The Toronto International Film Festival wrapped up mid September after showcasing the top films of the year to critics and fans alike at Toronto’s famed Bell Lighthouse. With over 300 films from over 60 countries, Guardian Liberty Voice (GLV) compiled a list of winning and top feature films that dominated this year’s line up.
Beats of the Antonov
Beats of the Antonov took the award for the People’s Choice Best Documentary. Directed by Hajooj Kuka, the film follows natives of the Blue Nile and Nuba Mountain regions in Sudan, and their day-to-day life during a civil war. With a musically rich culture, they overcome hardship.
The Imitation Game
This biography / drama, directed by Morten Tyldum, won the Toronto International Film Festival’s People’s Choice Masters Award. Benedict Cumberbatch stars as English mathematician Alan Turing, who helps crack the Enigma code during World War II. Keira Knightley, Mark Strong, and Matthew Goode also appear in this historically heroic war film.
What We Do In The Shadows
What We Do in the Shadows won the People’s Choice Midnight Madness award. This mockumentary masterpiece was created by Jemaine Clement, and Taika Waititi, and tells the tale of a group of vampires sharing a flat together in New Zealand. This comedy film portrays vampires like never before, attempting to get by faced with modern-day struggles.
Felix and Meira
Felix and Meira won Best Canadian Feature Film. The film, directed by Maxime Giroux, shows a side of Montréal’s Orthodox Jewish community never before seen, when a married women falls in love with a young man mourning the loss of his father. The two must choose between faith and family, or each other.
Bang Bang Baby
The award for Best Canadian First Feature Film goes to Bang Bang Baby by Jeffery St. Jules. This musical is about a small town teenager in the 60’s, whose rock star dreams are inches away when her idol (Justin Chatwin) becomes stranded in town, all while a chemical spill starts mutating townspeople. Jane Levy of Evil Dead stars in this rockabilly sci-fi thriller.
The Theory of Everything
Also topping the favorites list is The Theory of Everything. Oscar winner James Marsh returns to direct this Stephen Hawking dramatic biography. Eddie Redmayne portrays the life and illness of the legendary physicist as he overcomes and adapts to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, while continuing his research in Cosmetology.
Denzel Washington teams up with Antoine Fuqua yet again in The Equalizer, playing an ex-CIA agent. Robert McCall promises himself a peaceful life of retirement, but all that changes when he meets a young woman played by Chloë Grace Moretz, who is stuck in the abusive hands of the Russian Mob.
St. Vincent is heart warming comedy starting Bill Murray as a roughneck alcoholic turned unlikely mentor after he befriends a fatherless little boy who moves in next door. Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts, and Chris O’Dowd also star in Theodore Melfi’s latest film.
Reese Witherspoon plays an ex-addict on the road to escape in Wild, based on the life experience and best-selling novel by Cheryl Strayed. The story follows the young writer, as she takes on the Pacific Crest Trail alone, traveling 1,100 miles in search of self-discovery.
Steve Carrell returns to drama in this true story of obsession and eventual murder. John du Pont, a rich and strange man, sponsors Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz, played by Channing Tatum. Things take a turn for the worse when du Pont kills Schultz’s brother and fellow Olympian Dave, played by Mark Ruffalo. Bennett Miller, the mastermind behind Capone, directs.
Clouds of Sils Maria
After gaining international success as an actress, Maria Enders (Juliette Binoche) is asked to return to the play that made her famous–alas in a different role. Instead of playing the alluring young woman, she plays the older Helena eventually driven to suicide. She struggles to keep herself from a nervous breakdown while working with a disrespectful starlet (Chloe Grace Mortez), and falling for her young assistant, Valentine (Kristen Stewart).
This Is Where I Leave You
This Is Where I Leave You is a dysfunctional family comedy based upon the best-selling novel by Jonathan Tropper. Being released in the U.S., the same of the Toronto International Film Festival, the film was met with great reviews. Despite all their differences, the family must sit Sheba together following the death of their father. The star-studded cast includes Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver, Corey Stoll, Rose Byrne, and Jane Fonda.
Opinion By Morgan Louchen