As the world (read: paparazzi, film critics, international media, celebrities) descends on Toronto, it’s hard not to get excited about Canada’s time in the Hollywood spotlight. With a robust and prestigious roster of films of every sort—indies, animated shorts, underdogs hoping to find a distributor— TIFF has gained a reputation as the coolest, most laid-back festival (due to its non-competitive nature—so Canadian!). It’s an ideal showcase for films that hope to garner some buzz that could take them straight to the Oscars (like 12 Years a Slave), while others might find that they aren’t quite ready for the spotlight (but don’t worry, there’ll be no Cannes-style booing here).
So, what’s the buzz about this year?
LGBTQ On Screen
LGBTQ films will be featured prominently at TIFF, with the most attention-grabbing title going to reigning Best Actor Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne’s The Danish Girl. Freeheld, the true story of lesbian life partners fighting for pension spousal rights, is sure to bring out a killer red carpet with stars Ellen Page and Julianne Moore. And About Ray, starring Elle Fanning as a New York teen transitioning from female to male, has piqued our interest with the multi-generational story arc (Ray’s mother and grandmother are played by Naomi Watts and Susan Sarandon, respectively) and the struggle Ray faces amongst his peers and with his absentee father, played by Tate Donovan.
Where to Invade Next
Controversial documentary filmmaker Michael Moore’s satirical take on America’s industrial war complex—an idea he told EW has been “percolating for 20 to 30 years.” Moore loves to make a splash with his provocative liberalism, and celebrities like Pharrell are already praising his new work. While documentaries tend to have more subdued red carpet, if there’s an exception to the rule, this will be it.
Our Brand Is Crisis
TIFF favourite (oh who are we kidding, everyone’s favourite!) Sandra Bullock will be walking the red carpet for Our Brand Is Crisis, where she plays a kind of Olivia Pope on steroids. As a crisis PR manager for politicians, she goes head-to-head against her rival, Billy Bob Thornton, in an attempt to fix a Bolivian presidential election.
Have a thing for hot Brits? Then you’ll be pleased to know that there will be double the Hardy at TIFF this year. Legend deals with Brit gangsters the Kray brothers, twins who wreaked havoc on the London crime scene in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Tom Hardy plays both roles, so he’ll certainly show up to promote the film. In a suit. On the red carpet. With his dog? (Pllleeease?) Double the Hardy, double the hotness.
The Family Fang
Book-to-film adaptations about families can be tricky—and sometimes the story just doesn’t gel (sorry, August: Osage County). Our hopes are high for The Family Fang though; we want to see Nicole Kidman soar on screen like we know she can, no one does straight-faced befuddlement better than director Jason Bateman and Christopher Walken is perfectly cast as the Fang patriarch who turns his disappearance into performance art.