Some of the year's best and buzziest films debut at the festival each September. 

By Isabel Jones
Sep 02, 2019 @ 9:00 am
Barbara Nitke

Each September, Toronto Film Festival plays host to some of the year’s best and buzziest movies — from American Beauty to A Star Is Born. This year, the slate is strong as ever, with the world premieres of Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu’s Hustlers and the much-anticipated adaptation of Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch.

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If you happen to be in Toronto from Sept 5-13, check out some of our festival picks. If not, keep your eyes peeled for wide release dates — many of the year’s offerings already have theatrical debuts scheduled.

The Goldfinch

Courtesy of TIFF

At nearly 800 pages (in hardcover), Donna Tartt’s acclaimed novel isn’t exactly a practice in brevity, so you could be forgiven for bumping it down your reading list for more than half a decade. But when it comes to the star-studded two-and-a-half-hour adaptation, you have no excuse not to watch (I mean, aside from an $18 ticket). If Donna Tartt doesn’t get you in a cushy theater seat, perhaps Nicole Kidman, Ansel Elgort, Sarah Paulson, or Finn Wolfhard can persuade you.

Marriage Story

Courtesy of TIFF

Writer-director Noah Baumbach’s latest gives viewers an intimate look inside a marriage — or, rather, a divorce. Marriage Story follows Nicole (Scarlett Johansson), an actress who’s landed a role in L.A., and Charlie (Adam Driver), a playwright who desires to stay in N.Y.C., through the years, cutting back and forth between their happier days and their current divorce proceedings.

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Hustlers

STX

Jennifer Lopez may be the film’s main attraction, but Lorene Scafaria’s adaptation of The Cut’s 2015 article, “The Hustlers at Scores,” is so much more than a star vehicle for the multi-hyphenate. The real-life tale of strippers-turned-scammers features a stunning ensemble cast which includes Constance Wu, Lili Reinhart, Keke Palmer, Julia Stiles, and cameos from Cardi B and Lizzo. And though “stripping” and “stealing” are something of Hollywood buzz words, that’s not what’s at the core of the film. Instead, Hustlers is a story of friendship in times of desperation.

Judy

Courtesy of TIFF

Renée Zellweger plays child-star-turned-icon Judy Garland as she embarks on a sold-out London show in 1968, the penultimate year of her life. Zellweger’s seamless embodiment of the performer (including vocals) already has considerable Oscars buzz.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

LACEY TERRELL

After earning critical acclaim for The Diary of a Teenage Girl and Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Marielle Heller set her directorial sights on one of the most beloved men to ever live: Mr. Rogers. But if you’re looking for a Fred Rogers biopic, continue your search elsewhere. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood focuses on the relationship between the children’s TV personality and a journalist tasked with profiling him. Tom Hanks, Matthew Rhys, and Susan Kelechi Watson star.

Harriet

Courtesy of TIFF

Cynthia Erivo is unrecognizable in her portrayal of titular abolitionist and American hero Harriet Tubman. The film follows Tubman through her enslavement under the name Araminta “Minty” Ross, her journey to freedom, and the self-sacrificing fight against slavery that followed. Janelle Monáe, Leslie Odom Jr., and Joe Alwyn also make up the cast.

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