While it felt the latter part of 2021 was rather hectic on the release side for films, it certainly was a memorable, although sometimes chaotic year in Cinema. As we saw several films which should’ve surfaced in 2020, banked for our enjoyment on the big screen this year, it makes it even more challenging to narrow down our favourites. Truly, the Films that made the cut in 2021 truly were outstanding as they had to shine amongst a quality slate of releases.
Though it seems we’re making one step forward and two steps back in making it through this Pandemic, we were so happy to have been able to be back in theatres once again and enjoy a hybrid version of the Toronto International Film Festival. For that we are grateful and we look forward to sitting in a theatre once again, full capacity with popcorn and drink in-hand, even if not yet.
Team Mr. Will break down their favourite releases of 2021 for us and as always, it is an exciting and eclectic mix. Films like CODA, ROADRUNNER, NINE DAYS, C’MON C’MON and MASS might not be on all Critics’ Top Tens, but they fared well among the Team and found a home with us. If you’re still deciding what to see or are on the fence about, let us help you out!
So grateful for this amazing family of Writers and their esteemed opinions and hard work delivering for us year-round.
I think Cinema is at its best when it entertains, increases empathy and enlighten us. The films in my Top Ten check those boxes for me. However, 2021 is filled with impactful Cinema and my list could easily be 20! Other films I love are Awards Season favourites King Richard, Belfast &Spencer. This list was made before viewing A Hero, Parallel Mothers & Cyrano.
The Worst Person in the World&Petite Maman would be below but they release in 2022. Keep an eye out for them!
Top Ten Narratives (in alphabetical order):
Drive My Car
Judas & the Black Messiah
The Lost Daughter
The Power of the Dog
tick, tick… BOOM!
West Side Story
Fav Docs (in alphabetical order): Flee Summer of Soul Writing With Fire
1. NYC Epicenters
2. Life in a Day: 2020
3. The Last Duel
5. Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain
6. C’mon C’mon
8. The Green Knight
9. Bo Burnham: Inside
In a near-tie for my favorite this year: two Documentaries attempting to process recent history. Life in a Day revisits the original 2010 experiment, sourcing thousands of hours of amateur footage from across the world shot on a single day in 2020 that might as well represent the era. Spike Lee‘s NYC Epicenters–a four part miniseries available on Crave–looks at every major New York disaster since 9/11 up to the present moment with absolutely crushing clarity. Sidenote: Netflix‘s ‘Turning Point‘ gives 9/11 some much-needed context as the inciting incident in a much broader tragedy for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. Bo Burnham’s Inside grapples with our collective quarantine routine, and though I have misgivings about how accurate it is to Burnham‘s real experience of the pandemic–dropping it a bit further down the list–I cannot deny the singular power of his music to bring meaning to our perpetually sealed-off lives. In third–and the first narrative on the list–The Last Duel failed to connect with the Box Office but succeeded in keeping me locked at a 70° angle as I untangled the all-too-familiar cycle of assault, denial, and public scorn told from three distinct perspectives, brought together by a relentless, titular duel more explosive than anything Ridley Scott has ever yelled at a journalist. Dune could not be less connected to our present, so it was nice to become ensnared in its deadly world with the most well-integrated Visual Effects I’ve ever seen. Roadrunner and C’mon C’mon are both stories of Documentarians who live their work. For Joaquin Phoenix, it’s a spiritually healing act. For Anthony Bourdain, it’s a bit more complicated. Spencer synthesized Diana‘s tragedy into a devastating weekend of pheasant hunting, pea soup and Jazz. Sidenote: ‘Diana the Musical‘ is worth a Netflix skim for a horrific glimpse into yet another way of defining her story. The Green Knight revitalized title cards–along with reflections on destiny and death. And Annette finally put an end to our cultural obsession with selfish toxic male stars–j/k!
2021 was the year I capitulated, when it came to the Movies. I firmly believed that they HAD to be seen on a big screen to even be considered worthy candidates to make my personal “Best” list. To me, VOD always stood for movies that studios deemed unworthy of a theatrical release and streaming services were like HBO: good stuff but, like HBO movies, should not be considered Oscar-worthy. My feelings came crashing down when I saw my first movie in a darkened theatre when we were finally allowed to do so. It was the Documentary “Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain”. It was also the 107th movie I had watched this year. The final nail in the coffin was when I was given the choice to see “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” in the theatre or to stream it and I chose the latter.
Whittling down the 288 titles I watched in 2021 to my Top Ten was no easy task! And apologies to the movies I haven’t seen yet (The Lost Daughter, Drive My Car, A Hero, Parallel Mothers and The Green Knight) that could have made the list and those that I could not squeeze-in (Annette, Flee, Belfast, Being the Ricardos, Don’t Look Up, In the Heights and Passing).
What a mess 2021 has been, we thought we couldn’t possibly still be in this god damn pandemic anymore but here we are. Thankfully, even through the endless, and I mean ENDLESS delays we got some content this year that was absolutely incredible. Only one movie on this Top Ten list only played the festival circuit, and I cannot stress enough that it must be viewed when it comes out. Everything on this list deserves its placing, and if you haven’t seen some of these picks, please please please go and see it to warm your Cinephile heart. I present to you my top 10 of 2021. May 2022 bring forward some other excellent Cinema!
Alone With You
I’m your Man
Tick Tick Boom
Note: at the time of publication I have not seen Drive My Car, or Parallel Mothers.
Were we wrong thinking 2021 would be better than 2020? While it was not nearly as much of a dumpster fire, there is still so much wrong and so few lessons learned. I loved being able to experience movies in a theatre again, yet am depressed at how few people turned up for anything that did not involve Marvel characters (though I did enjoy some of those ones too). Fingers crossed we can lose the increasingly annoying “Exclusively in Theatres” rhetoric at some point in 2022. All of that said, I was able to experience a whole world of titles at digital festivals and likely saw more movies this year alone than I have in previous years (or at least compared to all the years I have tracked on Letterboxd!). So it was not all doom and gloom.
Here is a look at my ranked Top 10 list of titles that had a profound effect on me, inspiring my creativity endlessly in a year where I felt so little, followed by alphabetical lists of 2020 films I could not see until 2021 and a few festival favourites waiting for proper release.
The Mitchells vs. The Machines
The Worst Person in the World
Judas and the Black Messiah
Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain
Riders of Justice
2020 Favourites That Were Available This Year Minari Quo Vadis, Aida? Saint Maud
Unreleased Festival Favourites Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes Catch the Fair One The Fallout Petite Maman Sundown
Three things we always look for in a great film. One, it has to take us on a real journey and there’s gotta be something at stake that’s meaningful. It doesn’t matter how big the stakes are. It is the Director and Actors’ jobs to make it feel like the journey they are going on matters. Two, we love it when an Actor transforms and we laud bravado in a performance. Three, we want to feel something when we walk away from a film. These Films meet all the criteria for me. Whether it be Kristen Stewart’s transcendent performance as Diana in Spencer which we’re still obsessed with, or what it means for a father to go for broke because he believes so much in his daughters in King Richard, or films like Zola and Red Rocket which pushed the envelope giving us a glimpse into the lives of Sex Workers, my eyes were opened and sometimes welled-up from some of the masterful work I saw in my Top Ten.
Don’t forget to check-out highlights from our 2021 Star Sightings in Toronto here!
2. King Richard
3. Red Rocket
4. Blue Bayou
5. The Eyes of Tammy Faye
7. West Side Story
10. Licorice Pizza
To another amazing year in Film ahead! Thank you for continuing to join us!
2022 Golden Globe nominations were unveiled earlier this morning in Los Angeles with Snoop Dogg serving announcement duties. Topping the nominations this year is HBO’s widely-acclaimed SUCCESSION with five nominations. The third season of the Series just concluded last night with an explosive cliffhanger finish.
Netflix prevailed with the most nominations, garnering a total 17 nominations, with THE POWER OF THE DOG, TICK, TICK…BOOM! and DON’T LOOK UP nominated for Motion Picture – Drama and Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical.
A few interesting observations. Jessica Chastain, who is nominated in both Film and TV categories for her work in THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE and SCENES FROM A MARRIAGE, is placed in the Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama category though technically THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE technically can be considered a Musical, where her chances might have been increased at winning. Many are surprised by the omission of graphic Body-Horror TITANE which won accolades out of Cannes and TIFF. And while many saw NIGHTMARE ALLEY as a major contender, it was nowhere to be found on the list of nominees. Some also are surprised Bradley Cooper didn’t get recognition for his supporting turn in LICORICE PIZZA.
Nominees are below:
Best Television Series, Musical or Comedy
“The Great” (Hulu)
“Hacks” (HBO/HBO Max)
“Only Murders in the Building” (Hulu)
“Reservation Dogs” (FX on Hulu)
“Ted Lasso” (Apple TV Plus)
Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series, Drama
Brian Cox (“Succession”)
Lee Jung-jae (“Squid Game”)
Billy Porter (“Pose”)
Jeremy Strong (“Succession”)
Omar Sy (“Lupin)
Best Performance by an Actress, Limited Series, Anthology Series or a Motion Picture made for Television
Jessica Chastain (“Scenes From a Marriage”)
Cynthia Erivo (“Genius: Aretha”)
Elizabeth Olsen (“WandaVision“)
Margaret Qualley (“Maid”)
Kate Winslet (“Mare of Easttown”)
Best Director, Motion Picture
Kenneth Branagh (“Belfast”)
Jane Campion (“The Power of the Dog”)
Maggie Gyllenhaal (“The Lost Daughter”)
Steven Spielberg (“West Side Story”)
Denis Villeneuve (“Dune”)
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Marion Cotillard (“Annette”)
Alana Haim (“Licorice Pizza”)
Jennifer Lawrence (“Don’t Look Up”)
Emma Stone (“Cruella”)
Rachel Zegler (“West Side Story”)
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama
Mahershala Ali (“Swan Song”)
Javier Bardem (“Being the Ricardos”)
Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Power of the Dog”)
Will Smith (“King Richard”)
Denzel Washington (“The Tragedy of Macbeth”)
Best Television Series, Drama
“The Morning Show” (Apple TV Plus)
“Squid Game” (Netflix)
“Succession” (HBO/HBO Max)
Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series, Drama
Uzo Aduba (“In Treatment”)
Jennifer Aniston (“The Morning Show”)
Christine Baranski (“The Good Fight)
Elisabeth Moss (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)
Michaela Jaé Rodriguez (“Pose”)
Best Performance by an Actor, Limited Series, Anthology Series or Motion Picture made for Television
Paul Bettany (“WandaVision”)
Oscar Isaac (“Scenes From a Marriage”)
Michael Keaton (“Dopesick”)
Ewan McGregor (“Halston”)
Tahar Rahim (“The Serpent”)
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Leonardo DiCaprio (“Don’t Look Up”)
Peter Dinklage (“Cyrano”)
Andrew Garfield (“Tick, Tick … Boom!”)
Cooper Hoffman (“Licorice Pizza”)
Anthony Ramos (“In the Heights”)
Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
Ben Affleck (“The Tender Bar”)
Jamie Dornan (“Belfast”)
Ciarán Hinds (“Belfast”)
Troy Kotsur (“CODA”)
Kodi Smit-McPhee (“The Power of the Dog”)
Best Original Score, Motion Picture
“The French Dispatch” (Searchlight Pictures) — Alexandre Desplat
“Encanto” (Walt Disney Pictures) — Germaine Franco
“The Power of the Dog” (Netflix) — Jonny Greenwood
“Parallel Mothers” (Sony Pictures Classic) — Alberto Iglesias
“Dune” (Warner Bros.) — Hans Zimmer
Best Actress in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy
Hannah Einbinder (“Hacks”)
Elle Fanning (“The Great”)
Issa Rae (“Insecure”)
Tracee Ellis Ross (“Black-ish”)
Jean Smart (“Hacks”)
Best Limited Series, Anthology Series or a Motion Picture made for Television
“Impeachment: American Crime Story” (FX)
“Mare of Easttown” (HBO/HBO Max)
“The Underground Railroad” (Amazon Prime Video)
Best Supporting Actor, Television
Billy Crudup (“The Morning Show”)
Kieran Culkin (“Succession”)
Mark Duplass (“The Morning Show”)
Brett Goldstein (“Ted Lasso”)
O Yeong-su (“Squid Game”)
Best Picture, Musical or Comedy
“Don’t Look Up” (Netflix)
“Licorice Pizza” (MGM)
“Tick, Tick … Boom!” (Netflix)
“West Side Story” (20th Century Studios / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Elevation Pictures x Mr. Will want to give Readers across Canada a chance to win a Digital Download of SPENCER. Witness the performance everyone is raving about, by Kristen Stewart!
The marriage of Princess Diana and Prince Charles has long since grown cold. Though rumors of affairs and a divorce abound, peace is ordained for the Christmas festivities at the Queen’s Sandringham Estate. There’s eating and drinking, shooting and hunting. Diana knows the game. But this year, things will be profoundly different. SPENCER is an imagining of what might have happened during those few fateful days.
To enter for a chance to win, click “like” on this Post at MR. WILL ON FACEBOOK. Re-Tweet this Contest Tweet for an extra chance.
Marvel Studios’ ETERNALS has a smashing debut, opening with $70 million from 4,090 theatres across North America. Directed by Oscar winner Chloé Zhao, the star-studded opus which includes the likes of Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Kumail Nanjiani, Richard Madden, Kit Harington and more, gets 48% on the Tomatometer.
In second is two-week champ DUNE, with $6.4 million from 3,546 theatres. In its third weekend out, it crosses the $100 million mark for Warner Bros.
NO TIME TO DIE is showing resilience, hanging-onto third spot with $6.1 million for Universal Pictures, a total $143.1 million over five weeks.
VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE takes fourth spot with $4.1 million, a total $196.6 million over six weeks for Sony Pictures.
RON’S GONE WRONG is fifth with $3.2 million for 20th Century Studios, a total $17 million grossed over three weeks.
Special note, Pablo Larrain‘s Festival Darling SPENCER starring Kirsten Stewart with $2 million from only 996 theatres for NEON/Elevation Pictures, placing it eighth in its debut. The Princess Diana Biopic centering on Christmas weekend before she decides to leave Prince Charles, gets 86% on the Tomatometer.
TIFF announce their upcoming programming slate, and trust me, there is some really good stuff including TIFF ’21 favourites SPENCER (we’re definitely seeing this again!) and THE POWER OF THE DOG, plus some cool retrospectives!
TIFF CINEMATHEQUE SERIES
Céline Sciamma: Portraits of Desire – November 11 to 21, 2021
Since the success of the widely acclaimed Portrait of a Lady on Fire — which won both the Queer Palm and the Award for Best Screenplay at Cannes 2019 — French filmmaker Céline Sciamma made both a departure from her three previous films and a masterful culmination of an oeuvre that sensitively and intelligently deals with such urgent themes as gender identity, female bonds, and the blurred boundaries between friendship and love. This programme was created to celebrate her work upon the release of her fourth feature, and now, two years later, it’s even more urgent and resonant as audiences await the theatrical release of the director’s latest film, Petite Maman (2021), which had its Canadian premiere at the Festival. Included in this retrospective are Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Girlhood, Tomboy, and her debut, Water Lilies, as well as the animated film My Life as a Courgette (which Sciamma co-scripted).
Paul Thomas Anderson: Evolution of a Master – November 25 to 28, 2021
Size matters in the films of Paul Thomas Anderson, and the increasing visual and thematic scope of his work is illustrated by these 70mm presentations tracing his evolution from big, unwieldy indie-cinema talent to a refined, mature American master. From the pyrotechnical brilliance of his sophomore breakthrough, Boogie Nights, to the elliptical psychic case study of The Master, to the wry fairy-tale riffage of Phantom Thread, Anderson has always crafted images strong and detailed enough to match his ideas. With introductions by critic Adam Nayman, author of the acclaimed 2020 book Paul Thomas Anderson: Masterworks, and a screening of David Lean’s 1949 romance The Passionate Friends, a major influence on Phantom Thread, this series seeks to honour these movies’ monumental accomplishments.
Musicals! The Movies that Moved Us – December 2, 2021 to January 6, 2022
Whether you know all the words to each song or you’re discovering these classics for the first time, there’s no denying the show-stopping pleasure of the form. The best musicals are grounded in sophisticated narratives, remarkable visual invention, and towering achievements in technical craft. Watch how Stanley Donen, Vincente Minnelli, Farah Khan, Jacques Demy, Ken Russell, Mani Ratnam, and more turn the delights of movie musicals to their own particular passions. Comprising 25 films, the programme will delight any fun-loving musical fan with movies like Singin’ in the Rain (1952), West Side Story (1961), Moulin Rouge! (2001), Mughal-E-Azam (1960), All That Jazz (1979), Kandukondain Kandukondain (2000), Grease (1978), and Purple Rain (1984).
Guillermo del Toro Presents: Film Noirs from 20th Century Fox – December 3 to 19, 2021
In anticipation of Guillermo del Toro’s upcoming release Nightmare Alley, TIFF Cinematheque presents a curated selection of film noirs from 20th Century Fox, hand-picked by del Toro himself. Inspired by the runs of similar genre-making studio films such as the highly-stylized gangster pictures championed by Warner Bros. in the 1930s (which cemented the anti-hero archetype in the face of the Hays Code’s guidelines) and the legendary monster movies helmed by Universal Studios between the ’30s and ’50s (whose creatures became the visual and emotional reference points for all subsequent horror-movie monsters), del Toro sees the brilliant stream of film noirs made under the 20th Century Fox banner as equally deserving of canonization. Before taking a turn down Nightmare Alley, audiences will have a chance to explore the director’s top five influential film noirs from the studio’s golden age of hard-boiled cinema, all on archival 35mm prints or in restored presentations.
Subscriptions are on sale to Members now and to the public on October 27.
Reel Talk: Contemporary World Cinema – November 7, 2021 to March 20, 2022 Offering a global snapshot of the best cinema from around the world, Reel Talk: Contemporary World Cinema provides a focus on non-English-language, art-house films that may not see wide release.
Secret Movie Club – November 14, 2021 to January 23, 2022 Back again in its old clubhouse, TIFF Bell Lightbox, this series offers some of the best new indie cinema before it hits Toronto theatres. Last season’s lineup included Minari, The Mauritanian, and Together Together.
Viola Desmond Day: Jennifer Holness on Subjects of Desire – November 8, 2021 at 7pm TIFF is commemorating the 75th anniversary of Viola Desmond’s historic stand against racial segregation and her barrier-breaking work as founder of the Desmond School of Beauty Culture with a special advance screening of the award-winning documentary Subjects of Desire, followed by a conversation with director Jennifer Holness. This provocative and culturally significant film is told from the perspective of women who aren’t afraid to challenge conventional beauty standards, and is partially set around the 50th anniversary of the Miss Black America Pageant, which was created as a political protest against dominant standards upheld by the beauty pageant industry.
Note: A TIFF digital event commemorating Viola Desmond Day is taking place on Monday, November 8 at 12 pm ET with scholar Cheryl Thompson and Cameron Bailey, TIFF Artistic Director and Head, for a special talk about Black representation in 1940s cinema. They will discuss what the film experience was like for Black spectators at the time, and how systemic anti-Black racism continues to persist in the film industry to this day. Watch this conversation on TIFF’s Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube channels.
TIFF Next Wave 48-Hour Challenge Screening – November 28, 2021, 2:30pm to 4pm
The highly anticipated return of the TIFF Next Wave 48-Hour Film Challenge welcomes teams of young creators to produce a short film in only 48 hours. TIFF will showcase all of the films shot during the challenge and celebrate the next wave of emerging filmmakers. Following the screening, one team will be awarded the grand prize for best film by a jury of film industry professionals.
Opens October 27 Passing Rebecca Hall | UK, USA | 2021 | 98 mins.
Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga star as two Black women contending with the notion of “passing” for white, in this 1920s-set psychological thriller. Shot in a 4:3 aspect ratio in beautiful black and white, this film was made for the big screen. Nominated for five Gotham Awards, including Best Feature, Best Screenplay, and Outstanding Lead Performance (Tessa Thompson).
Opens November 4 Spencer Pablo Larraín | Germany, UK | 2021 | 111 mins. Official Selection, 2021 Toronto International Film Festival
Kristen Stewart stars in Pablo Larraín’s haunting chamber drama that imagines a tumultuous Christmas in the life of Diana, Princess of Wales.
Opens November 12 tick, tick… BOOM! Lin-Manuel Miranda | USA | 2021 | 112 mins.
On the cusp of his 30th birthday, a promising young theatre composer navigates love, friendship, and the pressures of life as an artist in New York City.
Opens November 17 The Power of the Dog Jane Campion | Australia, New Zealand | 2021 | 127 mins. Official Selection, 2021 Toronto International Film Festival
TIFF Tribute Actor Award honouree Benedict Cumberbatch and Kirsten Dunst lead Jane Campion’s drama about two brothers whose lives change when a widow and her son arrive at their ranch.
Kristen Stewart continues to win accolades as Princess Diana Biopic, SPENCER.
The marriage of Princess Diana and Prince Charles has long since grown cold. Though rumors of affairs and a divorce abound, peace is ordained for the Christmas festivities at the Queen’s Sandringham Estate. There’s eating and drinking, shooting and hunting. Diana knows the game. But this year, things will be a whole lot different. SPENCER is an imagining of what might have happened during those few fateful days.
Elevation Pictures release SPENCER November 5, 2021 in theatres.
We don’t believe we made it through another TIFF! While this year’s Festival certainly was a bit more scaled-back we definitely were not short of things to do, equally putting in long days. So thankful to the Team for contributing their Reviews of the most key titles to surface at TIFF ’21 including Dave Baldwin, Amanda Gilmore and George Kozera. So thankful to be a Torontonian and be gifted every year with this amazing Festival. We’re so appreciative of the considerations for our safety and the fact that we were able to enjoy the Festival both in-person and at-home. We will never take for granted this flexibility.
Once again we must thank some of our official partners in our coverage of the Festival this year! We couldn’t have done it without their generosity and support and we’re always thrilled to get our Readers and Followers excited about their amazing products and services.
•1 $50 Starbucks Canada Gift Card •1 $50 Chatime gift card + 1x T-shirt +1x Tumbler + 1x Stainless Steel Straw set •1 $50 Gift Card at Lone Star Texas Grill •1 $50 Gift Card at Frankie’s Nashville Hot Chicken •1 Happy Gift Set including 1 Rose Quartz Roller + Gua Sha set, 1 Happy Face Mask, 1 bottle 250ml Happy Sanitizer and a Happy 3-Toothbrush set •1 The Beauty of Eczema’s Bathing Oil and Bath Salts At-Home Spa Set •1 Antipodes Manuka Honey Skin-Brightening Beehive Box •1 boscia Skin Nutrition Body Collection •1 bottle of Nature’s Sunshine new Hair, Skin & Nails capsules and BioGuard Hand and Body Cream •1 H&M Canada VIP Card •1 Official MR. WILL WONG Baseball Cap
Team Mr. Will also share their favourites of the Festival and also their predictions which Film will win that coveted People’s Choice Award!
TIFF’21 was a substantial upgrade from TIFF’20. Full Stop. The quality of films was substantially stronger, the in-person and digital offerings were better, and the all-around experience was so much closer to the TIFF we all know and love from those simpler, pre-pandemic times. There are some learnings the programming team will need to reflect on for next year’s festival, but I sincerely hope they continue with the hybrid experience despite some of the hiccups they encountered this year. It allows for an easier and more efficient means of discovery for everyone, and lets audiences still feel like they are part of the action even if they are watching from home. I had a blast watching so many movies this year, and am already looking forward to endlessly re-watching many of them. Yet I know in my bones that I would not have been able to see nearly as many had it only been an in-person festival. And while I am bummed to have missed out on Last Night in Soho and Spencer, I am overjoyed at everything I did get to see — including some of the more forgettable titles. Next year will no doubt look different again, but here’s hoping it will still feel like TIFF because where else can you go from watching a hit Broadway musical adaptation like Dear Evan Hansen to an Oscar-prestige play like The Power of the Dog to the absolute madness of the Palme d’Or winning Titane?
The Eyes of Tammy Faye
Last Night in Soho
Dear Evan Hansen
People’s Choice Award Prediction: Spencer
We’re still mesmerized by Kristen Stewart’s work in Spencer, which almost is side-by-side as our favourite with Jessica Chastain‘s mind-blowing portrayal of Tammy Faye Bakker in The Eyes of Tammy Faye! We still are obsessed with Last Night in Soho and can’t wait to see it again in October! We missed The Power of the Dog but are thankful it will be available soon on Netflix! So excited to see some of these titles propel into Awards Season success.
Kristen Stewart and Director Pablo Larraín do Princess Diana justice with Spencer.
It follows Diana over her final Christmas with the royal family. She arrives at the mansion willing to comply with the strenuous rules the family demand over the holidays. But as the long days and night tread on, Diana begins suffocating in the life she lives. Over the three days of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day, Diana decides to break free. The Filmmakers have stated this Film is a mix of history and speculation. This is further clarified with the opening title cards that read the film is “A Fable of a True Tragedy.”
Screenwriter Steven Knight refreshingly puts the focus on Diana instead of the royal family and gives a rounded look at the Princess of Wales. There are difficult to watch scenes of Diana binge eating, purging, and self-harming. These are matched with heartfelt intimate moments of Diana with her sons, showing the immense love and bond they shared.
Ever the master of atmosphere, Larraín covers the mansion in a thick, dense fog that envelopes the grounds like dread. Like his previous film Jackie, long tracking shots follow Diana walking or running. It’s here we see the depth of the physical change in stature and stride Stewart has made to embody Diana. One beautiful moment comes in a montage of tracks that pays homage to Diana’s love for dance. Additionally, his close-ups mirror the claustrophobia, horror and immense pressure Diana felt. Diana’s inner world is further highlighted by one of the best Scores of the year from Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood.
Yet, none of this would work if it wasn’t for Stewart. She embodies Diana while refreshingly making her, her own. She fully encapsulates the suffocation Diana felt, and expertly expresses both desire and fear in leaving. It’s truly one of the best performances of the year. She’s joined by Timothy Spall, who gives a textured performance as staff hired to keep an eye on Diana. And the charming Sally Hawkins, who plays a personal attendant to Diana, is delightful to watch. Particularly, in a scene towards the end, she shares with Stewart.
Overall, Spencer is a perfect balancing act of history and speculation, is impeccably shot, and showcases a top-tier performance from Stewart. Even if you take away the fact that it’s about Diana, this Film works as a story of a woman reclaiming control and agency over her life.
Press has begun for many of the Films premiering at TIFF ’21 and since Red Carpets aren’t public this year, we have to use a bit more creativity getting that snap! No worries, we’re managing!
We spotted the Cast of DEAR EVAN HANSEN out and about today as they did the rounds and captured a few lovely moments among Ben Platt, Julianne Moore, Danny Pino, Nik Dodani and Director Stephe n Chbosky!
We also were thrilled to attend the Premiere of Clint Bentley‘s JOCKEY which had won much acclaim at Sundance, winning Clifton Collins Jr. the award for Best Actor. Collins and Bentley were at TIFF ’21 today to premiere the Film at Scotiabank Theatre, giving the audience to understand an authentic story about the world of Horse Racing and what it’s like to be an aging athlete. Bentley tells the audience he is actually from a family involved very much with the industry. Don’t forget to check our running TIFF ’21 link herefor the Review.
We also finally saw Pablo Larrain‘s SPENCER starring Kristen Stewart and were floored! So much detail and a super portrayal of Diana by Stewart. While our Review is coming shortly, here is a short thread on Twitter I Tweeted:
Additional titles have been announced at TIFF ’21 today in the Platform, Special Events and Short Cuts Programmes, with Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal) being named President of the Jury for the Platform Competition this year! The Competition seeks to reward films of high artistic merit that also demonstrate a strong directorial vision. Ahmed also will be at TIFF ’21 with the film ENCOUNTER, about two brothers embarking on a journey with their father to protect the world from an alien threat.
Pablo Larrain‘s SPENCER which stars Kristen Stewart as Diana also will be coming to the Festival in the Special Events Programme.
The Festival is set to take place September 9-18, 2021.
Arthur Rambo Laurent Cantet | France World Premiere
Drunken Birds (Les oiseaux ivres) Ivan Grbovic | Canada World Premiere
Earwig Lucile Hadžihalilović | United Kingdom/France/Belgium World Premiere
Huda’s Salon Hany Abu-Assad | Palestine/Egypt/Netherlands/Qatar World Premiere
Mlungu Wam(Good Madam)(Mlungu Wam) Jenna Cato Bass | South Africa World Premiere
Montana Story Scott McGehee, David Siegel | USA World Premiere
Silent Land(Cicha Ziemia) Aga Woszczyńska | Poland/Italy/Czech Republic World Premiere
Yuni Kamila Andini | Singapore/France/Indonesia/Australia World Premiere
TIFF SHORT CUTS PROGRAMME
A Few Miles South Ben Pearce | United Kingdom World Premiere
Angakusajaujuq – The Shaman’s Apprentice(Angakusajaujuq) Zacharias Kunuk | Canada North American Premiere
Anxious Body Yoriko Mizushiri | France/Japan North American Premiere
ASTEL Ramata-Toulaye Sy | France/Senegal World Premiere
Beity Isabelle Mecattaf | Lebanon/United States of America International Premiere
Bhai Hamza Bangash | United Kingdom/Canada/Pakistan World Premiere
Boobs Marie Valade | Canada North American Premiere
Charlotte Zach Dorn | United States of America World Premiere
DEFUND Khadijah Roberts-Abdullah, Araya Mengesha | Canada World Premiere
Displaced (Pa Vend) Samir Karahoda | Kosovo North American Premiere
DUST BATH Seth A Smith | Canada World Premiere
Egúngún(Masquerade) Olive Nwosu | United Kingdom/Nigeria World Premiere
Fanmi Sandrine Brodeur-Desrosiers, Carmine Pierre-Dufour | Canada World Premiere
Hanging On Alfie Barker | United Kingdom International Premiere
I Gotta Look Good for the Apocalypse Ayçe Kartal | France North American Premiere
I Would Never Kiran Deol | United States of America World Premiere
Little Bird Tim Myles | Canada World Premiere
Love, Dad (Milý tati) Diana Cam Van Nguyen | Czech Republic/Slovakia Canadian Premiere
Meneath: The Hidden Island of Ethics Terril Calder | Canada World Premiere
Motorcyclist’s Happiness Won’t Fit Into His Suit (Al motociclista no le cabe la felicidad en el traje) Gabriel Herrera | Mexico Canadian Premiere
NuisanceBear Jack Weisman, Gabriela Osio Vanden | Canada World Premiere
Ousmane Jorge Camarotti | Canada World Premiere
Saturday Night Rosana Matecki | Canada World Premiere
Shark Nash Edgerton | Australia World Premiere
Soft Animals Renee Zhan | United Kingdom North American Premiere
Some Still Search (Algunos Siguen Buscando) Nesaru Tchaas | United States of America World Premiere
Srikandi Andrea Nirmala Widjajanto | Indonesia/Canada World Premiere
Successful Thawing of Mr. Moro (Lyckad upptining av herr Moro) Jerry Carlsson | Sweden International Premiere
Sycorax (Sycorax)Lois Patiño, Matías Piñeiro | Portugal/Spain North American Premiere
The Future Isn’t What It Used To Be Adeyemi Michael | United Kingdom Canadian Premiere
The Infantas (Las Infantas) Andrea Herrera Catalá | Spain World Premiere
The Syed Family Xmas Eve Game Night Fawzia Mirza | United States of America/Canada World Premiere
Together (Ham-Gye) Albert Shin | Canada/South Korea World Premiere
Trumpets in the Sky Rakan Mayasi | Palestine/Lebanon/France/Belgium World Premiere
Twelve Hours Paul Shkordoff | Canada World Premiere
White Devil Mariama Diallo, Benjamin Dickinson | United States of America World Premiere
You and Me, Before and After Madeleine Gottlieb | Australia International Premiere
Zero (Nula) Lee Filipovski | Canada/Serbia World Premiere
Special IMAX Screenings of Dune
The film, based on Frank Herbert’s classic novel, will screen at the Cinespherein Toronto on the following dates:
· Saturday, September 11 – World Exclusive IMAX Special Event · Sunday, September 12 – Repeat IMAX Screening · Saturday, September 18 – Public IMAX Screening
TIFF is also delighted to announce an additional Special IMAX screening of Dune in Montreal presented by Bell at Cinéma Banque Scotia Montréal on Sunday, September 12.
This screening is made possible in venue partnership with Cineplex as part of TIFF’s Canadian Satellite Screening programme. An additional screening of Dune will take place in Toronto at Scotiabank Theatre on September 13.
NBA Films For Fans created with OLG
On November 1, 1946, the NBA’s first-ever game was held at Maple Leaf Gardens, where the hometown Toronto Huskies played the New York Knickerbockers. Seventy-five years later, as part of the league’s anniversary celebrations, the NBA honours its Canadian roots at TIFF 2021.
TIFF is proud to announce the launch of NBA Films For Fans created with OLG. This can’t-miss Special Event will feature five short films from Canadian filmmakers and basketball fans: Thyrone Tommy — also at this year’s Festival with his debut feature, Learn to Swim — and fellow Torontonians and TIFF talent development alumni Romeo Candido, Shawn Gerrard, and S.M. Turrell, as well as Vancouverite Kat Jayme, also a Talent Alumni as the 2019 Pitch This winner. Learn more about the Special Event and register for updates at NBAFilmsForFans.com.