best tiff 2018

The 10 best movies at TIFF 2018

Another TIFF has come to a close, with hundreds of films screened and a select few recognized with awards. I had a great year, seeing many remarkable films that in some cases managed to exceed even heightened expectations.

Here in no particular order are my favourite films from TIFF 2018.

If Beale Street Could Talk

Barry Jenkins had a near impossible task in translating James Baldwin's poetic, nuanced writing onto the screen in a way that still managed to speak to wide audiences. This is one of the great accomplishments of the year, and a clear sign of the magnitude of this director's gift.


This is a film that nears perfection, though expect some crude critics to try and knock it down a peg. Screw those people; revel in the fact that we live in a time where movies like Alfonso Cuarón's are still made, and we're able to see them on the big screen. If you missed it at TIFF, look out for the film to be released on Netflix soon.

First Man

Damien Chazelle's film is a technical wonder that still has deep emotional impact. Gosling is perfectly cast, and this IMAX-travaganza is a luminous way to spend time in a theatre.

Free Solo

I had little hope for this film other than being mere nature porn. Seeing the vistas on a giant IMAX screen helped, but it's the personal stories and restraint displayed by the filmmakers to affect their subject that truly sets this mountain climbing film to the stratosphere.


This film is so exquisitely French you can practically taste the baguettes and smell the cigarettes in the cafés. Olivier Assayas' loquacious, philosophical piece on the intersection between art, commerce and love may lack the bombast of some of the other films, but with an A+ cast and whip-smart script it's a work to be cherished.

A Star Is Born

Forget when this veers toward conventional studio fodder and truly revel in the perfect casting of a woman born as Stefani Germanotta, shining like no other would in this Bradley Cooper-helmed passion project that made audiences go Gaga.


It's a film to be celebrated, in part for what it is (a smart, fierce, fascinating debut by a remarkable filmmaker) as much as what it's not (indulgent, polemical, simplistic). Jasmin Mozaffari's film isn't the easiest to watch, but it's certainly one of the most rewarding of this festival.

In Fabric

Peter Strickland makes weird, indulgent, wonderful films that feel very much part of a different historical timeline. This tale of a haunted dress and the effect it has on the people that wear it is equal parts unsettling and darkly comic. No film came close to oozing so much mood as the story unfurled.


Steve McQueen takes on the heist film genre in this powerful film with a powerhouse cast led by Viola Davis. Gillian Flynn brings some of her noir chops to play with the script, while McQueen demonstrates an expansion of his range into more conventional filmmaking that loses none of his artistic bite.

Gloria Bell

Remaking a film in English seems a cheap trick, yet Chilean director Sebastián Lelio shows that by changing the location and casting the luminous Julianne Moore he can strike gold with this narrative twice. A film to laugh, cry and dance to, it's an ode to middle aged romance that's easily an equal to its sister film.

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Free Solo

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