The lineup for the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival, which will run from Sept. 8 to Sept. 18, is pretty impressive. From great foreign films and documentaries to those that are tipped to make it big at the box office, the festival is offering a lineup that will please almost everyone. However, there are five films that have really caught our attention.
1. La La Land
This one is pretty much a no-brainer, because it’s hard not to love anything with Ryan Gosling in it, but La La Land is about much more than just the lead actor’s good looks. The film, directed by Damien Chazelle (who brought us Whiplash in 2014), follows the story of dedicated jazz musician Sebastian (played by Gosling), who is dating aspiring actress Mia (played by Emma Stone), as they struggle to make it big in Los Angeles, a city known for crushing dreams.
Why we’re excited to see it: This isn’t the first time Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone have starred opposite each other, and they’ve already proved that they’re a winning combination. The story is also winning us over, as it does not seek to glamorize Hollywood like so many do — that, and the fact that Damien Chazelle is undeniably an incredible director.
Jackie, starring Natalie Portman as J. Kennedy, is in the Venice Fest lineup. Portman coming for another Oscar nom. pic.twitter.com/NOECpsJAML
— Denizcan Grimes (@MrFilmkritik) July 28, 2016
For years the world has been captivated by America’s former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy, and now she has been immortalized in film by Oscar-nominated director Pablo Larrain, with a script by Noah Oppenheim.
Why we’re excited to see it: What makes this story really stand out for us is that instead of focusing on Jackie’s life prior to John F. Kennedy, it focuses on the days following his assassination in 1963. But it’s not just a great story — there’s also a star-studded cast, with Natalie Portman portraying Jackie (excellent casting, as she is a dead ringer for the late first lady). Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig and John Hurt co-star.
In 2013, Edward Snowden’s name was splashed across the media, and so began the story of the former CIA employee who controversially leaked thousands of classified documents, exposing the U.S. government’s surveillance activities. Director Oliver Stone has taken on the project, along with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who plays the role of Edward Snowden, and Shailene Woodley as Lindsay Mills.
Why we’re excited to see it: This true story and the controversy surrounding Snowden (some feel he’s a hero, others disagree) make for a very intriguing film — we’re also looking forward to seeing how the audience reacts to it. So far the release date has been pushed back twice, once to May 13 to open at the Cannes Film Festival, and again to September. Which has only made us more eager to see it.
— Arrival Movie (@arrivalmovie) September 5, 2016
Arrival, by Canadian director Denis Villeneuve, is a sci-fi film about aliens that invade Earth and how humans try to decipher their intentions. An expert linguist (played by Amy Adams) takes on the unenviable task of finding out what they want and whether or not they come in peace.
Why we’re excited to see it: Critics have praised the movie for being an intelligent science fiction film (it screened at Venice Film Festival on Sept. 1), and we’re huge fans of Denis Villeneuve’s latest work, which includes great films like Sicario, Prisoners and Enemy.
Loving, directed by Jeff Nichols (who has brought us films like Mud, Take Shelter and Midnight Special), is perhaps one of the most beautiful, moving stories to ever be made into a film. It’s the story about pioneering biracial couple Richard and Mildred Loving, who fought for the right to wed and made it all the way to the Supreme Court in 1967, subsequently invalidating laws prohibiting interracial marriage.
Why we’re excited to see it: It’s a true story about love but also about the struggles that interracial couples had to endure in the 1950s, which already puts it pretty high up in our books. Brilliant performances from Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton have already created a buzz after the film’s screening at Cannes Film Festival earlier this year, and it’s tipped for an Oscar.