best movies tiff 2015

The 10 best movies at TIFF 2015

The eleven days of TIFF 2015 offered an embarrassment of cinematic riches. I have never had a year at TIFF like this one: very little bad, a whole lot of great. That made creating a list of my favourite movies at TIFF a difficult challenge. But ultimately, some films stood out not only for the impact they had in a dark theatre, but for lingering in my mind long after.

Here are the 10 best movies I saw at TIFF 2015.

Into the Forest
Patricia Rozema's Into The Forest isn't without its issues. But it's a film that has continued to stick with me thanks to its wonderful lead performances, its visual beauty, its caring for its characters, and its rare take on the post-apocalypse as something that one has to choose to find hope in.

Sleeping Giant
A tremendous Canadian coming-of-age story, Sleeping Giant stood out not just for how well it portrayed the aimless days of teenagers in summertime, but also that turning point in our youths where the adult world intrudes and forces us to grow-up.

45 Years
There will be few better performances this year than Charlotte Rampling's in 45 Years. There will be few better final shots than 45 Years'. And there will plainly be few better movies than this wonderfully subtle, but devastating, look at long-term relationships and the question of whether we can every truly know our partner.

The Witch
The Witch is the best kind of horror movie. It's not just effective as an incredibly unsettling and eerie gothic story. It has has deeper things to say about the forces--whether supernatural, or within ourselves--that drive violence. It is, in other words, horror that is about something. That's not always easy to pull off. The Witch does.

What's great about Taxi isn't just the pleasure of seeing Jafar Panahi play the mischievous, cinematic trickster with his pseudo-doc. It's that we know his mischief is one of dissent. Taxi is undoubtedly a fun movie, but it's nonetheless one with an important undercurrent stressing how vital it is to be able to access and create cinema.

Louder Than Bombs
Joachim Trier's Louder Than Bombs demonstrated what continues to elevate his work and endear itself to me: a deep understanding and empathetic lack of judgment for his characters and their struggles - even when they're being miserable, terrible people. It's a wonderfully directed, acted, and written film.

Sunset Song
Terence Davies' latest isn't just beautiful in its visuals, but in its story. The director somehow magically manages to take a very specific story and make it feel like you're watching all of life distilled and presented in front of you. Sunset Song's look at how life gives and it takes is something I'm still thinking a lot about.

Charlie Kaufman has always had the ability to portray love, loneliness, and vulnerability in achingly real ways. Anomalisa is no exception. It wears its heart so openly and recognizably on its sleeve, that, as my heart perpetually ached, I found myself completely forgetting I was watching stop-motion puppets, not flesh-and-blood human beings.

Green Room
Jeremy Saulnier's follow-up to Blue Ruin is a thrilling master class in how to squeeze every drop of anxiety out of an audience and then release the built-up tension with delicious bursts of cathartic uber-violence. I'm sure I lost a few years of my life from the stress Green Room induced, and I still wanted to see it again the moment it was over.

What's great about Victoria's 138-minute single shot is that it's not just a stunning technical accomplishment. It transcends gimmickry by blending seamlessly with its rollercoaster story that captures everything from the joys of late-night partying to the panic of bad decisions with unstoppable consequences.

What were your favourite films at TIFF 2015? Let us know in the comments.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @alxhuls for all things movie-related.

Image from Sunset Song.

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