TIFF 2019 was a whirlwind. 333 films were shown from over 80 countries, and I was lucky enough to watch a couple of them.
Knives Out is a hilarious comedy/mystery film starring Daniel Craig, Ana de Armas, and Chris Evans. I watched the film as a Gala Presentation. When the director, Rian Johnson, appeared at the beginning of the premiere, there was a five-minute standing ovation. Film lovers adore him, so it was very likely, before the film even started, that it was going to get very good reviews. The film itself was light and airy, with a good mixture of family drama and comedy. The cinematography and style of the film will give you Agatha Christie and Alfred Hitchcock vibes, as those were the people the director was inspired by. I found the whodunit aspect overshadowed slightly by the obvious nature of the killer’s identity, but the comedic aspect saves the film. It’s worth a watch and will be released in theatres on November 27. 7/10.
The storyline follows pilot Amelia Wren (Felicity Jones) and scientist James Glaisher (Eddie Redmayne) as they attempt to fly to the highest point in the sky in a hot air balloon in 1862. They are faced with enormous challenges, from storms to the freezing cold, and need to fight for their survival. What truly shines in this film is the grit of Jones, a female pilot, as she fights with her personal demons and Glaisher to keep them alive. As the story is based on real-life events, it makes the film all the more interesting. The soundtrack and cinematography in the film are outstanding, and I heard many gasps around me in the cinema as the sound shifts from complete silence to sudden orchestral crescendos. The Aeronauts will be released December 6. 8/10.
Ford v Ferrari
I personally waited five hours in the rush line to see this film. It was well worth the wait. The film is based on a real-life story, which follows Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon), the owner of a custom-make luxury car dealership, and racer Ken Miles (Christian Bale). Shelby was once a racer who won the illustrious 24 hours of Le Mans race. He retires and starts making cars instead. Ford, losing a battle with Ferrari over ownership rights to the Italian brand, hires Shelby to help them build a car and find a racer who could win them the most difficult race of the century: Le Mans. Shelby enlists his best friend Miles’ help, and the competition begins. I cannot praise this film highly enough. It has everything: twists, adrenaline, comedy, family, and drama. Personally, I have never been into cars, but this film made me want to learn more about racing. The director, James Mangold, did a fantastic job. The film will be released November 15. 10/10.
This film was heart-wrenching and beautiful, and kept me on the edge of my seat battling a tear away the whole time. It stars Rosamund Pike as Marie Sklodowska-Curie, as she discovers new scientific facts in the twentieth century. It is directed by Marjane Satrapi, a female director who is incredibly smart and honest in her directing style. The storyline is not a predictable one—in fact, I never imagined that a female scientist would lead a life like the one Curie did. You will be shocked at the things you will learn from this film, and it will change your perspective on different facets of common science that you may think you understand fully. I will not divulge any further, as it will ruin the secrets of the film. Radioactive will be released in 2020. 10/10.
Ultimately, this year’s TIFF was fantastic. I flew from film to film with utter glee as I prepared to see stories acted out by my favourite actors and directors. TIFF is one of the most fun festivals you will find in Toronto, and if you missed it this year, be sure to make it for next year. You won’t regret it.