We don’t need to tell you that it’s not cheap to go to the movies. Every time you decide to head to the theater, you’re committing to spend at least $12-15 per ticket and maybe $15-20 on concessions. With that much money on the line, the last thing you want is to sit through a mediocre movie. Luckily, none of these films fall into that category. These are the ones that you went back and paid that high price to see again. Take a moment and reflect on The Root’s best Black movies of 2022.
10: Honk For Jesus, Save Your Soul
Black churches are so essential to the Black community, but it’s also no secret that some of them aren’t completely in it for the Lord. The way this film challenges the institution with fantastic performances from Regina Hall and Sterling K. Brown is fun and thought provoking. Seriously, put some respect on Regina Hall’s name!
The thing about Jordan Peele’s work is that it’s always interesting, and that’s not something you can say about a lot of filmmakers. He never phones it in. No matter what you think of the craziness, you’ll be talking about it long after you’ve seen the movie.
Jonathan Majors is having a moment right now. The closest comparison I can come up with is ‘90s Denzel, where he’s delivering banger after banger after banger. In Devotion, he deftly balances honoring Jesse Brown, the decorated pilot, with telling the story of his humanity and struggle for dignity in a world that doesn’t think he deserves it.
For all those white people who want to take slavery out of textbooks and think it happened so long ago it doesn’t matter anymore, I suggest you watch Descendant. The residents of Africatown are in a direct fight to stop the industrial complex from bulldozing their history at the same time we’re all fighting to prevent certain governmental systems from erasing ours. Descendant is a showcase for why documentaries are still such an important part of filmmaking.
6: The Inspection
Elegance Bratton’s debut film chronicling a Marine’s quest for acceptance and peace of mind is a barrage of emotions, but it’s all beautifully handled by the veteran cast. Jeremy Pope and Gabrielle Union are at the top of their game as they guide the audience through every step of this standout work of art.
Honoring an icon like Sidney Poitier isn’t necessarily easy. We all know about his impact on Black entertainment and how many actors and filmmakers he’s inspired. But where Sidney excels is that it finds the humanity behind the star and actually honors the man, not the icon.
It takes a strong performer to embody a woman like Mamie Till-Mobley and not get lost in the importance of the story. Danielle Deadwyler guides us through every moment of Mamie’s grief, resolve, shock and strength without ever going over the top or losing sight of the real woman behind the history.
3: Everything Everywhere All at Once
It’s so rare to be surprised by a movie nowadays, but that’s exactly what Everything Everywhere All at Once did. Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan are awesome, the visuals are cool and it’s fun to watch. I don’t want to spoil how truly spectacular this movie is, but just know that it’s entertaining in every single universe.
2: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Ryan Coogler managed to guide us all through our collective grief while also delivering a thrilling follow-up to a history-making, game-changing film. Shuri, Nakia, M’Baku and Okoye all grew as characters and Wakanda grows as a country. In any other year, it would have been the unquestioned best movie, but you can never count out Viola.
1: The Woman King
From the cast, to the direction, to the historical setting, The Woman King excels on every level. It’s the kind of art that sticks with you long after you’ve seen it. Viola Davis is a general in every sense of the word. She commands the audience to follow her and her warriors through this gripping story. Then she expertly moves us through every emotion she rains down on us. This film will have a lasting legacy as an impactful moment for cinema.