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TIFF19 is one day away! Some final thoughts

Hustlers stars Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu; courtesy of TIFF.


On September 5—the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival begins. For the ten days that follow, TIFF will screen 333 entries (245 features, 82 shorts, and six series). And Toronto will be the hub of the cinematic world.


In the previous month-plus, we’ve explored some under-the-radar selections and pondered the first batch of announcements. Here are some final thoughts on TIFF19.


Which film is this year’s hottest ticket?

That’s a tough one. Last year was easier thanks to the presence of one Lady Gaga. I’m going to take a guess that the hottest ticket in TO this time around is Hustlers, Lorene Scafaria’s tale of former strippers who team up for a risky chance to make the money they deserve. Why is Hustlers so hot? Four reasons: Jennifer Lopez, Cardi B, Constance Wu, and Lizzo. Who wouldn’t want to see this quartet in person?


If you really want to know what’s drawing the most attention from ticket-buyers, check out the festival’s availability list—and see what’s sold out. 


What are some films with killer buzz after Venice and Telluride?

Oh, yes. The three that most stand out are Waves, a family drama from It Comes at Night director Trey Edward Shults; Steven Soderbergh’s money laundering comedy, The Laundromat; and Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story. The latter, starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson, is being called the best film of the Frances Ha and Squid and the Whale director’s career.


What’s with all the awards?

Good question. TIFF is presenting several awards this year, to Meryl Streep, Joaquin Phoenix, Jojo Rabbit director Taika Waititi, and legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins. It likely comes down to finding new ways to accentuate the celebration factor—and find more reasons for gala parties. 


Any noteworthy special events?

In addition to the Tribute Gala on September 9, one of this year’s most unique is a performance from the Lumineers, after a screening of band documentary III on September 8. This is a big one, considering the “Hey Ho” and “Gloria” band’s popularity.


Also of interest are intimate conversations with Allison Janney, Antonio Banderas, Kerry Washington, and Just Mercy costars Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx.


Any standouts from the Canadian lineup?

All signs point to Joey Klein’s opioid drama Castle in the Ground, featuring a stellar cast—Imogen Poots, Alex Wolff, and Neve Campbell. It premieres on September 5. 


For folks planning to attend, what are three must-sees that might fall through the cracks?

Three that I did not mention in my look at some of TIFF19’s under-the-radar selections are The Other Lamb, Polish director Malgorzata Szumowska’s story of an all-female cult and its male spiritual leader; The Personal History of David Copperfield, a Dickens adaptation from savagely witty Veep creator Armando Iannucci; and The Sleepwalkers, Argentine director Paula Hernández’s Platform section entry about the relationship between a mother and daughter. All three sound uniquely involving. 


Why no Little Women or The Irishman?!

Sadly, the latest from Lady Bird’s Greta Gerwig skipped the fall festival circuit, and Martin Scorsese’s crime drama starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci is set for New York and London. But, look at all of the films mentioned above, and tell me TIFF does not more than make up for their absence. 


Friends, see you in Toronto!



Watch for more on TIFF19 here on BuffaloSpree.com and in Spree’s November issue.

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