Even if the Toronto International Film Festival was simply the unofficial beginning of the prestige-movie–dropping, Oscar-obsessing, A-listing awards season – the tail end of a three-fest starting gate along with Venice and Telluride – it would still be considered an autumn hot spot for movie lovers. Where else can you catch so many potential "and the winner is ..." nominees, the films that everybody will be debating and discussing (or dismissing from the Oscars conversation), in one fell swoop?
Still, the fest, which kicks off on September 7th and runs through the 18th, is apt to remind folks, it isn't just a platform or pit-stop on the way to the Kodak Theatre's podium. It's also got something for genre-movie freaks, disciples of documentaries and those who want off-the-beaten-path viewing. You can catch up on Cannes favorites and other foreign-film delights. A TV sidebar, you say? Yup, it has one of those too.
Is it a lot, or even occasionally, way too much? Of course. But the ability to sample so much different moviegoing in one place – to survey the state of the art form, as much as one can these days – is why so many of us keep tracking up to the Canadian city year after year. And after poring through the 42nd edition's lineup, we've singled out 30 movies we're dying to check out (and a few gems we can't recommend enough). Best Picture wannabes and biopics, docs on Obama and Lady Gaga, experimental riffs on Seventies exploitation movies and Fifties noirs, old-school Westerns, new-school digital filmmaking tricks and a secret Louis CK movie in black and white – here's what we're excited to see at TIFF 2017. Go north, young men and women.