Top Ten Ensemble Films

Following multiple characters in a film can seem like daunting task, but when done well, ensemble films provide an amazing viewing experience with intertwining stories coming together for an explosive plot. 2022 was a year full of ensemble films that introduced us to new talent, shined a new kind of light on familiar faces, and captivated audiences in the theater or at their homes. These are the films with ensemble casts that stood out in the busy slate of 2022 releases. 

10. Don’t Worry Darling (Dir. Olivia Wilde)

While the film was met with less than stellar reviews, Don’t Worry Darling is still an exceptional ensemble driven film. Florence Pugh, Nick Kroll, Olivia Wilde, Chris Pine, Kate Berlant, KiKi Layne, Timothy Simons and yes, Harry Styles all come together in the Wilde directed film. While the film may not be one of the year’s best, each actor does have an opportunity to shine in Don’t Worry Darling. Perhaps the strongest onscreen chemistry is not between a couple, but Kroll and Styles. 

9. All Quiet on the Western Front (2022) (Dir. Edward Berger)

The German film All Quiet on the Western Front is led by one of the year’s strongest ensemble casts. While audiences may not be familiar with the German actors, their performances all come together in a powerful film. Felix Kammerer, Albrecht Schuch, Aaron Hilmer, Edin Hasanović, and Daniel Brühl are all given an opportunity to have their moment in Edward Berger’s adaptation. 

8. Avatar: The Way of Water (Dir. James Cameron)

James Cameron’s latest Avatar entry has an all-star cast featuring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldaña, Joel David Moore, CCH Pounder, Giovanni Ribisi, Dileep Rao, and Matt Gerald. Additional cast includes Sigourney Weaver, Kate Winslet, Cliff Curtis, Edie Falco, Jemaine Clement, and Brendan Cowell. Ensemble films only work if the entire cast comes together with moments to shine individually and collectively, and in Avatar: The Way of Water, this rings true. Each cast member has a moment to claim as their own while the entire cast cohesively brings together the film. 

7. Fire Island (Dir. Andrew Ahn)

Comedies typically feature brilliant ensembles and Fire Island has one of the best ensemble casts of the year. The amazing ensemble includes Joel Kim Booster, Bowen Yang, Conrad Ricamora, James Scully, Matt Rogers, Tomás Matos, Torian Miller, Nick Adams, Zane Phillips, and Margaret Cho. The cast truly feels like family, while still showcasing their individual talent throughout the film. The group chemistry between the actors is incredible.

6. X (Dir. Ti West)

In Ti West’s X, a group of amateur filmmakers head out to a farmhouse to make the next big hit in the porn industry. Each actor in the group is phenomenal with a moment to shine individually, while also having incredible chemistry as a group cast. Martin Henderson, Mia Goth, Jenna Ortega, Brittany Snow, Scott Mescudi (Kid Cudi) and Owen Campbell all truly excel as great performers on their own, but come together as one of the year’s best ensemble casts. 

5. The Woman King (Dir. Gina Prince-Bythewood)

Viola Davis, Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch, Sheila Atim, and John Boyega in The Woman King are each delivering some of the best performances of their careers. These performances not only work on an individual level, but as a group come together for a powerful film. The Woman King works on so many levels because of the incredible direction and beautiful set of crafts, but the performances are what cements the film as one of the best of the year. 

4. The Northman (Dir. Robert Eggers)

While Alexander Skarsgård is a central character in The Northman, the entire cast blends together for a visceral viewing experience you cannot miss. Skarsgård is joined by Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicole Kidman, Claes Bang, Björk, Ethan Hawke and Willem Dafoe for a vicious, brutal Viking tale. Some of the best supporting performances of the year come from The Northman as the cast truly shines as an ensemble. 

3. Babylon (Dir. Damien Chazelle)

In Damien Chazelle’s Babylon, there is a lot to unpack from elephants to cocaine to orgies to people dying on film sets. Amidst all this chaos is one of the best ensemble casts. Despite the three hours plus runtime, I truly wish I had more time with some of the characters in Babylon because there is so much to love about them. Diego Calva and Margot Robbie lead an ensemble starring Li Jun Li, Jovan Adepo, Brad Pitt, Olivia Hamilton, Tobey Maguire, Lukas Haas, Jean Smart, Flea and many more. 

2. Bodies Bodies Bodies (Dir. Halina Reijn)

Who wants to play Bodies Bodies Bodies? Amandla Stenberg, Maria Bakalova, Rachel Sennott, Chase Sui Wonders, Pete Davidson, Myha’la Herrold and Lee Pace star in the best whodunnit of 2022, Bodies Bodies Bodies. While not a true murder mystery, the sharply written film utilizes every member of the cast to perfection. From GI Joe to one of the best podcasters around, every performer in the ensemble has the opportunity to have their spotlight. Their chemistry as a group of friends, enemies, and even lovers is what makes the film such a success. 

1. Women Talking (Dir. Sarah Polley)

The ensemble in Women Talking is so excellent that it’s hard to pick a specific performance that stands out. Every actor in the bunch gets their chance to shine but as a collective group of performers, it’s the best ensemble of the year. Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley, Ben Whishaw, Michelle McLeod, and Judith Ivey each have a memorable moment or scene that belongs to them, but when they are playing off one another, Women Talking is at its most powerful. The film is one of the best films of the year and its top-notch ensemble is one of the reasons it works so well. 

Kenzie Vanunu
she/her @kenzvanunu
Lives in LA with her husband, daughter and dog. Misses Arclight, loves iced vanilla coffees.
Favorite Director: Darren Aronofsky
Sign: Capricorn

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