While the future of movie theaters remains in constant flux, streaming originals continue to thrive. 2022 was an especially good year. Every major streamer, from Netflix to Hulu to HBO Max, had some real gems. But what were the best streaming movies of 2022?
So, get streaming and see which of the year’s best titles you missed, in no particular order.
The best streaming movies of 2022
Kimi (HBO Max)
Soon after COVID-19 lockdowns, a Seattle tech worker with agoraphobia thinks she may have witnessed a violent crime on a voice recording from one of the personal assistants she monitors. With no one taking her seriously, she has to face her fears and venture outside. But the more she digs, the closer she gets to a dangerous conspiracy.
Blending elements of Alfred Hitchcock and dystopian sci-fi, director Steven Soderbergh brings his indie spirit to this techno-thriller, with Zoë Kravitz delivering a career-best performance in the main role.
HBO Max is your home for Warner Bros-made movies and TV shows like The Lord of the Rings, the DC Comics superheroes, and more. It’s also the home for new and original movies and shows available nowhere else.
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (Netflix)
Academy Award-winning filmmaker Guillermo del Toro brings his unique vision to the classic story of Pinocchio, resetting it in Fascism Italy. The story of a wooden child separated from his father focuses less on Pinocchio’s quest to become a real boy and more on him finding his place in the world as he is.
Pinocchio isn’t just one of the best streaming movies of 2022. It’s probably in the top five movies of the year, in any format. Del Toro doesn’t shy away from dark themes, exploring mortality and grief in an unflinching yet sensitive way. It’s a unique film, though sure to appeal to fans of del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth and stop-motion animation classics like The Nightmare Before Christmas and Coraline.
Netflix is still the leading premium streaming service, with over 200 million worldwide subscribers. It offers thousands of movies and TV shows to binge watch, including its always growing list of original films and series, including Stranger Things, The Witcher, Bridgerton, and many more.
Causeway (Apple TV Plus)
In Causeway, a U.S. soldier who suffers a head injury while on duty overseas is sent back stateside to recover. Back in her hometown of New Orleans, she finds temporary work while facing her difficult family history and forging new relationships, all while coping with the uncertainty of redeployment.
Jennifer Lawrence has been making a return to acting after a brief pause, and Causeway is a terrific reminder of the skills that earned her an Oscar in 2013. With Apple taking home last year’s best picture Oscar, Causeway may be the streamer’s strongest chance at winning two years in a row. The film is a stripped-down character study of a woman struggling to find purpose when she loses what she thought defined her. It’s a smart and moving drama.
Apple TV Plus
Apple TV Plus has quickly become a major player in the streaming game since its launch in 2019. Its slate of original programming includes shows like Ted Lasso, The Morning Show, Foundation, and For All Mankind as well as movies like The Banker, Greyhound, and Palmer.
The Fallout (HBO Max)
This HBO Max film came early in the year and has remained one of the best streaming movies of 2022. In it, a teenager narrowly avoids a mass shooter by hiding in her school bathroom. In the following days and weeks, she and the girl she shared a bathroom stall with during the crisis develop a friendship, finding comfort and understanding in each other as they look ahead to life after the trauma.
With school shootings becoming a grim fact of life in America, The Fallout is a thoughtful exploration of what it means to survive and cope with the trauma of such violence. Jenna Ortega is one of the best actors working today, and she truly shines here. The film doesn’t seek to openly comment on ongoing political debates over gun rights and safety. Instead, it offers a raw portrait of the aftermath and the cost of our current reality.
A basketball scout facing resistance from his team’s new owner finds a once-in-a-lifetime player on the streets of Spain. Bringing back the promising young star without his team’s approval, he has to find a way to get him on the court to prove himself.
Funnyman Adam Sandler gives one of his best performances in this touching sports drama. Don’t miss it if you enjoyed films like The Way Back, Hoop Dreams, or Bull Durham.
Turning Red (Disney Plus)
A 13-year-old girl grappling with her budding adolescence and striving to be a good daughter suddenly finds herself turning into a giant red panda when emotionally excited. Now, she has to find a way to earn her mother’s respect while remaining true to herself.
One of Pixar’s best films in years, Turning Red easily earns a spot among the best streaming movies of 2022. Funny, heartfelt, and original, Turning Red is a perfect choice for fans of Pixar and other coming of age stories like Luca, Onward, and Big Hero 6.
Disney Plus offers thousands of TV episodes and movies from across the Disney library, including its Pixar, Star Wars, and Marvel shows and films, along with exclusive TV series and movies.
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (Netflix)
In Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, Detective Benoit Blanc is brought to a tech billionaire’s private Greek Island when one of his guests is found murdered. The game is afoot, and everyone’s a suspect in this comedy-mystery.
A followup to the 2019 sleeper hit Knives Out, Glass Onion knows how to play the hits while still feeling like a fresh new outing. It’s a treat for fans of the first film and murder mysteries or detective stories like this year’s underappreciated Confess, Fletch.
In 1719, an alien hunter comes to Earth seeking the deadliest game he can find in this prequel to The Predator. A Comanche warrior seeking to prove herself and protect her people faces off against the technologically advanced foe.
A fresh entry in the Predator franchise, Prey builds on the existing mythology while standing on its own as a gripping thriller. Fans of the Predator franchise will definitely want to watch Prey. It’s also terrific viewing if you enjoy horror sci-fi like Alien, The Thing, or Even Horizon.
Hulu offers not only thousands of movies and TV shows to stream, it also has original shows and films like The Handmaid’s Tale. You can upgrade to Hulu Plus Live TV to get live channels, including your local stations.
After Yang (Showtime)
Colin Farrell stars in this touching science-fiction family drama. When his daughter’s android companion Yang malfunctions, a man goes to great lengths to repair him, learning new truths about his family in the process.
Released in theaters at the same time as its streaming premiere on Showtime, After Yang is one of the best streaming movies of 2022, questioning the strict ways we define humanity. It’s a great pick for fans of Steven Spielberg’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence and Ex Machina.
Showtime offers up great movies and some of the best and most innovative original TV shows, and you can get all of that for a low monthly price.
Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Childhood (Netflix)
In Apollo 10 ½, a man recalls his childhood and the excitement surrounding the moon landing. His memories include a fantastical narrative that saw him recruited by NASA as a 10-year-old to go to the moon ahead of the famous 1969 mission.
Director Richard Linklater has already established his skill with rotoscope animation direction cult hit Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly. With Apollo 10 ½, he blends childhood nostalgia with an exploration of a fascinating, hopeful moment in American history. If you’ve enjoyed Linklater’s other rotoscope films, you’ll certainly want to check this one out. It’s also great if you enjoy space exploration films like First Man and Apollo 13, or documentaries like Apollo 11.
- Fire Island — A queer friend group goes on their yearly trip to Fire Island in this update of Pride and Prejudice.
- The Sea Beast — Netflix’s animated feature sees a young girl marooned with a monster hunter as the two come to realize perhaps there’s more to the feared sea beasts.
- Orphan: First Kill — This bizarre prequel to the 2009 horror film Orphan is full of shocking twists and gruesome kills.
- Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe — The 90s slacker duo is back in this funny time-travel adventure on Paramount Plus.
- Chip n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers — This Disney reboot explores the very idea of reboots in a clever, self-aware way.
- White Noise — Noah Baumbach’s latest is an apocalyptic adaptation of the novel by Don DeLillo, starring Adam Driver and Greta Gerwig.
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