Deborah Ross

Deborah Ross is the chief film critic of The Spectator

The Spectator’s best films of 2022

Banshees of Inisherin: a magnificent cinematic metaphor The In Bruges writer-director Martin McDonagh has made another film starring Colin Farrell and Brendon Gleeson which, this time, is set in 1923 on the tiny Irish island of Inisherin. Colm (Gleeson) and Padraic (Farrell) are lifelong pals and drinking buddies until Colm abruptly decides that’s it, friendship over, and

Mesmerisingly sad: Corsage reviewed

Corsage is a biopic of Empress Elisabeth of Austria who was prized for her beauty and fashion sense and may have been, I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say, the Princess Diana of her day. But then disaster strikes: she turns 40. I know, but in 1877 that is old. That

I soaked my jumper with tears: The Last Flight Home reviewed

If you’re planning on seeing The Last Flight Home at the cinema, don’t make any plans for afterwards as you’ll be completely done in. I soaked the top half of my jumper with the crying, and then needed to race home to wring it out. It’s an unflinching documentary from film-maker Ondi Timoner following her

Ralph Fiennes at his most terrifying: The Menu reviewed

The Menu is a comedy-horror-thriller set in an exclusive restaurant on a private island and it gives the rich a good kicking, like The Triangle of Sadness, except here they manage to keep their food down, mercifully. (At $1,200 a head, you’d hope so.) But the diners are not spared otherwise, and it’s nastily fun,

Astonishing cinema: No Bears reviewed

Jafar Panahi’s No Bears is, first and foremost, a wonderful film. More than this, you don’t need to know but I’ll tell you anyway. Panahi, an Iranian filmmaker, was banned from making films by the Iran government in 2010 yet has persisted clandestinely. One of his films (This Is Not a Film) was smuggled to

Heartbreakingly tender: Living reviewed

Living is a remake of one of the great existential masterpieces of the 20th century, Kurosawa’s Ikiru (1952), which didn’t need remaking, many will grumble, but once you’ve seen this you’ll be glad that it was. It is as profoundly and deeply felt as the original and as heartbreakingly tender. It asks the same question

Ravishing, daring biopic of Emily Brontë: Emily reviewed

The life of Emily Brontë is an enduring object of fascination. So small, the life, so sparse, so limited. Yet it delivered those magnificent poems and Wuthering Heights. How could this be? Genius, I suppose, paired with a vivid interior life. But as neither of those are cinematic, Emily imagines what could have led her

Unforgettable story, forgettable film: The Lost King reviewed

The Lost King is a comedy-drama based on the 2012 discovery of the remains of King Richard III beneath a Leicester car park. It’s a terrific story, an unforgettable story, but a fairly forgettable film. It’s directed by Stephen Frears, stars Sally Hawkins (as Philippa Langley, the amateur enthusiast who was proved right despite being

Pleasantly untaxing: Mrs Harris Goes to Paris reviewed

Mrs Harris Goes to Paris is a comedy-drama based on the 1958 novel by Paul Gallico about a cheerful, kind-hearted Battersea charlady who falls in love with a couture dress from Dior, decides she must have one of her own, and off she goes. If you are in the mood for something pleasantly untaxing you

I’m too tired for Lena Dunham: Catherine Called Birdy reviewed

Catherine Called Birdy is written and directed by Lena Dunham and it’s a medieval comedy about a 14-year-old girl resisting her father’s attempts to marry her off while yearning to do all the things women aren’t allowed to do. (She would especially like to attend a hanging, for example. And also ‘laugh very loud’.) It

A David Bowie doc like no other: Moonage Daydream reviewed

Moonage Daydream is a music documentary like no other, which is fitting as the subject is David Bowie. If it’s David Bowie, make it special or just don’t bother. And this is special. It’s an immersive, trippy, hurtling, throbbing two hours and 15 minutes. If Disneyland did a Bowie ride, this would be it. Yet

Gore-fest meets snooze-fest: Crimes of the Future reviewed

You always have to brace yourself for the latest David Cronenberg film, but with Crimes of the Future it’s not the scalpels slicing into flesh or the mutant dancer with sewn-up eyes (and mouth) or even the filicide (oh, boy) you have to brace yourself for. In this instance, the most shocking thing is that

A compelling, if pitiless, journey: The Forgiven reviewed

The Forgiven is based on the novel by Lawrence Osborne and stars Ralph Fiennes (terrific) and Jessica Chastain (ditto) as a wealthy British-American couple driving to a weekend-long party in a luxurious Moroccan desert villa when they hit and kill a young local boy on the road. Oops. What the film adds up to, I

Schlocky and silly but fun: Beast reviewed

Beast is, the blurb tells us, a ‘pulse-pounding thriller about a father and his daughters who find themselves hunted by a massive rogue lion intent on proving that the savannah has but one apex predator’. Whether this was ever intended to be a serious film, I cannot say, but it’s fun in its schlocky, gory,

Absolutely nuts: My Old School reviewed

My Old School is a documentary exploring a true story that would have to be true as it’s too preposterous – it is absolutely nuts – for any screenwriter to have made it up. You know something is up but not what and if you’re coming to it fresh your jaw will hit the floor