With TIFF ’22, set to kick-off this Thursday – yes, it’s finally happening! – we lean upon Team Mr. Will for their own personal Top Five most-anticipated Films of the Festival. Though collectively we’ve only had a chance to preview and screen a handful of titles in advance of the Festival, that sure doesn’t mean we can’t be excited too about the unknown! Such a joy seeing which Films will come out of our Festival to Awards Season glory. Here are Team Mr. Will‘s top picks of TIFF ’22.
1. The Fabelmans Spielberg‘s origin story. Is this his Tree of Life? Has his unparalleled cinematic legacy been building to the September premiere? Let’s find out!
2. The Whale Whatever Darren Aronofsky does is always bold and unforgettable, even if it’s his lesser work. Mother! was, in my opinion, one of his best. This time he’s adapting the play of the same name featuring Brendan Fraser as a 600-pound English Teacher. Samantha Morton’s involved. I wonder how Aronofsky will bring his visual bravado to something that appears–at least at first glance–more scaled back in terms of locations and overall concept. Perhaps it’ll be more akin to The Wrestler, possibly my favourite of his.
3. Women Talking
Sarah Polley‘s back and she’s brought Frances McDormand, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley, Rooney Mara and Ben Whishaw. Away From Her and Stories We Tell are classics. I’m going to RUN, not walk, towards this danger!
4. The Son I’ve only seen a still of Hugh Jackman embracing someone and I know virtually nothing about this. While the title might have you believe otherwise, it is NOT connected to The Father, Florian Zeller‘s debut film and my personal favourite of the decade so far. If he can approach that level of sensitive, captivating brilliance once again–or surprise me with whatever!–The Son could easily be among the best of the fest.
5. Triangle of Sadness Ruben Östlund returns with another dive into decadence and social decay. I was overall mixed on his previous Palme d’Or-winning spectacle, The Square, but many of its gorgeous and equally discomforting sequences have stuck with me. His first film, Force Majeure, has become an enduring cinematic fable. With a gigantic Cast and seemingly no expense spared, this looks to be another grand swing for the fences at worst.
It’s that time of year again. The excitement is in the air for Festival Street to be back and cinemas and theatres to be packed! Below is a list of five films I can’t wait to see, in order.
1. Aftersun: This Film screened as part of Cannes Critics’ Week and was all anyone talked about. There were raves from anyone who saw it and its Writer-Director Charlotte Wells. It’s set in the ’90s and follows a young girl and her father, who’s struggling with melancholy, on a vacation to Turkey. It stars Normal People Breakout Paul Mescal.
2. Pearl:X is already in my Top Ten films of 2022 which means I CAN’T WAIT to see this Prequel! It tells us the origin story of Pearl the psychotic killer from X. Mia Goth not only reprises her role but co-wrote the script with Ti West! This one is gonna be killer!
3. Brother:TIFF has some highly anticipated Canadian Films screening this year and Brother is one of them! It’s an adaptation of David Chariandy’s novel and follows two Jamaican Canadian brothers who navigate the violence Scarborough saw in the ’90s. It stars The Hate U Give’s Lamar Johnson and The Underground Railroads’ Aaron Pierre.
4. Women Talking:Sarah Polley’s adaptation of Miriam Toews’s Novel of the same name is one of the buzz-worthy titles at this year’s fest. It follows a group of women in an isolated religious colony that has experienced a series of sexual assaults. It has a powerhouse Cast consisting of Rooney Mara, Jessie Buckley, Claire Foy and Frances McDormand to name a few.
5. The Whale: I love Darren Aronofsky so I can’t wait for this one. It follows a reclusive English teacher (Brendan Fraser) who suffers from obesity as he tries to reconnect with his estranged daughter (the talented Sadie Sink). TIFF has announced Fraser will receive the TIFF Tribute Actor Award this year which has only made me more excited.
One word: Spielberg. One of the most fascinating portions of the 2017 Documentary on this multiple Oscar winner’s life was how growing up in his dysfunctional family life molded him into the Artist he became. In this semi-autobiographical account, Spielberg revisits his youth. With a Script from the brilliant Tony Kushner (Angels in America), I am salivating and chomping at the bits!
2. THE WHALE
A virtually-unrecognizable Brendan Fraser in a movie directed by Darren Aronofsky (who polarized TIFF audiences with Mother! a few years back) definitely piqued my interest. About an obese English Teacher hoping to reconnect with his estranged daughter, it has all the hallmarks of an intense Family Drama, a genre I tend to gravitate towards.
Director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Shoplifters astonished me and I expect his latest, about the illegal baby trade in Korea starring Song Kang-ho (Parasite), will do the same.
4. THE SON
Florian Zeller’s The Father discombobulated me (in a good way!) and I expect nothing other than greatness from this family drama starring Hugh Jackman, Laura Dern, Vanessa Kirby and Anthony Hopkins.
5. (a tie) BROS and GLASS ONION: A KNIVES OUT MYSTERY
The Critic in me could have easily chosen from a myriad of compelling Dramas as my last picks but as an avid TIFF attendee for over 30 years, many of my days in darkened theatres had me grinning from ear to ear, if not just downright laughing out loud. BROS (about two gay men with commitment issues) and GLASS ONION: A KNIVES OUT MYSTERY (oh, come on now, you know you loved its predecessor!) are so very high up in my must-see list.
The above list is in no particular order, other than the movies I am most excited for. Rian Johnson’s back with another whodunnit, do I need to say more? Park Chan-Wook is one of the most exciting Directors out there next to Bong Joon-Ho in my opinion, so whatever this man creates has my attention and interest at the bare minimum. The Blackening, man as a Midnight Madness movie, this excites me even more, it’s a movie that takes the tired trope of the ‘black character’ having to die first, and flips it on its head.
EO Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery The Fabelmans The Whale Weird: The Al Yankovic Story
I haven’t been to TIFF physically in three years — so to say I am excited about this year’s crop of films is an understatement. The sequel to Knives Out? Steven Spielberg’s first time at the Festival, for a film that’s semi-autobiographical? Brendan Fraser getting the Oscar buzz he so richly deserves? All three of those sound like bangers, and adding a Weird Al Biopic (with no less than Daniel Radcliffe playing Weird Al!) on top of the plethora of genres, tones, themes, and everything else you can think of, is what gets me so excited year after year. And well, all I have heard since Cannes is that EO is a must-see…and I can’t seem to figure out why? No matter, it’s a ticket I already have and I am ready to take the plunge for whatever this donkey throws at me. I have more jumbled things to say, but no time to say them. I have a schedule to start revising!
I love a big comeback story and am completely obsessed with THE WHALE, Darren Aronofsky’s latest starring Brendan Fraser. The Director’s Black Swan, also a TIFF selection years ago, remains one of my favourites of all time. So much about this Film is under-wraps and I’m sure for good reason! Have you heard the raves coming out of Venice?? Cannot wait. MY POLICEMAN is looking every bit the buzz-worthy and while I was disappointed Harry Styles’ other Film Don’t Worry Darling isn’t coming to TIFF, this might also be for a reason which will make sense in a bit. Jennifer Lawrence is back after an absence and we’re so ready for CAUSEWAY which has her starring as a soldier coping after returning home, and this looks to really take us on a journey. Being from Scarborough, I have an obvious affinity for BROTHER, which was shot in-town and looks every bit an important a Film as it looks. And not to be confused for BROTHER is Rom-Com, BROS, starring and written by Billy Eichner which we are definitely going to see. Rounding things out for us is TIFF Tribute Gala Honouree Sam Mendes’ EMPIRE OF LIGHT, celebrating the love of Cinema and starring one of our faves, Olivia Colman. So in-order:
2. MY POLICEMAN
5. EMPIRE OF LIGHT
TIFF ’22 runs September 8-18, 2022. We’re ready. Are you?
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