It was like a muscle memory, quick to come back. That feeling of jostling from theater to theater, standing in line and just being around other people that was once an annual tradition at the Toronto International Film Festival, but for many long-time attendees, is suspended since 2019.
The festival returned with a full program of awards hopefuls, other festival favorites and other assorted titles from around the world. As the mass of media moved from premiere to premiere, sometimes exiting a theater to line up again for the next show in the same venue, it was always easy for movies to get lost in the backwash of so many screenings and events going on. Cannes winner ‘Triangle of Sadness’ and Sundance winner ‘Nanny’ both performed well in front of the audience in the room but didn’t garner much media attention simply because it wasn’t their time to really shine.
Even people who didn’t have feature films on the schedule still wanted to get in on the act. Taylor Swift popped in for a chat with her Oscar-winning short “All Too Well.” Damien Chazelle sat down for a career-spanning chat that included the premiere of the trailer for his yet-to-be-finished ’20s Hollywood epic, “Babylon,” slated for release in December.
Darren Aronofsky’s ‘The Whale’, starring Brendan Fraser, arrived from its Venice premiere as arguably the festival’s most controversial film, with critics seemingly split on whether it was sincerely sincere or narrow-minded simplistic in its story of an obese man trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter. Other notable films world premiering in Toronto or from other festivals include Florian Zeller’s ‘The Son’, Marie Kreutzer’s ‘Corsage’, Nicholas Stoller’s ‘Bros’, Michael Grandage’s ‘My Policeman’, Causeway” by Lila Neugebauer, “EO” by Jerzy Skolimowski. and “The Inspection” by Elegance Bratton.
Below are five picks each from The Times’ field coverage team members in a mix of personal favorites and titles that simply can’t be overlooked at this year’s event.