funeral of his former partner/Lulu’s handler. I was sold at Channing Tatum with a dog, no matter. But this exceeded my expectations, because it’s also a touching story about loss, recovery, and friendship. Suggested by Sharon.

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  • Uncharted

    2022

    I enjoyed this action adventure movie, though I never played the video game that it is based on. I liked the camaraderie between Mark Wahlberg's and Tom Holland's characters, and I thought the movie was a great mixture of fast-paced action adventure a la Indiana Jones. It would make a great family night movie watch. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • Josee, the Tiger and the Fish

    2022

    An under-the-radar anime that has you feel all the feels. Josee has had a condition from birth which made her a paraplegic, and Tsuneo, a marine biology student struggling to earn money, becomes Josee’s temporary attendant despite her objections. As their relationship evolves, they help one another to achieve their dreams. Suggested by Sharon.

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  • Breaking Fast

    2021

    I love this multilayered indie, queer rom-com that made me think and left me feeling happy and hopeful. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • C'mon C'mon

    2022

    I have really enjoyed the previous films of Mike Mills, and this one is no exception. The story simply conveys so much about our discussion of mental health, sibling relationships, and really about humanity. I really wished this got more attention and love at the Oscars. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • Vivo

    2022

    Another movie for your family viewing list, it’s an animated musical comedy with awfully cute characters. The lively songs are written by the multitalented Lin-Manuel Miranda, who also voices Vivo, a kinkajou who goes on an epic journey to deliver a love song. Along the way he meets Gabi (voiced by newcomer Ynairaly Simo), and she becomes his new friend, always ready for adventure. Suggested by Sharon.

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  • India Sweets and Spices

    2022

    I enjoyed this indie dramedy that focuses on the complexities of family dynamics, adhering to social expectations, and being true to yourself. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • Official Competition

    2022

    It’s a treat to see Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas teaming up with Argentine actor Oscar Martinez in this biting comedy set in the world of moviemaking, wealth, rivalry, and celebrity ego. There’s so much to laugh at here, aside from Cruz’s fascinating hairstyle. Suggested by Sharon.

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  • Mass

    2022

    While this is an intense drama, its subject has unfortunately become our reality. I was really moved by the performances and really appreciated that it handled the heavy themes with humanity without pointing fingers. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • Parallel Mothers

    2022

    From legendary Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar, this melodrama centers on two women who give birth to daughters on the same day in the same hospital. You might think you know where this is going--yet perhaps not. Almodovar masterfully structures a subplot about the horrors of the Franco regime, and these themes come together in a very impactful way. Suggested by Chris and Sharon.

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  • MLK/FBI

    2022

    I thought this was an eye-opening and truly fantastic documentary, which exposes and explains the depth of FBI surveillance of Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, while also profiling Dr. King's own life and struggles. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • Attica

    2022

    Co-directors Stanley Nelson and Traci Curry delve into the history and circumstances of the 1971 prison uprising at the Attica Correctional Facility. Via interviews from several involved and archival/news footage, they deliver a very powerful and jarring narrative of events that ties directly to existing injustices in the criminal justice system 50 years later. Suggested by Sharon.

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  • Neptune Frost

    2022

    This wonderfully engaging, fluorescent work of musical sci-fi Afrofuturism has the viewer leaning into the screen and falling through the multiverse. We loved it for all its beautiful weirdness and, to quote co-director Saul Williams, its “celebration of Black ingenuity.” Suggested by Chris and Sharon.

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  • Top Gun: Maverick

    2022

    The breathtaking aerial shots alone make this long-awaited sequel a worthy watch. Plus, Tom Cruise knows exactly how to deliver on action. It’s the best popcorn movie of the year. Suggested by Sharon.

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  • I'm Your Man

    2021

    A sci-fi romance about a robot named Tom (played by Dan Stevens) who's been programmed to be the ideal partner for Alma, an archaeologist tasked with evaluating Tom for a committee that’s determining whether or not robots should be granted any human rights. Filmmaker Maria Schrader (Unorthodox and She Said) gets high marks for this gentle, thoughtful movie, as do her two leads, perfectly cast. Suggested by Rummanah and Sharon.

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  • Carmen

    2022

    Inspired by true events, set in Malta in the 1980s. Following tradition, Carmen worked as the unpaid caregiver for her older brother, the local priest, since she was 16. When he dies suddenly Carmen must leave the rectory, but what are her options at age 50? I was all in for this journey toward happiness, discovery, and agency, with a touch of magic realism and a glowing performance from Natascha McElhone, crafted by Maltese Canadian filmmaker Valerie Buhagiar. Suggested by Sharon.

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  • Tar

    2023

    A precise, prickly work of unraveling, Field's latest film was, upon first watching, something I admired more than loved. But over the weeks since I viewed it, I couldn't stop thinking about it and feeling something like awe: about Cate Blanchett's performance (imposing, sharp, unforgiving), about its Kubrickian coolness, about its commitment to neutrality, about the unnerving ending. A fierce, tricky masterpiece. Suggested by Chris.

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  • Casablanca Beats

    2022

    A musical drama that blurs the borders of reality and fiction. Anas, a former rapper who teaches a hip hop class at a cultural arts center for underprivileged kids, encourages the students to speak up, raise their voices and define their future. It was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival and was the Moroccan entry for Best International Feature Film for the Academy Awards. It has an awesome soundtrack and fantastic performances. Suggested by Sharon.

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