tiff 2019 movies

56 must-see movies at TIFF 2019 by day of the festival

At TIFF 2019 there are so many films to look forward to, from major world premieres to tease us along with some of the best stories from around the world. 

To help make sense of it all, here's a day-by-day breakdown of what to see at this year's Toronto International Film Festival by day of the week.

September 5

The official opener is Once Were Brothers (6 p.m., Princess of Wales Theatre/8 p.m., Roy Thomson Hall), a doc about the legendary artist Robbie Robertson. The Whistlers (6:15 p.m., Scotiabank 2) is a weird, wild ride from Cannes, and Clifton Hill (Ryerson, 9 p.m.) is a great bit of creepy Canadiana.

Midnight Madness kicks off with the long-anticipated Blood Quantum (11:59 p.m., Ryerson) while Scorsese brings his classic film The Last Waltz (11 p.m., Lightbox 1) as a free screening.

September 6

Start your morning off with Varda by Agnès, a warm retrospective by the legendary filmmaker. From there you have a choice of two fine Cannes films — The Climb (3:30 p.m., Scotiabank 2) is a wild ride about frenemies, and Portrait of a Lady on Fire (3 p.m., Winter Garden) is a moving, beautifully-realized film about love and art.

I’ll be fighting to see Armando Iannucci’s latest, The Personal History of David Copperfield (2:30 p.m., Princess of Wales), while Bong Joon-Ho’s magnificent Palm d’Or-winning Parasite finally lands (8:30 p.m., Ryerson), and you can stay for the Midnight dystopian film The Platform (11:59 p.m., Ryerson)

September 7

With a bunch of megastars, it’ll be easier to catch Just Mercy (10 a.m., Princess of Wales) on the day-after screening, and follow that if you’d like with Sarandon, Winslet and Wasikowska in Blackbird (12 p.m., Roy Thomson Hall). Bryce Dallas Howard’s doc Dads (12:30 p.m., Lightbox 3) does look to be a nice escape as well.

The evening is a mass of overcrowded must-sees, from the sublime, surreal film The Lighthouse (9 p.m., Ryerson) to Eddie Murphy’s blaxpoitation-esque Dolomite is My Name (9:30 p.m., Princess of Wales) and the seductive gala premiere for Hustlers (9:30 p.m., Roy Thomson Hall).

September 8

Knives Out (11 a.m., Elgin) looks pretty amazing, and the cast may show up in the morning as well. Fest-fave Adam Driver is in the Sundance political thriller The Report (1:45 p.m., Winter Garden), and I’d recommend giving the Formula E doc And We Go Green (3 p.m., Ryerson) a testdrive.

Tom Hanks’s Oscar-anticipated take as Mr. Rogers will make for A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (3:15 p.m., Princess of Wales), while the premiere of Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit (9:30 p.m., Princess of Wales) has me hopping with anticipation.

September 9

Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story (11:30 a.m., Princess of Wales) is entering the fest with lots of attention, and Israeli film Incitement (11 a.m., Lightbox 3) is a stellar piece of political drama that’s well worth your time.

The haunting hunting film Bacurau (1 p.m., Lightbox 4) is a treat, while Alex Gibney’s Citizen K (3:30 p.m., Lightbox 2) takes a look at some dark Russian figures. I’ll be at Ford v Ferrari (8 p.m., Elgin), while another Cannes hit Beanpole (9:45 p.m., Scotia 2) is very much worth fighting to see.

September 10

The Gala will be gonzo the night before, so snagging tix for Joker (2:30 p.m., Princess of Wales) is a less crazy idea. You can start your day with the Safdie Brother’s Adam Sandler-starrer Uncut Gems (10:30 p.m., Elgin) and then skip the comic book stuff and go for Matti Diop’s award winning Atlantics (2:45 p.m., Lightbox 2)

The drama Les Misérables (6:30 p.m., Winter Garden) is very strong, and Waves (8:45 p.m., Ryerson) has plenty of buzz attached, while The Wild Goose Lake (9:30 p.m., Wintergarden) is a super-stylish gang thriller that’s quite a bit of fun.

September 11

Renée Zellweger sings her way to awards contention in Judy (11 a.m., Elgin), while Broadway star Cynthia Erivo brings the story of  Tubman to life in Harriet (3 p.m., Wintergarden). I’ll catch the Midnight Madness film The Vigil (9:30 p.m., Scotiabank 4), while The Painted Bird (9:30 p.m., Lightbox 1) will provides a haunting Holocaust tale.

Noah Hawley’s Lucy In the Sky (9 p.m., Princess of Wales) is a star-studded affair anchored by Natalie Portman, while Justine Triet’s psychodrama Sibyl (9:30 p.m., Wintergarden) looks delightfully French.

September 12

Shia Laboeuf’s confessional film Honey Boy (11 a.m., Elgin) is magical, while Isabelle Hupert’s family drama Frankie (2:30 p.m., Wintergarden) will generate plenty of tears. Charlie Hunnam and Jack O’Connell star in boxing drama Jungleland (6 p.m., Princess of Wales), while Quentin Dupieux’s Deerskin (9 p.m., Ryerson) looks to be a nice fit.

September 13

The Cave (9:15 a.m., Lightbox 2) looks to be a Syrian doc like no other, while the second screening of Springsteen’s co-directorial debut Western Stars (11 a.m., Wintergarden) looks at the Boss’ latest record.

The neo-noir Synchronic (6 p.m., Ryerson) makes a final appearance, while Chinonye Chukwu’s Clemency (9:30 p.m., Roy Thompson Hall) gets its gala international premiere.

September 14

Shonali Bose’s The Sky is Pink (11 a.m., Elgin) plays the day after its premiere, while Elia Suleiman’s laconic and lovely film It Must Be Heaven (9:45 a.m., Lightbox) is a calm yet provocative delight. The South African boxing drama Knuckle City (3:15 p.m., Scotia 13) lands a punch.

Alan Zweig’s moving documentary Coppers (4:15 p.m., Scotia 14) shines a very different light on the effect of police work on those that patrol, and Neasa Hardiman’s Sea Fever (7:15 p.m., Scotiabank 7) looks like dark, aquatic-themed thriller to dive into.

September 15

The winner of the Platform Prize screens for free (12:15 p.m., Lightbox 2), with the documentary (3:30 p.m., Lightbox 2) and Midnight Madness winner (3:15 p.m., Lightbox 3) soon following.

There are four free Lightbox screenings for the People’s Choice winner (starting at 5:45 p.m.), and I may be closing my fest with Andrés Wood’s chilly Chilean thriller Spider (9:30 p.m., Scotiabank 4)

Lead photo by

TIFF/Dolemite is My Name

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