It’s that time again, the Toronto International Film Festival is here. With 10 days of incredible screenings from around the world, it’s difficult to choose which films to wait in those long lines for. To help you in your decision making, we’ve rounded up our top five must-see movies from the festival’s roster. Enjoy the show!
In one of his final performances, the late Cory Monteith stars alongside Kevin Zegers, Emily Hampshire and Karine Vanasse in All the Wrong Reasons. The feature debut of Canadian director, Gia Milani, the drama revolves around the relationships between four people working in a department store, bonded and separated by the struggle of coping with the aftermath of their own personal tragedies.
Ranging from store manager, James Asher (Monteith), endevor to help his wife’s (Vanasse) daily battle with post-traumatic stress disorder to cashier Nicole’s (Hampshire) difficulties as a single mother to store security guard (Zegers) with a lost dream and a wounded soul, the film offers the viewer glimpses into its character’s internal conflicts and suppressed (or not so suppressed) everyday melancholy.
An intelligent balance of drama and comedy, All the Wrong Reasons showcases the talent of some of Canada’s best young actors.
A handful of Hollywood favourites star in this romantic drama about a heartbroken, aspiring musician who is forced to pursue her life’s goals solo, after her long term boyfriend breaks up their relationship.
Kiera Knightly stars as Greta, the troubled songstress opposite Mark Ruffalo, a onetime noteworthy indie record exec in need of a fresh start, one he finds in producing Greta’s demo — you romantics are already getting excited. And, being a musical and all, it makes sense that Maroon 5’s Adam Levine should make an appearance — he plays Greta’s no-good ex, Dave — alongside fellow musician, Cee Lo Green, who takes the screen as hip hop celebrity, Trouble Gum.
Viewers fearful that romance plus musical equals cheese, have nothing to worry about with director John Carney of Oscar-winning Once fame helming the film.
A sweet picture with depth enough to keep even non-romantics in their seats, Can a Song Save Your Life breathes hope into, and provides comedic relief from the emotional heartbreak of a broken relationship, insisting that happiness can come from within yourself, once you stop looking for it in other people.
The PhDs out there argue science can change the way you love, and that is precisely what London-based director, Sarah McCarthy, hopes to showcase with her fourth documentary, The Dark Matter of Love. Tracking the ups and downs of the Diaz family and their recent idea of adopting three Russian orphans — Masha, an eleven year old girl and Vadim and Marcel, two five year old twin boys — the film is a study in human emotion.
The Diaz’s already have their own biological daughter, Cami. Although a big and loving family is what Claudio and Cheryl Diaz dream of, the family system begins to dismantle as a result of Cami ‘s resentment towards the others and the fact that she is being forced to learn how to share her parents, on top of the parents’ struggle to raise three children, who grew up in a federal institution.
After seeking professional help, the Diaz’s are told of a method that incorporates science into creating a new form of love, which focuses on environment and learned mannerisms. But will it work, asks the documentary. Not only does the film provide an emotional and private look into the life of this family, but it’s subject is timely, converging with Russian leader Vladamir Putin’s adoption ban, passed at the end of 2012.
The matter of helping adaptation amongst the adopted is carefully examined by McCarthy, providing audiences with a telling human perspective on a much-debated political issue.
What would you do if a large lump sum of money lay in wait for you? What if it was from your deceased father whom you were estranged from? Go after it, of course. At least, that’s what childhood best friends Ben Baker and Steve Dallas decide to do once they catch wind of such news.
America’s funnymen are back with The Hangover’s hysterical Zach Galifianakis playing Ben and Owen Wilson in the role of his best buddy, the womanizing local weatherman, Steve. As the story goes in all great buddy comedies, the “well-meaning” big brother friend (Steve) convinces the easily -swayed little brother friend (Ben) to embark on a road trip to claim the large sum of money. Before they can make it to the money though, the duo are met with some interruptions including a legal battle incited by Ben’s sister (Amy Poehler), who also wants her share of the green. Directed by Matthew Weiner — creator of AMC’s smash television hit Mad Men — You Are Here marks Weiner’s big screen directorial debut.
A buddy flick destined for the comedy canon, this is one of the best comedies that TIFF has to offer this year.
Wolverine star Hugh Jackman gets real-life serious for this suspense packed crime thriller that sees him starring opposite Jake Gyllenhal.
Jackman plays Keller Dover, a small town carpenter whose six-year-old daughter and her best friend are kidnapped on Thanksgiving day. Gyllenhal plays the lead detective on the case that goes by the name of Loki. In a feverish cinematic thrill, Dover kidnaps the man (Ivan Dando) whom he thinks is solely responsible for his daughter’s disappearance after he is released by the police, and, convinced that both girls are still alive, takes the law into his own hands by holding the man captive in an attempt to find out their whereabouts.
Proving his finesse as a director, Montreal’s Denis Villeneuve heightens the audience’s suspense to seat-clenching-levels once it becomes evident that the more Dover obsesses over this man, the closer he comes to losing himself completely. A newbie to TIFF, Villeneuve demonstrates though Prisoners, why he is already a name on the international festival circuit.
Published September 6, 2013