Toronto Film Festival (TIFF). A place where A-list celebs go to get their artistic rocks off and show the world that they are real, true artists. It’s also a place for ‘cinema’ to stretch its legs and have its genres challenged, with viewers embracing hard-hitting content designed to provoke major emotional responses, as well as have their funny bones tickles.
For the rest of us, Toronto Film Festival is a place full of hidden gems – a cinema goers delight, if you will. This year was no less impressive than last, and unlike some other film crucibles, Netflix was very much allowed to participate, undoubtedly keeping traditional studios and creative teams alike, on their toes (which means better flicks for us). From imaginary nazis to harrowing tales of the death of love, this year’s TIFF was not without an abundance of creativity and startling performances. But from the oodles of films that were showcased this year, only a few deserve the spotlight (and your hard-earned coin).
So here it is, Man Of Many’s essential list of Movies From The 2019 Toronto International Film Festival You Have To See – be sure to keep your screen-addled eyes peeled for upcoming releases at your local independent cinema.
Jojo The Rabbit
A coming of age tale laced with totally fresh, but utterly classic Taika Watiti comedy, Jojo The Rabbit’ follows a young boy called Jojo who’s emotional growing pains happen to take place during WW2. During this time, Jojo manifests an imaginary best friend, who also happens to be Hitler (played by Taika), perhaps as a way of coping with the war (or the impending arrival underarm hair). Despite some mixed reviews from critics – some hailed it as a towering masterpiece and others simply couldn’t groove to the off-beat that Taika was playing – audiences bloody loved it (the film took out the coveted Audience Choice Award) and with stars Sam Rockwell and Scarlett Johanson on the bill, we think you will too.
Resurrecting the ‘whodunnit’ Knives Out was brought to us by the Director of an ‘Ok’ Star Wars film – and hopefully a better mystery movie. Rian Johnson’s Knives Out stars a breathtaking line up of talent, including Ana De Armas (heck yeah), Chris Evans, Christopher Plumber, Toni Collette, Katherine Langford, Jamie Lee Curtis, Daniel Craig and so many, many more. One of the more mainstream titles to feature at this year’s International Toronto Film Festival, Knives Out was received quite well, and may just be a breath of fresh air in a somewhat forgotten genre.
Don’t be fooled by the heavy-handed title – Marriage Story is a blisteringly bittersweet film from Noah Baumbach that will undoubtedly have you crying into a pillow before the final credits roll – as it did for many at Toronto International Film Festival. Starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johanson (she’s clearly trying to wash off that dirty Marvel success), Marriage Story is an about a couple trying to keep their divorce from affecting the kids, navigating custody and parenting clashes at every turn. But the heart of the film is in the minutia – the little things that make up day-to-day life with your Paramore – and how what you love about someone can eventually be the catalyst for the end of it all. This is one not to be missed.
Sound Of Metal
Starring Riz Ahmed (Venom, Rogue One), Sound Of Metal is the story of a former-addict and proper rocker, battling with the journey towards total hearing loss. Being a film about music, naturally, the sound editing is impeccable – notably, a total lack thereof during key moments throughout the film. Director. An exploration of character, Sound Of Metal is the movie that is letting the world know that Ahmed is a formidable character actor, who in five years may just be one of the biggest stars on the planet. Darius Marder should also be applauded for his naturalistic style of directing, his ability to work a camera is uncanny at times.
We never thought the day would come that a film starring Adam bloody Sandler would crack 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. Let alone scrape 95%. And yet here we are, hat in hand letting you know that the crazy bastard has done it, showing us that a leopard can change its spots (albeit temporarily, let’s not forget the 0% rated Ridiculous 6 was not so long ago). The film centres around a jeweller (Sandler) who comes into possession of a humungous and very valuable gem as he attempts to sell it at auction. Naturally, things go awry, and a whole bunch of very ‘NY’ things happen in between, and yet that’s exactly where the magic of the film lies. We can’t stress how good this movie is – Uncut Gems may just be a New York cinema masterpiece – so be sure to check your local indie cinema for showings.
The big one. The follow up to Heath Ledgers utterly legendary performance, Joker is the film on every critic’s lips and in the minds of anyone who calls themselves a vague DC fan. Majorly hyped due to an exquisite teaser trailer, Joker has a huge weight on its shoulders – and we can breathe a sigh of relief because it would appear that Joaquin phoenix is just the messed up individual to bear the burden. Twisted and perfectly stylised, the journey of Arthurs descent from pathetic and downtrodden to the fully empowered and totally mad Joker is a path you’ll want to tread, time upon time.
Ford Vs Ferrari
A total man-flick, one that you can use for revenge with your S.O if they’ve ever dragged you to see ‘Sex And The City 2’ or ‘Bridget Jone’s Baby’, Ford Vs Ferrari is fast, ferocious and a very bloody good film. Starring Matt Damon as a hyper-southern car designer, and Christian Bale as a race car driver that exists in an almost mythic space, the film is as it sounds – the true story of how Ford set out to take down the Italian motoring giant Ferrari with a campaign built off the sweat blood and tears of a few visionaries (naturally, throughout the film there are many who cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel, so expect to be frustrated periodically).
Starring Michael B. Jordan, Just Mercy is inspired by a true story, and what a story it is. Not as hyped as some other TIFF debuts, Just Mercy is a beautifully understated legal drama, that is not without its crescendo’s crucial commentary and depictions of real abuse. B. Jordan’s character is a burgeoning young lawyer fresh out of Harvard who helps inmate Walter Macmillion (Jamie Foxx) fight his charge of murdering a young white girl. Fighting alongside him is Brie Larson, with a performance that will remind you of how good she was in ‘Room’.