By Isabel Jones
Updated Aug 31, 2018 @ 10:45 am
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If you’re anything like us (i.e. fed up with MoviePass, but still counting down the days until you can pre-order your tickets to A Star Is Born), you believe in the power of a good movie.

No place (in Ontario, at least) is more cognizant of that power than the Toronto International Film Festival, which kicks off its 43rd year on Sept. 6.

Movie stars and movie buffs alike will gather at the world-renown festival to enjoy the premieres of 343 (!) anticipated films like Destroyer and First Man, and catch conversations with two-time Oscar winner Hillary Swank, Oscar winner Mahershala Ali, and Oscar nominee Maggie Gyllenhaal.

After the credits roll, esteemed guests will find themselves partying amongst A-listers galore at the bevy of events throughout the week, including InStyle’s very own fete in partnership with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

But even if you aren’t touching down in Canada for the festivities, you’ll want to keep these films in mind — many of which will roll out nationally during the festival or soon after.

Scroll down below for a preview of the 7 films we’re most excited to see at TIFF.

A Star Is Born

Credit: Courtesy of TIFF

It feels silly to even qualify this one. LADY GAGA. BRADLEY COOPER (who can sing and direct, apparently). You don’t even need to have any info about the plot to know that this a priority must-see.

But, in case you’re wondering, it’s also based on one of the most iconic (and beloved) movie musicals of the 20th century (it’s been re-made a bunch of times, but none was better than the Judy Garland-helmed version) and in addition to all the Gaga-Cooper creative brilliance, the screenplay is also co-written by Eric Roth, the Oscar-winning screenwriter who once compared life to a box of chocolates in Forest Gump (he modified the novel’s original — and far less quotable — line, “Being an idiot is no box of chocolates”). (Oct. 5)

Boy Erased

Credit: Courtesy of TIFF

Yet another anticipated film from an actor-turned-director is Boy Erased, the work of Golden Globe nominee Joel Edgerton, who wrote and stars in the film.

The flick follows the recently outed son of a Baptist preacher, Jared (Lucas Hedges), after he’s forced to partake in the church’s gay conversion program. Based on the critically acclaimed memoir by Garrard Conley, Boy Erased features an all-star cast which, in addition to Hedges and Edgerton, boasts Oscar winners Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe (and also Troye Sivan?). (Nov. 2)

Life Itself

Credit: Courtesy of TIFF

This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman wrote and directed this tear-jerking rom-dram, which looks eerily familiar to the NBC series, give or take a couple A-list cast members (Olivia Wilde, Oscar Isaac, Annette Bening, Mandy Patinkin, Antonio Banderas … breathe). Like Us, the film pulses between the characters’ mysteriously interconnected narratives, which are set between N.Y.C. and Spain. As far as we can tell, there are no Crock-Pot tragedies in the movie, but we’ll keep you posted. (Sept. 21)


Credit: Courtesy of TIFF

Director Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave) and Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn co-wrote the screenplay for his crazy-intense looking crime thriller starring queen of all queens, Viola Davis. Those three names are honestly all it would take to lure us to a theater, but it actually gets better: the film, based on the ITV series of the same name, follows four women whose duplicitous husbands’ deaths lead them down a dangerous path.

Widows co-stars everyone, basically, including Daniel Kaluuya, Michelle Rodriguez, Jacki Weaver, Colin Farrell, and Liam Neeson. Think: Good Girls meets Ocean’s 11, but the comedic elements are replaced by Davis staring soulfully into the (incredibly bleak) distance. Oscar no. 2? (Nov. 16)

Beautiful Boy

Credit: Courtesy of TIFF

Inspired by a father and son’s dual memoirs (Beatiful Boy and Tweak, respectively), Felix Van Groeningen’s heartfelt adaptation portrays the relationship between David (Steve Carell) and Nic Sheff (Timothée Chalamet), as both struggle through the latter’s drug addiction.

There are about a billion reasons to see this movie: 1) Basically everyone in the cast has been nominated for an Oscar (save for Maura Tierney, who has a Golden Globe and two Emmy noms); 2) Timothée Chalamet; 3) The memoirs are incredible (and not super expensive on Amazon, so you can catch up before the movie comes out); 4) It sets the scene for a quasi Office reunion between Carell and Amy Ryan (who played Holly Flax).

But perhaps the most significant — and overlooked — reason is this: director Felix Van Groeningen’s 2012 film The Broken Circle Breakdown is, in my humble opinion, one of the best movies of all time (and available to stream on Amazon, who I promise I don’t work for). Stakes are high. (October 12)

The Land of Steady Habits

Credit: Courtesy of TIFF

Acclaimed writer/director Nicole Holofcener’s latest stars Ben Mendelsohn as a middle-aged man who abandons his cushy everyday life — which involves a job in finance and a spunky wife (Nurse Jackie’s Edie Falco) — in the pursuit of, uh, happiness. Everyone’s favorite country singer and 9-1-1 dispatcher Connie Britton plays a prospective love interest. (Sept. 14, Netflix)

The Death and Life of John F. Donovan

Credit: Courtesy of TIFF

Perhaps best known as the film that Jessica Chastain’s role was cut from, Xavier Dolan’s upcoming drama is still plenty star-studded, featuring a cast that includes Natalie Portman, Jacob Tremblay, Thandie Newton, Susan Sarandon, and Kit Harington. Though little is truly known about the project, it’s described as a reminiscence on the life and death of an American TV star (Kit Harington), as told through his then 11-year-old pen pal (Jacob Tremblay). (Sept. 10)