Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit is among the most buzz-worthy films at this year’s festival — here are others you’ll want to catch at TIFF (or check out in theatres soon).
Whether you’re lucky enough to be able to catch the Toronto International Film Festival in person or just look to TIFF to get a glimpse of all the exciting movies soon to be in theatres and on the awards circuit, ￼here’s a list of films to put on your list.
As one of the top film fests in the world, alongside the likes of Cannes, Venice and Sundance, TIFF has become the place where Oscar contenders are born (just last year, Green Book became an instant awards darling hot off its world premiere at the festival, going on to win Best Picture at the Oscars). We’re willing to bet that a few names from this list will pop up as nominees this year!
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
One of our most beloved actors is taking on the role of another American treasure. Tom Hanks stars as children’s TV show host Fred Rogers in this biopic, directed by Marielle Heller, that follows Mr. Rogers’s friendship with journalist Tom Junod (Matthew Rhys). The film promises to be heartwarming and uplifting, much like an episode of the popular TV series. You’ll want to bring tissues for this one.
Ford v Ferrari
A film that looks to be just as thrilling as the race car challenge it’s based on, Ford v Ferrari showcases this epic true event in high-speed fashion. Starring Matt Damon as American car designer Carroll Shelby and Christian Bale as driver Ken Miles, this is the story of two men who work together to take down the Ferrari team at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans race in France. This film is poised to pop up in another race: the Oscars.
Guaranteed to be a hot ticket, Hustlers boasts one of the most high-profile casts at the festival, including Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, Lili Reinhart, Cardi B. and Lizzo. The film tells the crazy true tale of a group of strippers who drugged and stole from their clients to make ends meet. It’s based on a viral article in New York Magazine written by Jessica Pressler, and it’s directed by Lorene Scafaria, so there’s lots of powerful women at the forefront of this exciting film.
It takes a fearless creative to make a movie about a child whose imaginary friend is Adolf Hitler. Enter Taika Waititi, a filmmaker and comedian whose star power is growing exponentially. He gained popularity through offbeat homegrown comedies like Hunt for the Wilderpeople and his work for Marvel (he directed Thor: Ragnarok and will return for the sequel). One of the wildest studio films we’ve seen, Jojo Rabbit is an anti-hate satire about a little boy confronting his own nationalism during the Second World War, and it stars Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson and the director himself. You can bet it will be the most talked about movie at this year’s festival.
Whether you’re a fan of superhero films or deep character dives, there are plenty of reasons to be excited about Joker. Director Todd Phillips is taking the infamous character and studying him in an unconventional new take that’s totally outside the realm of your average DC comic book adaptation. Get ready to see a gritty crime film and an engrossing character study that will uncover the origins of the complicated villain. Joaquin Phoenix is stepping into very big shoes, but early predictions suggest the talented actor delivers an awards-worthy, possibly career-best performance. The fact that Joker is making festival rounds tells us this is much more than a comic book film: It’s a true awards contender.
Judy Garland’s legendary life was one marked with tragedy, and Renée Zellweger may emerge as an Oscar front-runner for her turn as the icon. Based on the Broadway play The End of the Rainbow, the film takes place in 1969 and follows Garland through a string of sold-out concerts in London. This will be a major comeback role for Zellweger, who’s joined by a strong supporting cast that includes Jessie Buckley, Finn Wittrock and Michael Gambon.
Independent filmmaker Destin Daniel Cretton may soon become a household name with his latest, Just Mercy. The director could be credited with boosting the careers of Brie Larson, Rami Malek and Kaitlyn Dever (they all starred in his sensational indie hit Short Term 12, about foster-care workers). He reunites with Larson and recruits Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx to tell the true story of a falsely accused death row prisoner and the lawyer who fought to save him.
It’s been almost 20 years since actor Edward Norton stepped behind the camera, and now he’s back to directing with this film noir. He cast himself as detective Lionel Essrog, a man with Tourette’s syndrome who is on a quest to solve the murder of his mentor and best friend, played by Bruce Willis. Norton has been working on this passion project for years, as he was attached to a film adaptation shortly after the novel it’s based on was published in 1999.
Based on the Pulitzer Prize–winning novel by Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch is about a boy who is taken in by a wealthy family after his mother dies in a terrorist attack at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We can’t wait to see the nearly 800-page book — an instant classic and a literary achievement — brought to life on the big screen, with John Crowley directing and an exciting cast led by Ansel Elgort, Nicole Kidman and Sarah Paulson.
Robert Eggers burst onto the scene with his feature film debut, The Witch, a terrifying period piece set in the 1600s about a family torn apart by the forces of black magic. Everyone has patiently waited to see what he’d do next, and his newest project, The Lighthouse, certainly won’t disappoint. Already receiving rave reviews from the Cannes Film Festival, this horror movie follows two lighthouse keepers (Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson) in the 1800s who slowly descend into madness. It looks like Eggers has another hit on his hands.