Culture

The Best Indie Movies To Watch In 2022

Kristine Froseth in Sharp Stick

PORTER brings you the best indie movies worth adding to your must-see list – from the ones you might have missed to awards-season winners and this year’s festival contenders

Lifestyle

Sharp Stick

Lena Dunham makes a much-anticipated return to screens with her first feature film since her debut, Tiny Furniture. She has enlisted the help of some exciting rising stars – Taylour Paige (Zola) and Kristine Froseth (The Society), as well as Hollywood icons like Jennifer Jason Leigh and Jon Bernthal – for this tale of a young woman’s sexual awakening and her complicated journey of self-discovery. In cinemas this spring

L-R: Amandla Stenberg, Maria Bakalova, Chase Sui Wonders and Rachel Sennott join forces in Bodies, Bodies, Bodies

Bodies, Bodies, Bodies

A party game goes fatally wrong in this sinister slasher from production company A24 – the team behind horrors like Midsommar and Hereditary. Amandla Stenberg and Pete Davidson join newcomers Maria Bakalova (Borat) and Myha’la Herrold (Industry) as a group of privileged teens who are dicing with death at the house party from hell. The plot is tightly under wraps for now but, with a screenplay by Kristen Roupenian (the author of Cat Person, a short story that went viral in 2017) and a buzzy new director, Halina Reijn, rest assured this is going to be a coming together of Gen-Z’s finest. Premieres at the SXSW festival on March 14

Cooper Raiff and Dakota Johnson in Cha Cha Real Smooth

Cha Cha Real Smooth

With three releases in the pipeline, 2022 is a big year for Dakota Johnson and her production company, TeaTime Pictures. First up, she has produced this life-affirming romcom by writer-director Cooper Raiff, which premiered at Sundance to rave reviews. Raiff also stars in the movie, as college graduate Andrew, who moves back to his parents’ home and a life of suburban mundanity. His world takes a turn when he meets single mother Domino (Johnson) and her daughter, who has autism. In cinemas this spring

Asteroid City

Hot off the heels of The French Dispatch comes another Wes Anderson release to add to your diaries – rumored to be opening the Cannes Film Festival in May. A self-professed Europhile, Anderson turns his gaze to Italy for this production. Little is known about the plot at this stage, but expect all the typical tropes of a Wes Anderson film: storylines within storylines, pastel-hued sets and a blockbuster ensemble cast. This time, Margot Robbie, Scarlett Johansson, Maya Hawke and Tom Hanks all make appearances. In cinemas this fall

Evan Rachel Wood in Phoenix Rising

Phoenix Rising

This hard-hitting documentary by Amy Berg is a detailed exposé of the abuse that actor Evan Rachel Wood is alleged to have suffered at the hands of recording artist Marilyn Manson. Filmed over the course of two years, Wood bravely tells Berg her story, alongside other survivors. The documentary also follows Wood as she creates The Phoenix Act – a law that extends the statute of limitations on domestic-violence felonies from three to five years – and lobbies Congress to get it passed. This is a truly essential watch. On HBO Max from March 15

Mangrove

Steve McQueen’s phenomenal five-part anthology series details stories of Black people in Britain during the 1960s and ’70s, portraying struggles and hard-won victories in the face of adversity. The first in the series, Mangrove, stars Letitia Wright as British Black Panther leader Altheia Jones-LeCointe, who is part of a group of activists facing a highly publicized trial in 1970 following a protest against police. Out now

Julia Garner in The Assistant

The Assistant

Kitty Green directed this searing early onscreen product of the #MeToo era about an assistant – played by Julia Garner – to a powerful male entertainment executive, never seen on camera. As she goes about her day-to-day duties, the young, recent graduate becomes increasingly conscious of the abuse, manipulation and predatory behaviors going on. Out now

Ema

A stylish, edgy indie movie from Chilean director Pablo Larraín (who directed the 2016 Jackie Kennedy biopic, Jackie), Ema stars Mariana Di Girolamo as a dancer whose life goes into a tailspin after a dramatic event. Fans of street dancing will be well served as Ema begins to revisit her roots in urban choreography with a crew of friends. But this movie has plenty of depth and thought-provoking ideas as well as visual pleasures – plus, the great Gael Garcia Bernal co-stars as Ema’s choreographer husband. Out now

Nichola Burley (left) and Roxanne Scrimshaw in Lynn + Lucy

Lynn + Lucy

Lynn (Roxanne Scrimshaw) and Lucy (Nichola Burley) are best friends and neighbors who do everything together, until a tragedy strikes Lucy’s family. Lynn must decide where her loyalties lie – and how to react to gossip and speculation in the hair salon where she works. Fyzal Boulifa marks himself as a filmmaker to watch with this gruelling, thought-provoking movie, which tackles challenging issues and boasts terrific performances from Burley and newcomer Scrimshaw. Out now

An Easy Girl (Une Fille Facile)

Set in the glamorous yachts and grand mountain villas of Cannes, this French drama stars a real-life tabloid sensation – French-Algerian model and lingerie designer Zahia Dehar. She plays sophisticated 22-year-old Sofia, who is visiting her 16-year-old cousin and showing her a thing or two about the high life. Expect designer accessories aplenty – Chanel bags feature heavily – along with insights into the flirtations on the Côte d’Azur. Out now

Taylor Russell in Waves

Waves

Kelvin Harrison Jr earns his reputation as a hot emerging talent in this intense family drama. He’s a teen sports star who struggles to cope with an injury, which impacts his relationship with his girlfriend. After a tragedy, the focus of the film shifts to his sister (Taylor Russell) and her boyfriend (Lucas Hedges). This is a deeply atmospheric indie that pulls you in and won’t let you go, leaving you with plenty of thoughts to chew on. Out now

Vivarium

A house-hunting couple end up in a nightmare in this surreal sci-fi that plays out like an episode of Black Mirror. Imogen Poots and Jesse Eisenberg portray the pair who get stranded in a show home on a deserted estate. Who has trapped them there, and why? Black comedy and gender exploration gives way to mystery: if you enjoy guessing games, this one’s for you. And if you happen to be planning your next house move, you might want to reconsider… Out now

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