TIFF 2017: Our 25 Most-Anticipated Films (So Far)

Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce in "The Wife" (Photo courtesy of TIFF)

The Toronto International Film Festival is officially underway! It’s that time of year when the air gets crisp, the carpets turn red and an inordinate number of stars shine in the downtown core.

Film buffs and festival goers got a glimpse of what this year’s season has in store when Toronto International Film Festival CEO Piers Handling and Artistic Director Cameron Bailey unveiled the roster of gala films and special presentations headlining TIFF 2017.

The list so far is filled with Hollywood heavyweights, foreign filmmakers and stories sure to intrigue even the most discerning cinephiles. From a Mary Shelley biopic to a Tragically Hip documentary to Dame Judy Dench as Queen Victoria and Glenn Close as a Nobel laureate who ditches her hubby, we’ve sifted through the galas and special presentations to find our 25 most anticipated films of TIFF 2017 (so far).

THE GALAS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BREATHE

United Kingdom

WORLD PREMIERE

Andy Serkis, 53, comes out from under the performance capture suit, which earned him fame and critical praise in two different film franchises – as Gollum in The Lord of the Rings and primate warrior Caesar in The Planet of the Apes – to take on a brand new role: director. TIFF notes Serkis’ directing debut stars Oscar nominee Andrew Garfield as Robin Cavendish, the activist and innovator who helped make the world a more navigable place for the disabled.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

C’EST LA VIE!

France

WORLD PREMIERE & TIFF 2017 CLOSING FILM

From TIFF: Directing duo Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano (The Intouchables, Samba) serve up a delightful comedy about a long-suffering caterer hoping to get through one last, mishap-heavy dinner party.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DARKEST HOUR

United Kingdom

CANADIAN PREMIERE

From TIFF: Gary Oldman steps into the imposing persona of Winston Churchill in Joe Wright’s (Pride and Prejudice, Atonement) period drama set in the early years of the Second World War, when Churchill’s rousing leadership inspired a nation.

 

FILM STARS DON’T DIE IN LIVERPOOL

United Kingdom

CANADIAN PREMIERE

From TIFF: Oscar winner Annette Bening and Jamie Bell star in this adaptation of the memoir by British actor Peter Turner, recounting his romance with the legendary (and legendarily eccentric) Hollywood star Gloria Grahame during the last years of her life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LONG TIME RUNNING

Canada

WORLD PREMIERE

From TIFF: Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier capture the emotional and powerful 2016 final tour by Canadian rock icons The Tragically Hip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MARY SHELLEY

Ireland, Luxembourg, United Kingdom, USA

WORLD PREMIERE

From TIFF: Elle Fanning stars in this scintillating biopic of the Frankenstein author, chronicling her tempestuous marriage to dissolute poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and the fateful night at a Swiss chateau that inspired her most famous creation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MUDBOUND

USA

INTERNATIONAL PREMIERE

From TIFF: Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Mary J. Blige, and Garrett Hedlund star in this ensemble drama from director Dee Rees, an adaptation of Hillary Jordan’s prize-winning novel about simmering racial tensions in the Jim Crow South of the 1940s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE CATCHER WAS A SPY

USA

WORLD PREMIERE

From TIFF: A sterling cast — including Paul Rudd, Guy Pearce, Jeff Daniels, Paul Giamatti, Sienna Miller, Mark Strong, Tom Wilkinson, and Connie Nielsen — star in this biopic of Moe Berg, the former professional baseball player who became a secret agent in the OSS during World War II.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US

USA

WORLD PREMIERE

From TIFF: A surgeon (Idris Elba) and a journalist (Kate Winslet) must rely on each other for survival when the small plane they share crashes in the wilderness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE WIFE

Sweden, United Kingdom

WORLD PREMIERE

From TIFF: Jonathan Pryce, Glenn Close, and Christian Slater star in Björn Runge’s adaptation of Meg Wolitzer’s bestselling novel about an author who travels to Stockholm to collect her Nobel Prize — and leaves her husband in the process.

 

THE SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BATTLE OF THE SEXES

USA

INTERNATIONAL PREMIERE

From TIFF: Emma Stone and Steve Carell star in this recreation of the legendary 1973 tennis match that pitted Billie Jean King against Bobby Riggs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CATCH THE WIND

Prendre le large

France

INTERNATIONAL PREMIERE

From TIFF: A middle-aged factory worker’s life is upended when she follows her employer to Morocco, in the latest film from French actor-director Gaël More.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DISOBEDIENCE

United Kingdom

WORLD PREMIERE

From TIFF: Sebastián Lelio directs Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams in this adaptation of Naomi Alderman’s novel about a woman who returns home to her orthodox Jewish community in London and rekindles a romance with her cousin’s wife.

DOWNSIZING

USA

CANADIAN PREMIERE

From TIFF: Matt Damon headlines a cast that includes Kristen Wiig, Christoph Waltz, Laura Dern, Jason Sudeikis, Alec Baldwin, and Neil Patrick Harris in Alexander Payne’s sci-fi social satire about a man who chooses to shrink himself (literally) to simplify his life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FIRST THEY KILLED MY FATHER

Cambodia

CANADIAN PREMIERE

From TIFF: Angelina Jolie co-produces, co-writes, and directs this adaptation of the memoir by Loung Ung, which recounts the author’s horrifying childhood experiences under the murderous Khmer Rouge regime in her native Cambodia.

mother!

USA

NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE

From TIFF: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, and Michelle Pfeiffer star in Darren Aronofsky’s highly anticipated psychological thriller about a couple threatened by the arrival of uninvited guests to their tranquil home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PROFESSOR MARSTON & THE WONDER WOMEN

USA

WORLD PREMIERE

From TIFF: Luke Evans (High-Rise, Beauty and the Beast), Rebecca Hall (Christine), and Bella Heathcote (Fifty Shades Darker) star in this biopic of William Moulton Marston, the American psychologist who put his progressive ideals about female liberation into practice by creating the DC superhero Wonder Woman and living in an “extended relationship” with his wife and another woman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SHEIKH JACKSON

Egypt

WORLD PREMIERE

From TIFF: The sudden death of Michael Jackson sends a former King of Pop devotee — now a young imam — into a tailspin, in this tender and comedic film from Egyptian filmmaker Amr Salama.

SUBURBICON

USA

NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE

From TIFF: George Clooney directs an all-star cast — including Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, Josh Brolin, and Oscar Isaac — in this caper comedy written by Joel and Ethan Coen, about a picture-perfect family that turns to blackmail, revenge and betrayal after a home invasion turns deadly.

THE CHILDREN ACT

United Kingdom

WORLD PREMIERE

From TIFF: Emma Thompson and Stanley Tucci star in this adaptation of the novel by Ian McEwan, about a high-court judge (Thompson) who finds personal and professional crises colliding when she is asked to rule in the case of a brilliant 18-year-old boy who is refusing the blood transfusion that would save his life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE CURRENT WAR

USA

WORLD PREMIERE

From TIFF: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl) directs Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Shannon, Nicholas Hoult, Tom Holland, and Katherine Waterston in this biopic chronicling the race for sustainable electricity in the United States between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE GUARDIANS

Les Gardiennes

France

WORLD PREMIERE

From TIFF: French director Xavier Beauvois’ intimate drama explores the lives of women who are left behind to work a family farm during the Great War.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE SHAPE OF WATER

USA

CANADIAN PREMIERE

From TIFF: At the height of the Cold War, circa 1962, two workers in a high-tech US government laboratory (Sally Hawkins and Oscar winner Octavia Spencer) discover a terrifying secret experiment, in this otherwordly fairytale from Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE SQUARE

Sweden

NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE

From TIFF: Swedish provocateur Ruben Östlund (Force Majeure) took home the Palme d’Or at Cannes for this no-holds-barred satire of the postmodern art world, about a self-important curator whose attempts to mount an ambitious exhibition go hilariously awry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VICTORIA AND ABDUL

United Kingdom

NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE

From TIFF: Acclaimed British auteur Stephen Frears reunites with his Philomena star, Academy Award winner Judi Dench, in this charming dramedy chronicling the friendship between Queen Victoria and a decades-younger Indian clerk named Abdul Karim.

Click here for the full list of gala and special presentation films for TIFF 2017.