tiff 2017

45 must-see movies at TIFF 2017 by day of the festival

There's no shortage of movies to see at TIFF this year. From the ones getting the biggest advance buzz to films directed by women, Cannes award winners, foreign films, documentaries, free screenings at the Cinesphere and more, choosing what to see can be a dizzing decision.

Here, then, to make your TIFF-going just a bit simpler, are my picks for the top films to see at TIFF by day of the festival.

September 7

Start off your festival with the first of two adaptations of bestselling Ian McEwan at TIFF this year with On Chesil Beach (5:00 PM, Winter Garden Theatre). Or, if you’re genre-inclined, there’s also the Quebecois zombie flick, Les Affames (6:45 PM, Scotiabank 1) as a first day option.

Get your first premium screening of one of the top 10 films to see at TIFF withe coming-of-age film Call Me By Your Name (7:15 PM, Ryerson Theatre). Then go check out the battle rap satire Bodied (11:59 PM, Ryerson Theatre) and welcome new Midnight Madness programmer, Peter Kuplowsky.

September 8

Ease into your first TIFF weekend with a lunchtime screening of the Cannes Jury Prize-winning Russian divorce drama, Loveless (12:30 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox 2). Then you can ruin your lunch by seeing the first festival screening of Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken! (2:30 PM, Ryerson Theatre).

At night there’s the gala premiere of Molly’s Game (6:00 PM, Elgin Theatre), the directorial debut of Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing), which was shot in Toronto. Bonus: Idris Elba will be there. Afterwards, you can check out another directorial debut with actress Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird (9:00 PM, Ryerson Theatre).

September 9

Begin with Lynn Shelton's ex-convict drama, Outside In (10:00 AM, TIFF Bell Lightbox 2). Or you could embrace your Canadian-ness and see an ice-skating movie: I, Tonya (11:30 AM, Roy Thomson Hall) with Margot Robbie playing Tonya Harding before the attack on Nancy Kerrigan.

In the afternoon there's the black and white The Captain (3:15, TIFF Bell Lightbox 1) about a German deserter at the end of World War II. Lastly, if you like stargazing, see Suburbicon (6:30 PM, VISA Screening Room at the Princess of Wales Theatre) where writer-director George Clooney, plus stars Matt Damon and Julianne Moore, will be.

September 10

Complete the mini-Ian McEwan festival within TIFF, with the second adaptation of his work: The Children Act (8:45 AM, TIFF Bell Lightbox 1) with the always dependable Emma Thompson and Stanley Tucci. Then celebrate the bicentennial anniversary of Frankenstein with the biopic about its author, Mary Shelley (1:30 PM, Scotiabank 2).

Beautifully animated and Angelina Jolie-produced, be sure to see the powerful The Breadwinner (3:00 PM, Winter Garden Theatre). In the evening catch the hotly anticipated Darren Aronofsky film, mother! (9:15 PM, VISA Screening Room at the Princess of Wales Theatre), with Jennifer Lawrence in attendance.

September 11

Sometimes mega-downers are just part of the TIFF experience, so why not start your day off with Happy End (9:15 AM, TIFF Bell Lightbox 1), Michael Haneke’s latest. Then keep that mood going with some mid-day horror in the form of the French horror film, Revenge (3:45 PM, Scotiabank 11).

But if you’re looking for something a bit more vibrant and precocious, there’s The Florida Project (4:45 PM, Soctiabank 3). Or, if you missed Matt Damon at the Suburbicon premiere, you can see him in Alexander Payne’s Downsizing (6:00 PM, Elgin Theatre)

September 12

No day that begins with Steve Buscemi can be bad, so be sure to check out Andrew Haigh’s “a boy and his horse” drama, Lean on Pete (12:45 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox 1). Leap ahead to the evening and you could check out the Sundance-darling Mudbound (6 PM, Roy Thomson Hall).

Or, if you’re more in the mood for a Western, there’s also Christian Bale in Scott Cooper's Hostiles (7:00 PM, Scotiabank 12). For night owls, there’s Brawl in Cell Block 99 (10:45 PM, Ryerson Theatre) which offers the chance to see Vince Vaughn in a very different kind of role.

September 13

If you want to catch acting performances that are getting early Oscars buzz, today is the day. First up, there’s Annette Bening playing movie star Gloria Grahame in Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool (9:30 AM, TIFF Bell Lightbox 1). Then there’s Gary Oldman playing Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour (11:30 AM, Elgin Theatre).

Next up is Diane Kruger’s Cannes-winning turn in the German film, In the Fade (3:30 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox 1). Consider taking a brief Oscar scouting break with the travelogue documentary Faces Places (6:30 PM, Elgin Theatre) before ending with Liam Neeson’s performance as the infamous Deep Throat in Mark Felt (9:00 PM, Scotiabank 1).

September 14

For some intrigue, begin with Japanese murder mystery and legal thriller, The Third Murder (12:00 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox 1). Then don’t miss the chance to see Kate Winslet and Idris Elba appear on the same screen together in The Mountain Between Us (3:00 PM, VISA Screening Room).

Afterwards, you can mix things up with the Finnish dysfunctional family drama, Miami (5:45 PM, Scotiabank 3), before getting your Canadiana on with the first two episodes of the Margaret Atwood adaptation, Alias Grace (8:30 PM, Winter Garden Theatre).

September 15

Rush to see John Woo make his gunfight action film return with Manhunt (11:45 AM, Scotiabank 2). If action isn’t your thing, you can see The Wife (12:00 PM, Elgin Theatre), an adaptation of the bestselling Meg Wolitzer novel, starring Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce.

In the evening, you’ve got two Canada-themed options to choose from. First, there's Indian Horse (8:30 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox 1), the adaptation of the late Richard Wagamese’s classic Canadian novel. Then there's the Vince Carter documentary The Carter Effect (9:45 PM, Scotiabank 2), for all you basketball and Raptors fans out there.

September 16

Get some vicarious outdoor time with Jane (9:45 AM, TIFF Bell Lightbox 1), the documentary about jungle-traveling, primate-studying, Jane Goodall. Then check out some Indonesian cinema with The Seen and Unseen (11:30 AM, TIFF Bell Lightbox 4), which has a strong Beasts of Southern Wild vibe.

Bookworms with stamina will want to see Frederick Wiseman’s New York Public Library doc, Ex Libiris (12:00 PM, Jackman Hall). Finally, who can resist a wacky Nicolas Cage role? In this case: Mom and Dad (9:15 PM, Scotiabank 13) about a mass hysteria that grips the world and drives parents to want to kill their children (yes, really).

September 17

Start your final day with some Middle Eastern cinema with the Egyptian film Sheikh Jackson (9:30 AM, Scotiabank 13) about a man struggling with the death of Michael Jackson. For some laughs, be sure to check out The Death of Stalin (12:00 PM, Ryerson Theatre) the communist Russia comedy.

Speaking of laughs, you could also see Louis C.K’s latest film—shot in black and white—I Love You, Daddy (2:30 PM, Scotiabank 4), though expect it to be a bit more somber than his stand-up. Then, as always, there's the Grolsch People’s Choice Award Screening (6:00 PM, Roy Thomson Hall).

Lead photo by

Molly's Game

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