Ottawa Life at TIFF: Must See Movies at the Festival

Ottawa Life Magazine's resident film buff Keith Whittier is on the scene as our correspondent for the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Here's his first report on some of his top TIFF picks!

Brad’s Status

From the director of ‘School of Rock,’ Mike White, comes a film that sees Ben Stiller play a father who is touring US colleges with his son and starts to reflect on his own life and accomplishments.

C’est la vie

No stranger to TIFF is the directing team of Oliver Nakache and Eric Toledano ('Les Intouchables,' 'Samba') comes their new film about a wedding party from the point of view from the staff.

Colin Geddes’ Farewell to Midnight Madness

Midnight Madness is one of the popular programs at TIFF and for many years Colin Geddes was it’s programmer. I have had the opportunity of meeting him and being at his screenings and this man loves movies. He will be deeply missed as he goes on to pursue other career interests. This is an opportunity to say goodbye while also watching the Japanese horror ‘Wolf Guy’ selected by Geddes himself.


This film has an all-star cast that includes Christian Bale and Rosamund Pike about an Army Captain who agrees to escort a dying Cheyenne war chief and his family back to his tribal lands in 1892.


This is about a record label boss who embarks on a road trip across the US in order to fulfill his father's dying wish. Why am I excited? Elizabeth Olsen is in this film and her acting is brilliant. I am always excited to see what she does next.

Molly’s Game/ Woman Walks Ahead

Confession: I love Jessica Chastain. Hmm, let me say that again, I love Jessica Chastain’s acting and have yet to see her in a poor film. We are fortunate that this year's festival will include two titles from the object of my cinematic affection. In 'Molly’s Game' she plays a woman who had private poker parties that included many A-listers and her other featured film, 'Woman Walks Ahead,' is the true story of an artist who travelled to the Dakota Territory and became the confidante of legendary Sioux chief Sitting Bull.

Mom and Dad

As a fan of movies like ‘The Purge’ this seems pretty intriguing. Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair star as parents during a worldwide mass hysteria where for 24 hours parents turn violently against their own children.


This is the new film for Darren Aronofsky that stars Javier Bardem, Jennifer Lawrence, Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer. Need I say more?

Roman J. Israel, Esq.

As previously mentioned, this year's festival will have two movies from my favourite actress (Jessica Chastain). Well it just so happens my favourite actor, Denzel Washington, will also make an appearance in this late arrival to the festival. In this film, a ruthless attorney teams up with an idealistic lawyer on a case. Sorry, you said Denzel? Yes, I’m in!


Last year Jake Gyllenhaal was in 'Nocturnal Animals', one of my favourites from the festival. This year sees him deliver what could be an Oscar worthy performance as a Boston Marathon bombing survivor. Even the trailer will have you in tears.

The Final Year

Barack Obama, remember him? Yeah me too. This film provides an unprecedented look at his administration by following key members.

The Mountain Between Us

Take two amazing actors like Kate Winslet and Idris Elba, add in a plot that includes a plane crash and them being stranded in unenviable conditions and what do you get? Hopefully some very strong performances from said actors who continue to display their best on the big screen.

The Ritual

This movie looks freaky! Four friends are in the wilderness to pay respects to a departed friend when they are subjected to a night of terror.

The Upside

Years ago TIFF introduced us to ‘Les Intouchables,’ a touching movie starring Omar Sy and Francois Cluzet. This drama has been remade into a comedy starring Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart. I loved the original but I’m going in with an open mind.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

When does Woody Harrelson rest? He is back in this film about a grieving mother who is frustrated at her local police for their lack of progress in the search for her daughter’s killer.