tiff 2017

The top 10 movies to see at TIFF 2017

There are a lot of films I'm eager to see at TIFF, including documentaries, foreign films, and projects directed by women. But the cinephile heart is eager to see some movies more than others.

Here are my picks for the top movies to see at TIFF 2017.

Alias Grace

It may not be, strictly speaking, a film. And yes, what's showing at TIFF is only 90 minutes of the eventual six-hour Netflix/CBC mini-series. Still, I can't resist the creative forces of Sarah Polley and Margaret Atwood combined.

The Breadwinner

Animation doesn't always get the respect it deserves for being able to tackle complicated subject matter. That's why I always welcome something like The Breadwinner, which looks stunning and is about a young Afghan girl who dresses up like a boy to help earn money for her family.

Call Me By Your Name

The buzz for Call Me By Your Name from Sundance was so glowing it was practically blinding. No surprise, given Luca Guadagnino's track record. His latest depicts the summer-time sexual awakening of a young 17-year-old boy in the 1980s. Bonus: James Ivory wrote the script.

The Death of Stalin

If you've seen the dark comedic work of Armando Iannucci (Veep, The Thick of It) and his panache for depicting political buffoons, you'll understand why I'm excited for his film about those vying to fill the power vacuum left behind after the death of Russia's most notorious leader.

The Florida Project

Sean Baker’s Tangerine was a cinematic live-wire, and afterwards I couldn't wait to see what the director would do next. Enter: The Florida Project, about an adventurous young girl who lives in a small motel complex near a Disney World-like theme park.

Lean on Pete

Andrew Haigh hasn't made a bad movie yet. After tackling both young love (Weekend) and late love (45 Years), I'm intrigued to see him turn to making a contemporary western about an aimless teenager who bonds with a race horse in its last years.

Mary Shelley

Considering Frankenstein has remained an all-time favourite novel since high school, I'm eager to see a biopic about the author's life. I'm especially eager to see it in the hands of Haifaa Al Mansour who made the wonderful Wadjda in 2012.


Positive reviews from Sundance, and director Dee Ress' previous work (notably, 2011's Pariah), make this a must-see for me. The story is about a black World War II veteran returning to the Mississippi Delta and facing the racial tension of the Jim Crow years.

The Square

Force Majeure was the best film I saw in 2014, so I'm thrilled we now get Ruben Östlund's follow-up. A big winner at the Cannes Films Festival this year, The Square sees the director tackle the post-modern art world - something his dark brand of satire will be perfect for.


I'm practically an acolyte of director Joachim Trier, so I'm always excited for whatever he does next. As someone who also loves serious-minded takes on the supernatural, I'm also intrigued by the film's premise: a young girl who may or may not have powers.

Lead photo by

The Florida Project

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