Movies are about moments – big moments that erase our cynicism about cinema and remind us of its capacity to dazzle as well as touch us. This happens in a way only possible with a medium that seamlessly combines so many other art forms. These are instances that prompt us to consider things in a different light, empathize with others in a way we could never expect or simply entertain.
While sometimes memories of the overall plot of a film or its minute details may escape us, certain scenes stand out like a beacon in a bland cinematic landscape. What follows is a list of the 10 best scenes from the movies in 2022. While some of the films they're from might not have been completely successful, during these moments, perfection was achieved, and they've proven powerful enough to stay with this viewer long after the credits have rolled and the lights have come up.
Resurrection – Margaret (Rebecca Hall), thinking she has put her past behind her, finds her sense of self slowly unraveling when an abuser from her past suddenly reenters her life. Detailing her past experiences to a co-worker, the beleaguered woman reveals all the pain and fear she's bottled up for years, a release that leaves her vulnerable and open to further hurt. This mesmerizing, seven-and-a-half-minute monologue is without question, the most arresting scene of the year, Hall laying herself bare to create a sequence that's uncomfortable to witness but impossible to ignore.
The Batman – Having just fled his night club after witnessing his various henchmen be assaulted by a masked vigilante, gangster Oswald Cobblepot (Colin Farrell) hopes to elude Batman (Robert Pattinson) by careening about on the expressways of Gotham City. Little does he know that his pursuer's obsessive behavior – as well as his souped-up car – will make his escape impossible. Director Matt Reeves manages to find an innovative way to stage a car chase that feels not simply exciting, but dangerous and vital. The chills generated by this expertly choreographed set piece were thanks primarily to the real cars and practical effects used instead of CGI wizardry.
Happening – Unable to obtain an abortion, an illegal act in France in the 1960s, and desperate to have some measure of control over her life, Anne (Anamaria Vartolomei) decides to perform the procedure herself, sterilizing a long needle she intends to use to accomplish this. Audrey Diwan shoots this scene in dark tones to emphasize not only the terror of this situation but also to underscore the sense of isolation Anne feels, forced to take her life into her own hands in the shadows.
The Menu – Knowing that her life is in the hands of the unhinged Chef Slowik (Ralph Fiennes), Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy) acts upon a secret she's discovered concerning her tormentor and, cutting through the artifice that surrounds them, requests he make a simple cheeseburger. Knocking the man back on his heels, he momentarily rediscovers his joy of making food meant to be enjoyed, not analyzed and deconstructed like an art piece. Mark Mylod composes this sequence with a loving, meticulous eye that eschews the artifice he's employed with the more serious dishes prepared earlier in the film. The result will have you seeking out a well-constructed but simple burger once the credits start running.
The Banshees of Inisherin – Lonely and disconsolate, young Dominic (Barry Keoghan) approaches Siobhan (Kerry Condon), a woman he has but a passing relationship with, and asks her with great hesitation if she could ever see herself being with him. Knowing it will break his heart, she truthfully tells him that could never be the case. His response, "Well, there's another dream gone," speaks to the loneliness he cannot come to terms with. Quiet and intimate, Keoghan and Condon shatter the viewer with their subtle and sincere performances, this moment speaking to the inherent sense of isolation we all must contend with.
Top Gun: Maverick –Admiral Kazansky (Val Kilmer) summons his old rival Captain Maverick (Tom Cruise) to his home to get an update on the recruits the officer has been assigned to train. What follows is a heartfelt reunion between two formidable comrades who've come to recognize and value the qualities they see and share with each other. Heartfelt and poignant, this moment transcends the screen, the two veteran stars delivering a slice of genuine nostalgia that tugs at the viewers' heartstrings.
Devotion – Forced to contend with racist behavior daily, Navy flyer Jesse Brown yells racial epitaphs at himself in the mirror, steeling himself for the hate he must contend with as well as testing his own mettle, being forced to discount these vicious statements. Majors holds nothing back here, but it's not the anger he displays that makes the scene memorable, but rather the vulnerability he lets slip that he struggles to hide from outsiders.
The Fabelmans – Having secured his first position with a major movie studio, fledgling director Sammy Fableman (Gabriel LaBelle) is asked if he'd like to meet the world's greatest filmmaker. He's escorted to the office of John Ford, where he waits a seemingly interminable amount of time before being introduced to the contrary old man, who promptly gives him a terse lesson in film composition. Quickly and gleefully rendered, the fact that Ford is portrayed by director David Lynch only adds to the post-modern fun of the scene.
Elvis – Fully knowing that his appearance and performance style sets him apart from other young musicians, Elvis Presley (Austin Butler) takes the stage at one of his first appearances and electrifies the young – and older – women in the theater with his overtly sexual rendition of "Let's Play House." The magic of this scene is two-fold, as not only are we witnessing a recreation of Presley's first step towards stardom, but also a declaration that Butler is a talent to be reckoned with.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – Mourning the loss of their brave young leader T'Chilla, the nation of Wakanda marks the passing of their dynamic leader with a somber recognition of his death as well as a celebration of his life. More a ceremony devoted to the passing of Chadwick Boseman than the character he played, the dual meaning lends power to this scene that left nary a dry eye in the house.