The news from the Toronto International Film Festival isn’t all bad, as many clear Oscar contenders are emerging from the esteemed movie-thon that is TIFF.
There are a variety of highly anticipated movies premiering to resounding reviews, as well as some independent films that are scoring exceptional reviews and finding their way into awards discussions.
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“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” “Knives Out,” “The Lighthouse,“ “The Report,” “The Aeronauts,” “Ford V Ferrari” and “Joker” are all movies highly anticipated and, so far, delivering in a big way.
As predicted, Tom Hanks is apparently the perfect choice for Mr. Rogers in “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” and word is he delivered a true, heartfelt performance as the man who touched so many lives. Beyond his performance, the movie is receiving grand reviews and should be a player in many categories come awards season.
Praised for its bold retelling of the iconic villain’s origins and its character study approach, many have written that “Joker” may not only be this year’s top film, but a perfect one with a true tour de force performance from acclaimed method actor Joaquin Phoenix in the title role. Expect a mentally and physically bruising turn from Phoenix as the audience will see the timid neglected Arthur Fleck transform into the murderous Joker.
While fans and critics were divided to an extreme over Rian Johnson’s last film, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” his newest whodunit mystery is hitting critics in all the right ways. “Knives Out” features an absurdly deep cast and blends comedy with all the dark, serious beats necessary to pull off the quirky genre of old. The word is the film is excitingly unpredictable with a bang of a modern twist.
“Uncut Gems,” “Waves” and “Marriage Story” are a few of the films that flew under the radar to this point, yet are making a splash at TIFF.
The Safdie brothers are following their 2017 indie success, ‘Good Time,’ with a crime thriller film called ‘Uncut Gems,’ set for a Christmas release. The film is receiving near-perfect reviews so far and stars Adam Sandler, retired NBA star Kevin Garnett, The Weeknd, Idina Menzel and LaKeith Stanfield. Yes, you read all those names right.
The craziest part is the Safdie brothers may be putting Adam Sandler in the best actor race for the Oscar — a sentence some thought would never be uttered.
According to IMDb, Sandler’s character is a jewelry store owner and dealer to the rich and famous who must find a way to pay his debts when his merchandise is taken from one of his top sellers and girlfriend.
“Waves,” and “Marriage Story” are also receiving near perfect reviews and are both dramas centered around family struggle. Early reviews are saying both films feature powerful performances and hit realistic emotional beats which will shake you to your core.
“Waves” is somewhat of a coming of age story starring Sterling K. Brown, “Euphoria” star Alexa Demie, Lucas Hedges and Kelvin Harrison Jr.
“Marriage Story” is about a marriage breaking up as the family stays together, pitting A-listers Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver opposite of each other with Laura Dern in a supporting role.
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Movies such as “Lucy in the Sky” and “Motherless Brooklyn” are potentially fit for awards season but are yet to be screened and reviewed at TIFF, though they will be over the next couple days.
TIFF ends Sept. 15 and while many movies have not and will not air at TIFF, movie nerds like myself are thankful for film festivals such as this for previewing some of fall’s biggest releases and helping us decide which movies are worthy of our money.