The 43rd annual Toronto International Film Festival is quickly approaching and anticipation from critics and fans is at an all-time high. The festival will play host to a plethora of movies including the world premieres of films from Barry Jenkins, Claire Denis, Steve McQueen, and Xavier Dolan — as well as welcome new films from Alfonso Cuaron, Damien Chazelle, and Bradley Cooper among many others. With approximately 300+ films being showcased during TIFF 2018, the Talkies Network team has picked the ten most must-see films for people attending the festival. These include films from both Hollywood as well as international offerings from the festival. So, without further-ado, here’s our picks for the ten most must-see films at TIFF 2018!
10. Anthropocene: The Human Epoch
The new Canadian documentary from Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier and Edward Burtynsky continues the collaboration that began with 2006’s Manufactured Landscapes and continued with 2013’s Watermark. The three filmmakers, who share directorial credit for the first time, take a dive deep into the impact of human development on our blue planet and the slow-but-serious disaster of climate change. What to look for in this much-needed documentary is Burtynsky’s always-stunning visuals mixed together with Baichwal and de Pencier’s signature intellectual precision that looks to capture what we-as-humans have unfortunately done, and continue to do, to our planet.
Alfonso Cuaron truly is a master of cinema. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban took us on arguably the most exciting journey through the Wizarding World. Y Tu Mama Tambien took us on a road trip that would come to define the lives of those involved. In Children of Men, Cuaron showed us a devastating future where humans have lost the ability to reproduce, and chaos reigns supreme. Gravity showcased the determination of one woman and her drive to return home from orbit. This brings us to 2018 where Cuaron is set to debut his most personal film yet, Roma, which acts as both semi-autobiographical and as an intimate tale for one Mexican family. Cuaron wrote, directed, and acted as cinematographer for Roma, which recently held its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival and received rave reviews from critics everywhere. Do I even have to list any more reasons to see this international hit?
8. Green Book
Directed by Peter Farrelly, one half of the directing duo behind Dumb and Dumber and There’s Something About Mary, comes Green Book. The story chronicles the real-life tour of the Deep South in the 1960s by Jamaican-American classical pianist Don Shirley and New York bouncer Tony Lip, who served as Shirley’s driver and security. Starring Hollywood heavyweights like Mahershala Ali (best supporting actor winner for Moonlight), Viggo Mortensen and Linda Cardellini, the film seeks to recount a tale of true friendship during a turbulent time and we can’t wait to see this unique film come together at this year’s festival.
A film that critics at this year’s Cannes Film Festival called a “crowning achievement,” Shoplifters, which also won the Palme d’Or, will make its North American debut at TIFF this year. The film tells the story of a family that has taken in a little girl. The family doesn’t have much, thus they have to resort to petty crime and shoplifting to earn money. They raise the girl as one of their own until it is discovered who the little girl might belong to. Director Kore-eda has been on an incredible hot streak over the course of the last few years with his films Like Father, Like Son, Our Little Sister, After the Storm, and The Third Murder all examining different aspects of family life. If the reviews at Cannes are anything to go off of, Shoplifters might be his greatest film yet.
6. If Beale Street Could Talk
Following his last film, Moonlight, which as you may recall, won best picture at last year’s Oscars in what may be the craziest moment in the awards show’s history, Barry Jenkins is back with If Beale Street Could Talk. Adapted from James Baldwin’s novel of the same name, the film chronicles the story of Tish and Foony. Tish is only 19 years old but is pregnant from the love of her life, Fonny. The big problem is that Fonny has been accused of a crime he did not commit. With Moonlight, Jenkins gave a personal, inside look into the struggles of a young black man living in poor America. Now, he looks to put a lens of young love as well as take a look into how the judicial system reacts to the supposed crimes of a young black man. If this film proves anything it will be that Jenkins is slowly but surely becoming one of the most crucial voices working in film today.
Jonah Hill’s directorial debut comes in the form of the Mid90s, a film that deals with a young boy becoming friends with a group of young skaters in, you guessed it, the mid 90’s. The boy must also deal with his rough family life, something that undoubtedly leads him to finding solace within this group of edgy skaters. Hill looks to be pulling from various sources of inspiration with this drama, most notably, in my opinion, Kids, a film so controversial, it earned an NC-17 rating from the MPAA. Directorial debuts are almost always hit or miss but Hill seems to have all the pieces in the right spot here. A terrific cast featuring Lucas Hedges and Katherine Waterston, beautiful cinematography and that A24 independent filmmaking feel. When all is said and done, Mid90s could be the festival’s biggest and best surprise.
Steve McQueen is finally back with his first film since the phenomenal 12 Years A Slave with Widows. The feature follows four women whose criminal husbands have left them in a world of trouble. After a crime job leaves all of them dead, wives, played by Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, and Cynthia Erivo, are left to take on the debts they left behind. All four must come together to take control of the situation or lose their lives in the process. Now, if that is not exciting enough, McQueen scripted the film with Gone Girl and Sharp Objects author Gillian Flynn. With a powerhouse creative team and an ensemble cast, Widows looks to take the world by storm when it debuts this year at TIFF.
Did you ever think we would get yet another Halloween film? And not only that, one that ignores all the mediocre sequels that came before it? Directed by David Gordon Green, who co-wrote the film with Danny McBride, Halloween acts as a true sequel to the original classic. It has been 40 years since the events that led to Michael Myers killing spree on Halloween and now, he is back and Strode is set to have yet another (maybe final) confrontation with the iconic movie monster. With a musical score from original director John Carpenter, will Michael Myers get his revenge on Laurie Strode or will she be able to survive his torment once again? You will have to find out at this year’s Midnight Madness!
2. Beautiful Boy
I think Timothee Chalamet just has a thing for the best picture category at the Oscars. Starting with Lady Bird and the moving onto the smash-hit Call Me By Your Name, Chalamet is back this year with Beautiful Boy. Starring alongside Steve Carrell, the film is centered on Nic Sheff, a young man who is struggling with meth addiction and the hard battle to overcome it. The film will be told through the eyes of his father David, played by Carrell as he tries to get his son the help he needs while Nic continues down a dangerous path. Trailers for the film thus far have shown some incredible moments between Carell and Chalamet that will tug on every heartstring you have. Do you smell that? That’s the Oscars preparing to nominate this film for just about everything.
1. First Man
The biopic of one of humanity’s greatest achievements, Damien Chazelle and Ryan Gosling reunite to chronicle the life of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. Written by Josh Singer, who based the screenplay on the book First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong by James R. Hansen, Chazelle’s First Man follows the year’s leading up to the fateful Apollo 11 mission. Based on the trailers alone, the film already boasts incredible visual effects (comparable to Interstellar and Gravity), an amazing supporting cast led by Claire Foy and yet another classic musical score from Justin Hurwitz. Now include the fact that First Man held its premiere at the Venice Film Festival and critics and fans are already calling the film the front runner for this year’s Academy Awards. It’s bold, heartfelt and above all else, daring and it is Talkies Network’s pick for the most must-see film at TIFF 2018!
Honourable Mentions: A Star is Born, The Hate U Give, The Front Runner, 22 July, Burning & Outlaw King
What is your most anticipated film screening at TIFF 2018? Let us know in the comments down below!