From September 6 to 16, this city becomes an enormous set for a cast of directors, producers, actors, executives, critics and cinephiles, all of whom have assembled for the hotly anticipated Toronto International Film Festival. TIFF’s main attraction, of course, is screenings galore, but it’s always a challenge to choose which of the 300-plus films to target. After all, the festival is only 10 days long. Fortunately, we’ve devised a handy flowchart with more than 30 of the most hotly anticipated dramas, thrillers, comedies and documentaries on the TIFF marquee. Once you’ve made your selections, you can check out the full film below!
This documentary offers a fascinating look at the infamous 100-metre race at the 1988 Seoul Olympics—a sprint that ultimately ended in disgrace for Canada’s Ben Johnson, and which led to a major drug scandal.
A Liar’s Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman
This bizarrely imaginative 3D animated movie examines the life and times of late Monty Python member Graham Chapman in a manner that may or may not massage the truth. As one might expect, fellow Python alums like John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones and Michael Palin also make appearances.
Keira Knightely portrays one of Russian literature’s most tragic figures—a society woman torn between loyalty to her marriage and the desires of her heart—in this sumptuous adaptation of Tolstoy’s novel by director Joe Wright (Atonement, Pride and Prejudice).
Ben Affleck directs himself (along with Bryan Cranston, John Goodman and others) in this thriller based on the 1979 hostage crisis at the American embassy in Tehran. The elaborate plot revolves around a CIA expert’s plan to extract six captured Americans by having them masquerade as a Hollywood film crew.
A seaside town becomes a breeding ground for terrifying parasites in writer-director Barry Levinson’s documentary-style environmental horror film.
Renowned auteur Costa-Gavras takes audiences on a roller-coaster ride through the world of finance as the high-profile head of European investment bank rises to unimaginable power, then must try desperately to stay on top as an American takeover looms.
The Central Park Five
Ken Burns, along with co-directors Sarah Burns and David McMahon, take a close look at the 1989 “Central Park Jogger” case, in which five black and Latino teenagers were wrongfully accused and convicted of rape due to police (mis)judgment, sensationalized media reports and an outraged but ill-informed public.
A nearly six-minute-long trailer belies the huge ambitions of this film based on David Mitchell’s celebrated novel about how individual lives are interconnected and impact one another across time. Starring a powerhouse cast including Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, Jim Broadbent and Hugh Grant.
The Company You Keep
Robert Redford directs and co-stars in this enthralling political drama about a young journalist who uncovers a former radical activist (and murder suspect) who’s been in hiding for more than five decades.
Zhang Ziyi of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon fame stars in director Hur Jin-ho’s exquisite adaptation of the 18th-century French novel Les Liaisons dangereuses takes the playful tale of sex, seduction and deceit to 1930s Shanghai.
Director Pete Travis’ dystopian vision sees the legendary British comic-book icon, Judge Dredd, hunting down a wicked drug dealer inside a fortress-like apartment complex in post-apocalyptic MegaCity One. Karl Urban, best known as Eomer from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, portrays the grim-faced “judge, jury and executioner” title character.
Everybody Has a Plan
In this Argentinian film, Viggo Mortensen stars as Agustin, a down-on-his-luck figure who takes on the identity of his twin brother following a sudden death. The disguise proves perilous as it becomes apparent to Agustin that his brother was entangled in the criminal underworld.
An lowly apprentice at a dance company, Frances tries to maintain hope and joy while attempting to make it in New York City. Director Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale) presents a beautiful tale of friendship, class, ambition, failure and redemption.
British director Mike Newell reinvigorates Charles Dickens’ classic with an all-star cast including Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane and many more.
This quirky horror-comedy follows the crazed adventures of the Hellbound Saints of Brooklyn Parish, a team of foul-mouthed Catholic priests who specialize in exorcisms.
Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen (you know him as Le Chiffre in Casino Royale) won Cannes’ best actor award for his portrayal of Lucas, a divorced teacher whose world comes crashing down when a lie is told about him. As gossip, doubt and malice ignite and blaze through his small community, Lucas must fight desperately to prove his innocence.
Hyde Park on Hudson
Based on a true story, Bill Murray and Laura Linney star as American president Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his mistress Margaret Suckley, whose relationship blossoms during a stay at a country estate with the King and Queen of England.
Iceberg Slim: Portrait of a Pimp
Featuring interviews with Chris Rock, Ice-T, Quincy Jones and more, this documentary tracks the life of Iceberg Slim (1918 to 1992), a pimp who would author seven gritty, groundbreaking books that became the foundation of “street lit.”
Kristen Wiig fakes her own suicide in a “clever” ruse to win back the affections of an ex boyfriend—only to be remanded into the custody of her highly dysfunctional family. This darkly hilarious comedy also features compelling performances by the likes of Annette Bening and Matt Damon.
John Dies at the End
Cult-hero director Don Coscarelli (Phantasm, Bubba Ho-Tep) takes audiences on a mind-bending journey in this terrifying—yet humorous—tale of drug abuse and paranormal encounters.
Vanguard director Rian Johnson (Brick, The Brothers Bloom) serves up this futuristic thriller, in which a hitman played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt is tasked with murdering his future self, portrayed by an undoubtedly perturbed Bruce Willis.
Indian-Canadian director Deepa Mehta tackles Salman Rushdie’s masterpiece. Two babies born on the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947, as India declares independence from Great Britain, are accidently switched at birth. Fated to live out their displaced destinies, the characters are nonetheless linked—not only to each other, but also to India’s own coming-of-age.
More Than Honey
This captivating documentary explores the mysterious collapse of the honeybee population over the past five years, and how it negatively impacts human food production, much of which is dependent on bees for pollination.
Under the shadow of the Papua New Guinean civil war, an unconventional school teacher (Hugh Laurie) and a young girl form a unique bond over their shared love of Charles Dickens’ novel Great Expectations.
Much Ado About Nothing
Joss Whedon (Marvel’s The Avengers) brings his unique sensibilities to Shakespeare’s comedy about quarreling lovers. An ensemble cast—including the likes of Amy Acker, Nathan Fillion and Clark Gregg—takes audiences deep inside the sometimes twisted game of love.
Dame Maggie Smith and Billy Connoly star in this archly comedic drama. Notable as Dustin Hoffman’s directorial debut, the film follows four retired opera singers as they struggle to overcome old grudges, passions, pride and unpredictable divas.
This much-publicized documentary follows hip-hop superstar Snoop Dogg as he travels to Jamaica to record a new album. While delving into the country’s culture and music, the rapper finds a more spiritual path and emerges as a reggae artist now referred to as Snoop Lion.
Stanley Kubrick’s highly stylized vision of Stephen King’s novel The Shining is the subject of this documentary, which tells of five devotees who believe the Kubrick’s film contains secret messages about history, genocide and government conspiracies.
An impressive cast, including Colin Farell, Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson, headlines this crime-thriller about a scribe whose writer’s block is quickly cured when a dognapping scheme gone awry brings insane real-life inspiration right to his door step.
Silver Linings Playbook
Mercurial director David O. Russell (I Heart Huckabees, The Fighter) offers a dramedy about a high school teacher rebuilding his life after a spending time in a mental institution. An all-star cast features Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro and The Hunger Games’ Jennifer Lawrence.
In 2009, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad launched a bold and controversial plan to demonstrate that his people were deserving of statehood. This documentary takes a look at “Fayyadism’s” progress within the context of the political predicament that continues to threaten peace and stability in Palestine, Israel and the rest of the Middle East.
To The Wonder
Notoriously slow-working director Terrence Malick presents his second film in as many years (you may recall 2011’s critically acclaimed Tree of Life). Sumptuously lensed and starring Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams and Javier Bardem, To the Wonder tells of a couple whose supposedly perfect love is threatened following a visit to France’s Mont Saint-Michel (also known as “the Wonder”).