September came quickly and while I am sad to see summer go, I couldn’t be more excited for the months to change (and no it’s not for the pumpkin flavoured everything). Having started on September 10th and running until the 20th Toronto gets a little taste of Hollywood through TIFF, and it is my favourite time of year in the city. While it might be my small town girl making an appearance, and the fact that I am a bit of a pop culture junkie I can’t help but get excited about the celebrities, premieres and parties that come along for the festival. More importantly, I love film and am ecstatic that so many amazing films will get their start here. Living in Toronto, I can get a first look at a few of these highly anticipated movies. I have put together a list of the films I am most excited for, and that I feel will really be worth seeing during the festival if you get the chance.
- Black Mass: Johnny Depp is perhaps one of my favourite people on this earth. I love all of his films, his eccentric characters, his passion for the arts, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that he is dead sexy. With that being said, I promise I am not being biased when I tell you to keep an eye out for Black Mass at TIFF this year. Black Mass is a film based on the life of notorious, violent gangster Whitey Bulgar who is the brother of a state senator and becomes an FBI informant to take down a rival Mafia family. This film is filled with talented actors; Johnny Depp, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Kevin Bacon, just to name a few. The film’s director, Scott Cooper, is another highly regarded artist having directed academy award winning Crazy Heart. This film is already getting plenty of buzz and being equipped with a star studded cast, talented director, and interesting plot Black Mass is not one to be missed this year.
- Violet: When I was looking through the film announcements Violet immediately caught my attention. At first it was the striking images in the photo that had me stop and see what this film was about, next it was the synopsis that really struck a chord with me. It is a short animated film but the message is beautiful. This short tells the cautionary tale of a young girl who despises her reflection, having put up with too much cruelty; Violet’s reflection decides she has had enough. If you appreciate animation with a good story, than this is the short for you and something I think so many of us can relate to or understand.
- The Danish Girl: Academy award winner, Eddie Redmayne is catching attention again this year with yet another critically acclaimed film to follow his outstanding performance in The Theory of Everything, with The Danish Girl. Eddie Redmayne plays the part of Lili Elbe, who was a Danish, transgender artist in the 1920s and one of the first people to receive sexual reassignment surgery. This biopic follows the love story between Lili and her wife, Gerda Wegener, as their relationship evolves and they navigate through Lili’s journey and the changes that this brings to their relationship. This film is an important one by displaying what it was like for one of the first out transgender people, as well as how relationships adapt and reestablish themselves when faced with change. The Danish Girl is sure to be another hit for Eddie Redmayne and likely another best actor nomination as well.
- The Lady in the Van: The Lady in the Van stars the fabulous Maggie Smith as a high born woman who has faced hard times and is now homeless living in a van, which she has decided to park in a man’s driveway…for fifteen years. This film shows their unlikely friendship and unexpected bond. The film is a true story based off of a play written by Alan Bennet, who wrote about his own experience with Miss Shepherd who lived in his driveway for some time. This film sounds not only fun, but both heartwarming and heartbreaking, with an important message reminding us to be tolerant and helpful to our fellow man.
- Beasts of No Nation: Idris Elba is another actor that I’ve become a big fan of lately, after his incredible performance as Nelson Mandela in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. In this he really showed off his acting chops, and after seeing his performances I am really looking forward to seeing him in a more villainous role in Beasts of No Nation. Beasts of No Nation is about a young boy, Agu, who is forced into becoming a child soldier for a rebel army led by a ruthless commandant (Elba). The film is a novel adaptation and is directed by Carey Fukunaga, who also directs True Detective. Beasts of No Nation is sure to be a thrilling and powerful film that by the sounds of it will be well worth the watch.
- Casual: Is an episodic comedy about love and sex in the modern age. It is directed by Canadian and TIFF favourite, Jason Reitman who also directed Juno, Up in the Air, and Thank You for Smoking, which are all hilarious and quirky films (if you haven’t seen one of these films I suggest you do, stat!) and Casual is sure to follow suit. The first two episodes are premiering at Tiff with the rest of the series still being in production. Go and check out Casual if you are in search of a new original comedy to continue on with even once you have left the theatre and arrived home to lounge on the couch!
These are just a few of some of the movies I am most excited about coming to Toronto. There are so many more incredible looking films I am hoping to check out during TIFF. To take a look at the full list of films being shown at TIFF this year click the link below and let me know which films you are most excited about.