TIFF 2017, A Movie Fan’s Look Back

The hangover is just about over. It lasted longer than expected. Of course I am referring to my hangover from the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Over 11 days I saw 50 films and came back to Ottawa with the hopes of reviewing all of these films immediately. Unfortunately, the schedule caught up with me and I caught quite the cold but I am back now and I apologize for the delay in getting this to you.

Many people have asked me’ How was the Festival?’ and my answer is the same, Amazing!

Now I have spoken a lot about how TIFF is the launching pad for films towards awards season. Academy Award Best Picture winners go through TIFF. One can not deny the influence of this festival.

I was very impressed with the organization of this festival. Hundreds of movies over several locations meant there are a lot of moving parts and timing is very key. The organizers and volunteers of TIFF deserve a lot of credit for making this work so smoothly. Whether it was scheduling red carpet screenings or getting people cleared out form one movie only to get people back in for the next it was seamless.

If you have never been to the festival before it definitely should be a must-see. While I wouldn’t expect anyone to try and duplicate my schedule even if you were to go to Toronto for a weekend you would be treated to the best film festival on the planet. From seeing movies before everyone else, to seeing stars there is someone for everyone.

This year I had media accreditation which mot only meant access to Press and Industry screenings but access to the press office, press conferences, red-carpet events, etc. It was a different perspective of seeing the festival. At it’s core though I am a fan of movies and that is what I go there for. I will be reviewing all 50 films but I wanted to focus on the top ones. These, in my opinion, are the best of the best and I fully expect some of these films to be on peoples minds during awards season. I proudly present my Top 10 Films from this years Toronto International Film Festival.

Keith’s Top 10 Movies of the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival

10. Long Time Running

Synopsis: Chronicling iconic Canadian band The Tragically Hip's legendary 2016 tour, from emotional lead up through to the epic last show.

Stars: Gord Downie, Gord Sinclair, Johnny Fay, Rob Baker, Paul Langois

Director: Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier

9. Brawl in Cell Block 99

Synopsis: A former boxer-turned-drug runner lands in a prison battleground after a deal gets deadly.

Stars: Vince Vaughn, Jennifer Carpenter, Don Johnson

Director: S. Craig Zahler

8. The Shape of Water

Synopsis: An other-worldly fairy tale, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1962. In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of isolation. Elisa's life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment.

Stars: Sally Hawkins, Octavia Spencer, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins

Director: Giuillermo del Toro

7. Downsizing

Synopsis: A social satire in which a guy realizes he would have a better life if he were to shrink himself.

Stars: Matt Damon, Kirsten Wiig, Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau

Director: Alexander Payne

6. Battle of the Sexes

Synopsis: The true story of the 1973 tennis match between World number one Billie Jean King and ex-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs.

Stars: Emma Stone, Steve Carell

Director: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris

5. Roman J. Israel Esq.

Synopsis: Denzel Washington stars as Roman Israel, a driven, idealistic defense attorney who, through a tumultuous series of events, finds himself in a crisis that leads to extreme action.

Stars: Denzel Washington, Colin Farrell, Carmen Ejogo

Director: Dan Gilroy

4. C’est la vie

Synopsis: A hectic wedding party held in an 18th century French castle comes together with the help of the behind-the-scenes staff.

Stars: Jean-Pierre Bacri, Suzanne Clement

Director: Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano

3. The Florida Project

Synopsis: Set over one summer, the film follows precocious 6-year-old Moonee as she courts mischief and adventure with her ragtag playmates and bonds with her rebellious but caring mother, all while living in the shadows of Disney World.

Stars: Willem Dafoe, Brooklynn Prince, Bria Vinaite

Director: Sean Baker

2. Molly’s Game

Synopsis: The true story of Molly Bloom, an Olympic-class skier who ran the world's most exclusive high-stakes poker game and became an FBI target.

Stars: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner

Director: Aaron Sorkin

1. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Synopsis: In this darkly comic drama, a mother personally challenges the local authorities to solve her daughter's murder, when they fail to catch the culprit.

Stars: Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell

Director: Martin McDonagh