The only thing film festival audiences seem to love more than the movies they watch is standing up to applaud them—for puzzling lengths of time. Film Twitter has become obsessed with the prolonged standing ovation, which has recently become a hallmark of the film festival experience and a source of mockery on social media.
From Cannes to Venice to Toronto, the toll audiences seem to pay for early viewings of potential awards contenders is standing for minutes at a time in their finest formal attire while clapping their hands raw. Apparently, the longer a movie is lauded by grown adults impersonating trained seals, the better the movie is? Honestly, this practice is as cringe as it is fascinating. Deep down, we all know that timing a film’s ovation is not a meaningful metric, but, to paraphrase Owen Wilson’s character in The Royal Tenenbaums, “Maybe it is?”
The A.V. Club decided to put this applause-meter approach under scrutiny, so we revisited 2022’s high-profile film festivals and compiled a list of movies that, if ovations are any indication, deserve a spot on your must-see list as we rocket into awards season.