When you've had quite enough drama in real life, turn to a drama-filled movie to get your fix. The best new drama films of 2022 range from much-anticipated cinematic blockbusters Downtown Abbey: A New Era and book-to-movie adaptation Where The Crawdads Sing to acclaimed streaming-service films like HBO Max's The Fallout. Ahead, our picks of the best new drama films of the year (so far!) to add to your 2022 watchlist. (If that's not enough drama for you, check out our guide to the best drama films of 2021.)
Premiered: January 28 (on HBO Max (opens in new tab))
Starring: Jenna Ortega, Maddie Ziegler, Niles Fitch, Will Ropp, Lumi Pollack, John Ortiz, Julie Bowen, and Shailene Woodley
The story: After a traumatic school shooting, new friends Vada and Mia navigate the emotional fallout as their personal relationships and views of the world are forever changed.
Premiered: February 10, 2022
Starring: Zoë Kravitz, Rita Wilson, Byron Bowers, Erika Christensen, Jamie Camil, India de Beaufort, and Robin Givens
The story: In this latest film from Steven Soderbergh, an agoraphobic tech worker finds evidence of a crime recorded on an AI assistant.
Premiered: March 4, 2022
Starring: Colin Farrell, Jodie Turner-Smith, Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja, Justin H. Min, Sarita Choudhury, and Haley Lu Richardson
The story: A family living in the near future deal with questions of love and life after their A.I. son breaks down.
'Downton Abbey: A New Era'
Premieres: May 20, 2022
Starring: Michelle Dockery, Elizabeth McGovern, Hugh Bonneville, Joanne Froggatt, Laura Haddock, Carmichael, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West, and Maggie Smith
The story: Nine months after the events of the first Downton Abbey movie, the Crawleys travel to the South of France after their estate is taken over by a film crew.
'Along for the Ride'
Premieres: May 6 (on Netflix)
Starring: Emma Pasarow, Belmont Cameli, Andie MacDowell, Dermot Mulroney, and Kate Bosworth
The story: In this adaptation of the beloved Sarah Dessen novel, insomiac teens Auden and Eli go on carefree adventures as their small seaside town sleeps.
'Where the Crawdads Sing'
Premieres: June 24, 2022
Starring: Daisy Edgar-Jones, Taylor John Smith, Harris Dickinson, David Strathairn, Garret Dillahunt, Ahna O’Reilly, and Michael Hyatt
The story: A woman who raised herself in the North Carolina marshes becomes a suspect in the murder of an ex-lover, in this adaptation of the bestselling novel.
Premieres: June 24, 2022
Starring: Austin Butler, Tom Hanks, Olivia DeJonge, Kodi Smit-McPhee, David Wenham, Richard Roxburgh, and Natasha Bassett
The story: Baz Luhrman directs this biopic of the rock and roll legend, depicting his rise through the music industry and his complex relationship with his manager, Colonel Tom Parker.
Premieres: October 7, 2022
Starring: Danielle Deadwyler, Jalyn Hall, Jayme Lawson, Sean Patrick Thomas, Haley Bennett, Kevin Carroll, and Whoopi Goldberg
The story: Based on the true story of 14-year-old Emmett Till's murder, this film tells the story of his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, including her decision to have an open casket as his funeral, the response to which helped set off the civil rights movement.
Premieres: November 18, 2022
Starring: Carey Mulligan, Zoe Kazan, Samantha Morton, Patricia Clarkson, and Andre Braugher
The story: Based on the book by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, She Said will depict the journalists' efforts to expose Harvey Weinstein's history of sexual harrassment.
Premieres: November 23, 2022
Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Tessa Thompson, Florian Munteanu, Jonathan Majors, Wood Harris, Selenis Leyva, and Phylicia Rashad
The story: Franchise star Michael B. Jordan makes his directorial debut in this threequel about the heavyweight champion son of Apollo Creed.
Premieres: November 24, 2022
Starring: Gabriel LaBelle, Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, Seth Rogen, Julia Butters, and David Lynch
The story: This semi-autobiographical story from Steven Spielberg follows an aspiring teen filmmaker growing up in Arizona.
'I Wanna Dance With Somebody'
Premieres: December 23, 2022
Starring: Naomi Ackie, Nafessa Williams, Clarke Peters, and Tamara Tunie
The story: Master of None star Ackie will play the late musical icon in this authorized biopic, produced in collaboration with Houston's estate.
Premieres: December 25, 2022
Starring: Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Tobey Maguire, Olivia Wilde, Jean Smart, Diego Calva, Jovan Adepo, Li Jun Li, and Katherine Waterston
The story: The new film from La La Land director Damien Chazelle explores the rise and fall of several film industry workers during its transition from silent films to talkies in the late 1920s.
'Killers of the Flower Moon'
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert DeNiro, Lily Gladstone, Jesse Plemons, Scott Shepherd, Pat Healy, and Brendan Fraser
The story: Martin Scorsese directs this adaptation of the bestselling novel, about a series of murders in 1920s Oklahoma that caught the attention of the newly formed FBI.
Quinci LeGardye is a Contributing Culture Editor who covers TV, movies, Korean entertainment, books, and pop culture. When she isn’t writing or checking Twitter, she’s probably watching the latest K-drama or giving a concert performance in her car.
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