It’s the third stop on the major fall festival circuit after Venice and Telluride, the place to catch up with the best of Berlin and Cannes and the beginning of what for some films are a long, hard awards-circuit slog. But mostly, the Toronto International Film Festival is a movie lover’s dream. It’s a celebration of what the seventh art has to offer, from the sort of blockbusters and A-list prestige dramas that Hollywood loves to fawn over to experimental whatsits. You can walk out of a feel-good comedy and right into the bleakest of foreign-language dramas. Works from established auteurs five decades into a career, as well as the debuts of promising next-gen newcomers? It has those. Docs on everything from social issues to musical artists, and WTF genre flicks, and an abundance of shorts collections? Yes, yes, and yes.
There are a number of big-ticket items in the 2019 edition that kicks off on September 5th, from Todd Philips’ supervillain-meets-’70s New Hollywood franchise detour Joker to the all-star murder-mystery throwback Knives Out, that we’re insanely curious about. But the 25 movies we’ve highlighted below are a hodgepodge of different titles — a Brazilian Western, a Bruce Springsteen concert film, adaptations of an H.P. Lovecraft short story and a Charles Dickens novel, a 21st-century character study about a deaf drummer, a white-hot 18th century romance — that run the gamut of what TIFF has to offer. (There’s a slight overlap with our Fall Movie Preview, but not much.) It’s a concentrated sampling of what we can’t wait to see, or in a few cases see again, over the next week-plus.