May 17, 2022

Charlie Doodle

Unique Art & Entertainment

31 Films to See at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival

6 min read

2nd Chance

When Richard Davis invented the bulletproof vest, it became his ticket to notoriety. But things were more complicated than they seemed for Davis and his cohorts, whose product wasn’t always reliable and whose ambition might have been too great.

892

John Boyega, Michael Kenneth Williams, and Connie Britton star in this thriller, from director and co-writer Abi Damaris Corbin, about a former Marine whose frustration with his circumstances lead to a potentially (and literally) explosive situation.

After Yang

What happens when AI becomes like family—and then malfunctions? It’s a question that director Kogonada’s stunning, emotional new feature (starring Colin Farrell, Jodie Turner-Smith, and Justin H. Min) grapples with as a family fights for the life of its beloved robot and exposes truths about love, privacy, and what makes us who we are.

Alice

Keke Palmer, Common, and Jonny Lee Miller star in this drama from writer-director Krystin Ver Linden about a captive woman in the American South who escapes her confines only to discover that the era she’s actually living in is almost 200 years later than she ever knew.

Am I OK?

Tig Notaro and Stephanie Allynne direct this drama, starring Dakota Johnson and Sonoya Mizuno, about the lines between friendship and romance, and what it means to find someone to love.

The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales

Abigail Disney and Kathleen Hughes direct this documentary that looks at the wealth gap in America at large, and also up close and very personal—specifically as it related to Disney’s own family and the employees of its namesake company.

Call Jane

Phyllis Nagy (who wrote Carol) directs a cast including Elizabeth Banks, Sigourney Weaver, and Kate Mara in this story of an underground collective of women, all known as “Jane,” dedicated to abortion access in the 1960s.

Cha Cha Real Smooth

Dakota Johnson stars alongside writer-director Cooper Raif in this dark comedy about a floundering young man whose life—and fledgling bar mitzvah business—are complicated by a relationship with a mother and her teenage daughter.

Downfall: The Case Against Boeing

Rory Kennedy directs this documentary, which investigates two high-profile plane crashes, exploring the havoc they caused and the causes—mechanical and cultural—of the troubles in the air and on the ground alike.

Emily the Criminal

Aubrey Plaza plays the title role in John Patton Ford’s thriller about a woman who turns to a life of crime to tackle her credit card debt, and finds herself in over her head among some of the most dangerous criminals in L.A.

Fire of Love

Katia and Maurice Krafft, volcanologists who died in 1991, were on the cutting edge of their discipline—the study and documentation of active volcanoes. Though the work took both of their lives, the story of their relationship—and the incredible images they themselves captured—remains a thrill to behold in Sara Dosa’s documentary.

Good Luck to You, Leo Grande

Emma Thompson and Daryl McCormack star in this comedy from director Sophie Hyde about a retired schoolteacher and the younger sex worker she hires to bring excitement to her life—with results both expected and not.

Honk For Jesus, Save Your Soul

Regina Hall and Sterling K. Brown star in this comedy about the the first lady of a Southern megachurch and her attempts to forgive her husband—and keep from losing their congregation—in the wake of a scandal.

Instant Life

Of course Amazing Live Sea Monkeys—those mid-20th century mail-order toy staples—have a completely wild backstory. Created by Harold von Braunhut and made famous by the mad scientist and his wife Yolanda, the toys were a phenomenon but after Harold died, their secret formula and control of their huge profits slipped away from Yolanda, resulting in a stranger-than-fiction story captured in Mark Becker and Aaron Schock’s three-part docuseries.

La Guerra Civil

Directed by Eva Longoria Bastón, this documentary follows the 1990s rivalry of boxers Oscar De La Hoya and Julio César Chávez and its impact out of the ring on Latinx culture.

Living

Kazuo Ishiguro adapts a screenplay originally by Akira Kurosawa for this drama, set in 1950s London, about a terminally ill civil servant who finds a new meaning to life before it’s too late. Bill Nighy and Tom Burke star in the Oliver Hermanus-directed film.

Lucy and Desi

Want to know what it was truly like Being the Ricardos? Amy Poehler directs this documentary look at the lives of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, explaining where comedy’s most famous couple came from, how they met, and what they did to create a lasting impact on the world of show business and beyond.

Master

Regina Hall, Ella Hunt, and Talia Ryder star in this psychological thriller, directed by Mariama Diallo, set at an elite New England college where things aren’t quite as perfect as they might seem.

The Martha Mitchell Effect

Once one of Washington, D.C.’s most famous and glamorous residents, Martha Mitchell has gone down in history as a whistleblower who played a pivotal role in toppling the Nixon administration. This documentary short, directed by Anne Alvergue, explores her life and legacy, and helps put her in the historical context she deserves.

Meet Me in the Bathroom

Inspired by journalist Lizzy Goodman’s brilliant book of the same name, this documentary (directed by Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace) delves into New York City’s underground rock ‘n’ roll scene in the early 2000s, how it created the soundtrack for an era (the Strokes, anyone?) and altered New York’s musical landscape forever.

Mija

Isabel Castro’s debut feature documentary follows Doris Muñoz, an on-the-rise music manager, through the choppy waters of her professional and personal life alike. When she discovers a brilliant new artist, though, a bigger story—about family, belonging, and the American immigrant experience—begins to emerge.

My Old School

Jono McLeod directs this smart, fascinating look at one of Scotland’s best-known cons in this quasi-documentary (featuring Alan Cumming) that delivers one of the wilder rides in recent cinematic memory.

Nanny

Anna Diop, Morgan Spector, and Leslie Uggams star in this thriller about a New York City nanny whose life is upended by an encounter with the supernatural that puts everything she’s worked for in jeopardy.

Nothing Compares

Directed by Kathryn Ferguson, this documentary charts the meteoric—and sometimes scandalous—rise of singer Sinead O’Connor and reconsiders her career from a modern perspective.

Palm Trees and Power Lines

A summer of nirvana for the teenage Lea is interrupted by the arrival of an unexpected older man and an alternative to her quotidian norm. Directed and written by Jamie Dack, the film stars Lily McInerny, Jonathan Tucker, and Gretchen Mol.

The Princess

Told through archival footage, the story of Princess Diana is revisited in this documentary by director Ed Perkins, who explores how the late royal lived her life and why her legacy has had an unparalleled impact on the world we live in today.

Sharp Stick

The latest from writer and director Lena Dunham, Sharp Stick stars Kristine Froseth, Taylour Paige, and Jennifer Jason Leigh and follows a young woman whose affair with the father of a child she looks after opens unexpected doors.

To The End

Knock Down the House director Rachel Lears’s latest documentary follows four young leaders—Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Varshini Prakash, Alexandra Rojas, and Rhiana Gunn-Wrightand their quest to enact the Green New Deal. It’s a close look at politics, power, and the battle for the future of our world.

Watcher

Is it just her imagination, or is Julia—who recently moved to Romania with her husband—being followed? Maika Monroe stars in director Chloe Okuno’s frightening meditation on loneliness, terror, and whether the most dangerous threats might exist only in our imaginations.

When You Finish Saving the World

Jesse Eisenberg’s directorial debut follows a mother and son (Julianne Moore and Finn Wolfhard) with a strained relationship as they both look elsewhere to find meaningful connections.

You Won’t Be Alone

Noomi Rapace and Alice Englert star in this horror film, directed by Goran Stolevski, about a young witch with a taste for inhabiting the bodies of others in 19th-century Macedonia.

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