Best Original Movies on HBO Max in 2022

Wondering what are the best original movies on HBO Max? In the roughly two years since HBO Max’s debut in May 2020, a lot has changed. At its debut, the service had a hard time setting itself apart from HBO (a natural cause of confusion), and it took a while for it to become one of the better streaming libraries out there.

We’ve got your back if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the over 600 films you can view right now. This list is a hand-picked selection of our favorite movies available on HBO Max. movies that are worth watching, plus arguments from our authors about why they are great. You may be familiar with some of them but haven’t seen them yet, while others may be old hat. Whatever the case may be, we promise you’ll discover something to your liking.

1. Don’t Worry Darling

This thriller stars Florence Pugh and Harry Styles as a young couple who settle into a traditional, romanticized 1950s neighborhood. Wives stay at home while their men leave for an unknown project, and it’s not until Alice (Pugh) starts asking questions that she learns the truth about what’s really going on. If you can get over the fact that Don’t Worry Darling is only marginally less entertaining than the circus that was its press tour, you will be rewarded with two outstanding performances from Pugh and Chris Pine.

  • Year: 2022
  • Director: Olivia Wilde is the director.
  • Star Cast: Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Chris Pine, Olivia Wilde, Gemma Chan
  • Genre: Drama, suspense, thriller, horror, and criminal drama
  • IMDb: 6.2/10

2. Peacemaker

We applaud John Cena’s skill as Peacemaker with the highest pride and sincerity as himbas continues to gain recognition for their cultural significance. If you’re a himbo and you’re reading this, you should know that the lead character of the show Peacemaker had to deal with a lot: he was a comic book hero no one cared about; he had just played a villain in The Suicide Squad; he had to turn a ditzy jock into a compelling protagonist who had to deal with his abusive father and learn to work with others; and he had to help bring about world peace.

Above and beyond the typical comic book treats (though there were cameos and Easter eggs and everything), the program’s main draw is John Cena’s acting, which can carry the show through any plot twists or turns. Peacemaker can deal with aliens and alienated feelings with equal aplomb.

  • Year: 2021
  • Director: James Gunn 
  • Star cast: John Cena, Danielle Brooks , Freddie Stroma , Chukwudi Iwuji, Jennifer Holland, Steve Agee, Robert Patrick 
  • IMDb: 8.3/10

3. Barbarian

Barbarian did something brilliant by releasing a teaser that gives the impression that the film is about a woman (Georgina Campbell) who spends the night at an Airbnb with a crazy man (Bill Skarsgrd, one of the finest at playing insane men) who leads her down into a frightening basement. And that is sort of what it’s about, before it rapidly reveals that it’s about something else entirely, which I won’t disclose. It may be one of the best horror films of the year without anyone noticing. 

  • Year: 2022
  • Director: Zach Cregger 
  • Cast: Georgina Campbell, Bill Skarsgard, Justin Long, Matthew Patrick Davis
  • Genre: Thrillers and horrors 
  • IMDb: 7.1/10

4. 38 at the Garden

When the New York Knicks gave Taiwanese American and Harvard graduate Jeremy Lin an opportunity to play significant minutes in the NBA in early 2012, Lin moved from being a reserve player to a global sensation overnight. This brief documentary (just 38 minutes long) explores the impact that Jeremy Lin has had on basketball, popular culture, and the Asian American community. I wish the documentary had gone on for another hour, as I would have liked to see more details and footage from his glory season. It is one of the best original movies you could watch on HBO Max

  • Year: 2022
  • Director: Frank Chi Directs a Documentary
  • IMDb: 7.1/10

5. Fair Game

Naomi Watts’ character, Valerie Plame, in the film Fair Game, got one of the worst deals in U.S. history. The life of a former CIA field operative is shattered when her identity is leaked to the press by the Bush administration in punishment for her diplomat husband’s outspoken criticism of the invasion of Iraq. This political play, based on real events, reflects fundamental American values, such as speaking out for what is right even if it means going up against the establishment.

  • Director: Doug Liman 
  • Star Cast: Naomi Watts, Sean Penn, and Ty Burrell star.
  • IMDb: 6.8/10

6. Shiva Baby

If overcoming the pandemic has given you the desire to talk to strangers in a crowded room again, let Shiva Baby disabuse you of any romantic thoughts you may have. Tight and scary, Emma Seligman’s first feature film is about a twentysomething slacker who must deal with a difficult afternoon with friends, family, and ex-lovers. While it has many details that are unique to the Jewish community in an urban setting, the overall feeling of being smothered rather than supported by one’s closest friends and family is universal. It is one of the best original movies you could watch on HBO Max.

  • Director: Emma Seligman
  • Cast: Rachel Sennott, Molly Gordon, Polly Draper
  • IMDb: 7.1/10

7. Station Eleven

The story is based on Emily St. John Mandel’s best-selling novel and is about what happens after a terrible epidemic and how a new kind of society grows out of the ashes. Station Eleven can be hard to follow at times, but it’s always worth it because of how carefully it follows its characters.

Station Eleven is that unusual piece of pandemic media that focuses more on the idea of community perseverance and the creation of art than on the heroism of a solution or the thrill of a central cause. Despite the show’s clever use of tangential relationships between its characters, its overall story is quite unresolved. Emotional undertones are conveyed through a collage-like arrangement of short stories in the performance. More than just a slogan, “Survival is insufficient” decorates the side of the troupe’s wagon. It’s what keeps the characters alive from episode to episode. It is one of the best original movies you could watch on HBO Max.

8. Call Me By Your Name

This drama is one of the best of the 2010s. Timothee Chalamet plays a young man who comes into his own sexuality after being courted by an older man (Armie Hammer). It’s a fantastic drama because it feels so genuine, and the two characters and the incredible Michael Stuhlbarg give outstanding performances that ground the film.

  • Year: 2017
  • Runtime: Approximately 2 hours and six minutes.
  • Director: Luca Guadagnino.
  • IMDb: 7.8/10

9. Spirited Away

Why is Hayao Miyazaki’s “Spirited Away” considered by many to be his best film? Maybe it’s because he says his most important things about a young woman’s courage and determination, the ecstatic grandeur of flight, the spiritual conflict of personal and cultural forgetfulness with Japanese society, and the power of love to make things right. Maybe this is because the main story of the movie is so instantly recognizable: it’s about a child’s journey through a world that is both familiar and strange, like Alice in Wonderland.

Whatever the case may be, nothing beats a first viewing of “Spirited Away.” The scene where Chihiro (Rumi Hiiragi) runs frantically through the streets after discovering her parents had been turned into pigs is nothing short of amazing, with lights flickering into existence and spirits rising up from the earth. Hayao Miyazaki was first exposed to the public with films like Nausicaä, Princess Mononoke, and My Neighbor Totoro, but it was his work on Spirited Away that cemented his place as one of the all-time great animators. It is one of the best original movies you could watch on HBO Max.

  • Year: 2001
  • Director: Hayao Miyazaki
  • Stars: Rumi Hiiragi, Miyu Irino, Mari Natsuki, Yumi Tamai
  • Runtime: 125 minutes
  • IMDb: 8.6/10

10. The Batman

Various Batman interpretations, from the Snyderverse approach to LEGO Batman, have been thrown at us in recent years. The Batman by Matt Reeves is just one of many Batman films available, but it manages to feel like a new perspective on a character who has been adapted so many times. In the film, Robert Pattinson portrays Bruce Wayne, who tries and fails to eliminate Gotham City from crime while wearing an emo knight costume. The Penguin (Colin Farrell), owner of a seedy nightclub, and The Riddler, a criminal mastermind responsible for havoc throughout the city, don’t help matters much (Paul Dano). Despite our familiarity with Batman and Gotham Community, Reeves’ grim take on the Caped Crusader is compelling as we witness Bruce Wayne try to become the hero the city desperately needs. By Ross Bonaime.

  • Director: Matt Reeves
  • Authors: Matt Reeves and Peter Craig 
  • Star Cast: Robert Pattinson, Zo Kravitz, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, Colin Farrell, John Turturro, Peter Sarsgaard, and Andy Serkis.
  • IMDb: 7.9/10 

11. Elvis

Drama or musical? Whether or not you’re a Baz Luhrmann fan, it’s undeniable that the arts benefit whenever he’s given free rein to create a lavish extravaganza. His most recent work is the Elvis Presley biography Elvis, a rushed and bewildering carnival ride set in the 1950s. Here, a star is born in Austin Butler, who gives what could be the best film performance of the year as Presley, and it’s made even more perplexing by the fact that a gonzo Tom Hanks gives what is easily the worst film performance of the year and, if not of his career, then at least of his career to date, as Presley’s mustache-twirling cartoon villain of a manager Tom Parker. But how could I possibly complain or even care when Luhrmann, in his infinite cosmic genius, opted to compose a scene by combining “Viva Las Vegas” and “Toxic” by Britney Spears?

  • Year: 2022
  • Director: Baz Luhrmann 
  • Star Cast: Performers include Austin Butler, Tom Hanks, and Olivia DeJonge.
  • Type: Musical Drama
  • IMDb: 7.4/10

Also Read: Best Hulu New Releases To Watch Right Now

Unsa Faheem

Unsa Faheem is a seasoned content writer specializing in the streaming industry. With a keen eye for the latest trends in TV shows, movies, and celebrity culture, She brings her expertise and enthusiasm to each piece she writes. Her work is characterized by insightful analysis and a deep understanding of the evolving media landscape.
Education: Engaging Content and Marketing.

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