TORONTO – If you’re always dreamed of going to Cannes for one of the world’s most famous film festivals, you can save yourself some air miles and some flying time by going to Canada instead. The annual Toronto Film Festival, around since 1976, is one of the largest film festivals in the world. This year, over 200 feature-length films, short films and documentaries from around the globe were screened, including many that you’ll see getting accolades during Oscar, Golden Globe and SAG Awards season in 2020. Here’s what we saw, heard and liked (or didn’t) during our time at the festival which continues through the 15th.
The Toronto Film Festival is the place to be if you want to spot, take pics or possibly encounter a celebrity. Every major celebrity with a film out is there and they will show up on the red carpets for the big premieres of the major movies. What great about it is that Toronto prepares by blocking off a portion of King Street, a major thoroughfare where the TIFF Lightbox building his which is the festival’s main hub. (The Lightbox holds film-related events all year-long. )This allows for fans to get pretty up close and personal with the stars as the premieres are set up for maximum access and most celebs work not just the red carpet, but the crowd, taking selfies with fans and interacting with them. I literally almost stumbled upon Kristen Stewart at the red carpet premiere for Seberg.
FAVORITE MOVIE WITH A BLACK PERSON IN IT THAT’S NOT A BLACK MOVIE
Susan Kelechi Watson from NBC’s mega-hit series This Is Us plays a woman married to Esquire magazine journalist Lloyd Vogel, (a pseudonym for real-life Esquire writer Tom Junod) whose life is changed by his celebrity profile of Fred Rogers, played by Tom Hanks, the host of the 70’s children’s TV show Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. Watson is excellent and the movie should be one of the early Oscar frontrunners coming out of TIFF. If you are old enough to remember Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, it will be a tearjerker for you, but director Marielle Heller said at one of the film’s screenings that people who had never heard of Mr. Rogers were moved by the movie. There is one extraordinary scene in the film that should resonate with audiences as it did in Toronto. Release Date: November 22
MOST SURPRISING MOVIE
You may have thought that Hustlers was just a superficial Jennifer Lopez vehicle about a bunch of strippers pulling off a few shady robberies but the movie is a lot more layered than that. Through the relationship of veteran stripper Ramona and her protegé, Destiny (Constance Wu) it explores the dynamics of toxic female friendship while also making a few salient points about sexuality, money and the limited choices of women with few resources. Lizzo and Cardi B make cameo appearances – (and Cardi’s is hilarious) but Keke Palmer gets a meatier role and does well with it. That growing Oscar buzz for Lopez is well-deserved. It’s one of the strongest performances of her career. Release date: September 13th