The Toronto International Film Festival might just be Canada's biggest cultural export (Drake, don't @ me). Each year, Toronto becomes a barometer for what are set to be the biggest films of the year, such as last year's Moonlight.
This year's festival features 25 world premieres including highly anticipated movies from big names like Guillermo Del Toro to debuts from buzzed about directors like Haifa Al-Mansour. Here's what we are looking forward to, either as future Oscar winners or as straight-to-VOD disasters.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Director: Martin McDonagh
Martin McDonagh's last film Seven Psychopaths was a violent, beautiful masterpiece with a lot of heart (although, a little unloved.). With Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, it looks like McDonagh is recreating that magic once again. Starring Frances McDormand as a bad-ass grieving mother, the film focuses on challenging local police officers (played by Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson who both starred in Seven Psychopaths) over the murder of her daughter. After erecting three billboards (as the title suggests) all hell breaks loose in the small Missouri town. The trailer features a lot of swearing and violence, but because it's about a mom and her dead daughter—it will probably make you cry.
Director: Dee Rees
Based on the 2008 novel of the same name, Mudbound premiered at Sundance to and was purchased by Netflix for a hefty $12.5 million—one of the biggest sales of the festival. Called a "masterful film of racial divide in 1940s Mississippi" the film Stars Garrett Hedlund, Carey Mulligan and Mary J. Blige, follows the story of a family who relocates to from Memphis to the middle of nowhere in Mississippi where they must grapple with racism in a post World War II America. Early reviews of the movie have been overwhelmingly positive, meaning it could be some major Oscar bait.
Battle of the Sexes
Directors: Valerie Faris, Jonathan Dayton
The last time Emma Stone and Steve Carrell starred in a movie together they played father and daughter in one of the last great romantic comedies ever made, Crazy, Stupid, Love. Now, they pair up to play Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs in movie based off the historic 1973 tennis match. Billie Jean King (Stone) was one of the best female tennis players at the time and also happened to be a staunch advocate for women's rights, Bobby Riggs (Carrell) was way past his prime and a total asshole. While the movie certainly looks like it took artistic liberties (Stone isn't exactly a dead-ringer for King), it's sure to be a delightful romp that will once again thrust the real life Billie Jean King into the spotlight she so deserves (she seems to be teaching Stone a thing or two about feminism)
Director: Craig Gillespie
Making its world premiere at TIFF, I, Tonya stars Margot Robbie as Tonya Harding. As someone who was barely conscious when the GOAT Tonya Harding hired someone to smash her rival Nancy Kerrigan's right leg, I'm already obsessed with this movie. There's no trailer or real footage out yet, which makes the movie all the more exciting. It could be a total shitshow or totally amazing.
The Shape of Water
Director: Guillermo Del Toro
Perhaps one of the most anticipated movies to appear at the festival, based upon the trailer's release this July The Shape of Water was quickly got Twitter buzzing. Reminding audiences of Del Toro's classic Pan's Labyrinth the movie stars Sally Hawkins, Octavia Spencer and the always creepy Michael Shannon. Playing a mute woman at a lab, Hawkins befriends (and seems to fall in love with) a sea monster—only for Shannon (who seems to be an evil scientist) to get in the way. Count me in.
Long Time Running
Directors: Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier
Getting tickets to Gord Downie's final Tragically Hip concerts was nearly impossible for many, luckily Long Time Running follows the band throughout their 2016 tour until their final concert. Half concert documentary, half Gord Downie tribute—the film will definitely make Canadians of a certain age cry their ass off.
Director: Haifa al-Mansour
Following the success of her controversial film Wajda, Saudi Arabia's first big name female director Haifa Al-Mansour tackles Frankenstein author Mary Shelley's (Elle Fanning) romance with "Ozymandias" poet Percy Bysse Shaw (Douglas Booth), who was allegedly inspired Shelley to write Frankenstein. The movie premieres at TIFF and while not much is known yet, beyond one press photo of writing, the film will hopefully give us a glimpse into one of the most successful female authors to have ever existed and one of the pillars of horror.
The Mountain Between Us
Director: Hany Abu-Assad
In 2017, there are simply not enough disaster romances. Luckily for us, Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad (who's been twice nominated for Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film) made The Mountain Between Us, based on a novel of the same name. The film stars Kate Winslet and Idris Elba (HELLO) who play a doctor and journalist and the sole survivors of a plane crash. Seems like the perfect movie for anyone who loves beautiful people, romance and tragedy. Do they fall in love? Probably. I mean, who wouldn't?
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