25 Movies We Can't Wait to See at Toronto Film Festival 2019 - Rolling Stone
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25 Movies We Can’t Wait to See at Toronto Film Festival 2019

From a Brazilian Western to a Bruce Springsteen concert film — our must-see TIFF 2019 preview


Kristen Stewart in 'Seberg', Bruce Springsteen in 'Western Stars' and Eddie Murphy in 'Dolemite Is My Name'.

Courtesy of TIFF, Danny Clinch, Courtesy of TIFF

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.


Courtesy TIFF


A promising high school wrestler (Luce‘s Kelvin Harrison Jr.) tries to balance the pressures of living with a dad (Sterling K. Brown) who pushes him to his limits, a potentially season-ending injury, girlfriend trouble and being a young black man in America. Then tragedy strikes, and the story shifts to his sister (Taylor Russell), a shy girl falling in love with a charmingly awkward fellow student (Lucas Hedges). To say that this new film from Trey Edward Shults, the 30-year-old filmmaker behind Krisha and It Comes at Night, is ambitious would be putting it mildly; love it or hate it, he’s made a sprawling, painfully emotional American drama that confirms he’s a real-deal auteur.


Courtesy TIFF

‘Western Stars’

After he put out his brilliant Western Stars this past May, Bruce Springsteen mentioned that he had no plans to tour behind the album. He did hint, however, that he’d performed the whole thing live, from start to finish, for a small audience in his barn — and had filmed the show for posterity. Now, thanks to Bruce and his co-director/longtime collaborator Thom Zimny, you’ll get to see the man himself rip though “The Wayfarer,” “Tucson Train” and other cuts from his sunbaked country-inflected record. The trailer suggests there’s a whole lotta soul-searching going on between cuts as well.

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