This year’s Toronto International Film Festival is certainly not lacking in films to fête: Some 200 features will screen over 11 days, including world premieres of the latest from Oscar-winning directors Peter Farrelly and Steven Spielberg and directorial debuts from the likes of Elegance Bratton and Lila Neugebauer. TIFF will also launch much-anticipated movies like Bros and The Woman King before they open in theaters this month.
Below, A.frame has curated a list of 15 must-movies playing in Toronto, focusing on the films that will be debuting for the first time. TIFF will also mark the latest stop for festival standouts from Cannes (including Ruben Östlund’s Palme d’Or-winning Triangle of Sadness), Telluride (Sam Mendes’ Empire of Light and Sarah Polley’s Women Talking) and Venice (like Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin, Florian Zeller’s The Son, and Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale, among others).
In her feature directorial debut, actress-turned-filmmaker Mary Nighy casts Anna Kendrick as Alice, an anxious young woman trapped in an abusive relationship. A weekend away with friends (Kaniehtiio Horn and Wunmi Mosaku) gives way to a psychological thriller when Alice’s boyfriend (Charlie Carrick) shows up announced.
When it’s showing: Alice, Darling premieres on Sunday, Sept. 11 at Roy Thomson Hall, with additional screenings on Sept. 12.
Billy Eichner (who co-wrote and stars in this historic rom-com) plays a comedian whose cynical view on modern love is turned upside down when he falls for a charming lawyer (Luke Macfarlane). Directed by Nicholas Stoller, Bros features an entirely LGBTQ+ principal cast playing the lead roles, gay and straight.
When it’s showing: Bros premieres on Friday, Sept. 9 at the Princess of Wales Theatre, with additional screenings through Sept. 17.
Three words: Nicolas. Cage. Western. Adapted from John Williams’ novel of the same name, filmmaker Gabe Polsky’s cowboy picture is set in the 1870s and stars Cage as a buffalo hunter who convinces a naïve Harvard dropout (Fred Hechinger) to join him on a dangerous expedition in the Colorado Rockies.
When it’s showing: Butcher’s Crossing premieres on Friday, Sept. 9 at Roy Thomson Hall, with additional screenings through Sept. 17.
Director Stephen Williams’ last film to debut at TIFF was 1995’s Soul Survivor. Now, he returns with a lavish historical drama inspired by the true story of composer Joseph Bologne (Kelvin Harrison Jr.), a brilliant Black artist who rose to prominence in 18th-century France, even joining Marie Antoinette’s (Lucy Boynton) inner circle.
When it’s showing: Chevalier premieres on Sunday, Sept. 11 at the Princess of Wales Theatre, with additional screenings through Sept. 16.
Theater director Lila Neugebauer’s feature debut stars Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence as an Army Corps of Engineers veteran struggling to recover from severe physical and psychological wounds while adjusting to life back home in New Orleans and a burgeoning friendship with a local mechanic (Brian Tyree Henry).
When it’s showing: Causeway premieres on Saturday, Sept. 10 at the Royal Alexandra Theatre, with additional screenings through Sept. 15.
Steven Spielberg’s last film adapted a classic, West Side Story, to the tune of seven Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. Now, the filmmaker is mining his own childhood, with this semi-autobiographical coming-of-age story about a boy in the ’50s who falls in love with moviemaking. Michelle Williams and Paul Dano play his parents, with Seth Rogen as his surrogate uncle.
When it’s showing: The Fabelmans premieres on Saturday, Sept. 10 at the Princess of Wales Theatre, with additional screenings through Sept. 17.
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
The second installment in Rian Johnson‘s Oscar-nominated Knives Out franchise sees Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) taking on a sordid new case with a starry new cast of suspects, including Dave Bautista, Edward Norton, Janelle Monáe, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., and Kate Hudson.
When it’s showing: Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery premieres on Saturday, Sept. 10 at the Princess of Wales Theatre, with additional screenings through Sept. 17.
The Greatest Beer Run Ever
Peter Farrelly’s first film since Green Book won Best Picture at the 2019 Oscars is based on the true story of John “Chickie” Donohue (Zac Efron), a Marine vet who decides on a whim to travel from NYC to the frontlines of the Vietnam War to deliver his Army buddies a cold one.
When it’s showing: The Greatest Beer Run Ever premieres on Tuesday, Sept. 13 at Roy Thomson Hall, with additional screenings through Sept. 15.
Elegance Bratton‘s feature debut is based on his own life story: Jeremy Pope stars as Ellis French, a young, gay Black man who enlists in the Marine Corps after he is rejected by his mother (Gabrielle Union). Upon arriving at boot camp, Ellis is pushed to his limits but finds unexpected camaraderie among his fellow recruits (including Bokeem Woodbine).
When it’s showing: The Inspection premieres on Thursday, Sept. 8 at the Royal Alexandra Theatre, with additional screenings through Sept. 16.
A Jazzman’s Blues
More than two decades in the making for Tyler Perry, A Jazzman’s Blues was the first screenplay that he ever wrote. A story of forbidden love and unsolved murder that spans multiple decades, the drama stars Joshua Boone, Solea Pfeiffer, Amirah Vann, Austin Scott, and Ryan Eggold.
When it’s showing: A Jazzman’s Blues premieres on Sunday, Sept. 11 at Roy Thomson Hall, with additional screenings through Sept. 18.
9 to 5 co-stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin reunite on the big screen in this dramedy from writer-director Paul Weitz (About a Boy). Here, they play estranged friends who reconnect after the death of a mutual friend and decide to exact revenge on her widower.
When it’s showing: Moving On premieres on Tuesday, Sept. 13 at Roy Thomson Hall, with a prior press screening on Sept. 9 and additional screenings on Sept. 14.
Director Michael Grandage’s adaptation of Bethan Roberts’ novel of the same name tells a forbidden love story set in 1950s Britain, as policeman Tom (Harry Styles) is torn between his love for his wife, Marion (Emma Corrin), and a sophisticated new friend, Patrick (David Dawson). The ensemble cast is the first to receive the TIFF Tribute Award for Performance.
When it’s showing: My Policeman premieres on Sunday, Sept. 11 at the Princess of Wales Theatre, with additional screenings through Sept. 17.
Korean auteur Hong Sangsoo’s dreamy chamber piece follows a director (Kwon Haehyo) and his estranged daughter (Park Miso) as they visit an old friend, Ms. Kim (Lee Hyeyoung), and are taken on a tour of her newly renovated building, imagining the lives of the tenants who will soon live in the walk up.
When it’s showing: Walk Up premieres on Thursday, Sept. 15, with a prior press screening on Sept. 11 and additional screenings through Sept. 18.
Weird: The Al Yankovic Story
How better to make a biopic of a musical parodist than with a parody of musical biopics? Co-written by the real Al Yankovic and director Eric Appel, Weird stars Daniel Radcliffe as the titular singer, alongside Rainn Wilson as Dr. Demento, Evan Rachel Wood as Madonna, and Quinta Brunson as Oprah Winfrey.
When it’s showing: Weird: The Al Yankovic Story premieres on Thursday, Sept. 8 at the Royal Alexandra Theatre, with additional screenings on Sept. 9 and Sept. 18.
The Woman King
Oscar winner Viola Davis takes on her most transformative role yet as General Nanisca, leader of the all-female Agojie warriors. Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood and co-starring John Boyega, Lashana Lynch and Sheila Atim, The Woman King tells the true story of how the army defended their African kingdom of Dahomey in the 1800s.
When it’s showing: The Woman King premieres on Friday, Sept. 9 at Roy Thomson Hall, with additional screenings through Sept. 15.