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The Best of the 2022 Sundance Film Festival

Aubrey Plaza appears in Emily the Criminal by John Patton Ford, an official selection of the Premieres section at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Low Spark Films.

Well, that’s a wrap on the 2022 Sundance Film Festival! This only marks my third year fully covering it, with one year almost a decade ago being in person, as well as last year from home. Of course, this year wound up going that route at the last minute. Still, cinema shined through. Sundance is a unique beast, fest wise, given that it’s starting off a new year. While something like the Toronto International Film Festival comes towards the end of a year, Sundance happens as almost a preview of the year to come. So, the flicks playing in Park City (or virtually) tend to be really unique. This year was no exception. With the festival over, today is a good day to put a bow on it and see what this crop of titles truly looked like, now in the rearview mirror.

Below, you’ll see my ranking of everything I saw at Sundance (23 films, though I’m only ranking 22, given that one is The Worst Person in the World, previously seen at TIFF). This time around, I luckily didn’t see anything that I fully hated. Whether that’s the festival’s quality, luck, or good planning on my part, that’s just how it turned out. On the flip side, nothing got four stars from me. So, with minimal bad, there was also perhaps minimal great. The best of the bunch? You’ll see it all next, but the main highlights were 892, Cha Cha Real Smooth, and Fresh. Not far behind, there’s also Am I Ok?, Dual, and Emily the Criminal. Most of these you’ll see coming your way very soon, so stay tuned there…

First up, here are some Sundance awards, given by yours truly:

Cha Cha Real Smooth

Best Director – Mimi Cave for Fresh

Best Actor – Sebastian Stan in Fresh

Best Actress – Aubrey Plaza in Emily the Criminal

Best Supporting Actor – Aaron Paul in Dual

Best Supporting Actress – Dakota Johnson in Cha Cha Real Smooth

Best Original Screenplay – Cha Cha Real Smooth

Best Adapted Screenplay – 892

Best Ensemble – Cha Cha Real Smooth

Here now is how I would rank the 22 movies seen at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival:


22. Babysitter

21. Brainwashed: Sex-Camera-Power

20. A Love Song

19. Alice

18. Blood

17. Something in the Dirt

16. Master

15. Palm Trees and Power Lines

14. When You Finish Saving the World

13. Resurrection

12. Call Jane

11. Watcher

10. Emergency

9. Good Luck to You Leo Grande

8. After Yang

7. Sharp Stick

6. Emily the Criminal

5. Dual

4. Am I Ok?

3. 892

2. Cha Cha Real Smooth

1. Fresh

Stay tuned for more film festival coverage at Awards Radar!


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Written by Joey Magidson

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