Fest Report: Toronto International Film Festival - Day 3

What's catching our eye north of the border

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The Tropic Cinema’s S. Runi Goyal is at the Toronto International Film Festival. Here are some of her highlights—keep an eye on the Tropic’s screens as these films get theatrical distribution!

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Day 3 at TIFF continues, and I just happened to notice that it was a day for “teenage angst.” From the young orphan in “Sunset,” “Boy Erased’s” gay teen, a 1900’s Welsh “Gwen,” to the day’s last movie “Teen Spirit’s” seventeen year old pop singer.

Sunset (Napszállta)

Premiered at Venice (Nominee, Golden Lion)

This movie was high on list of must-watch namely for the director László Nemes (“Son of Saul”) who chose to shoot the entire film on 35mm (gasp!). Without a doubt, it was gorgeous, the costumes were stunning, and seeing Budapest in the early 1900’s was a real treat that unfortunately lasted for only 15 minutes. I quickly found the lead character far too dry to be interesting and the dialogue was incomprehensible.

Boy Erased

Premiered at Telluride
Release Date November 2

If you were one of those who thought Lucas Hedges’ trajectory to the Oscars for his role in “Manchester by the Sea” was an accident, this film proves otherwise. Stacked against Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, and Joel Edgerton (is this an Aussie take-over?), Hedges delivers a remarkable performance as a gay teenager embarking on conversion therapy. The film was based on a true story, so I’ll forgive it for its weak ending, which may have actually happened in real life, in which case who am I to judge.

Gwen

Feature debut of William McGregor

North Wales in the early 1900’s was not an easy place to live for Gwen, her younger sister and mother. Battling local industry, rough weather conditions, and dying livestock, these women struggle without their husband/father. The title character was played by Eleanor Worthington-Cox and I daresay this was her breakout performance. I expect to see her again.

Donnybrook

World Premiere at TIFF

Jamie Bell has been in a lot of movies, but he has always been little Billy Elliot the dancer to me. With “Donnybrook,” a psychopathic version of the kickboxing movie, “Warrior,” Jamie Bell may have finally overcome his typecast. Speaking of “Warrior,” the genteel classical music loving trainer, Frank Grillo, sets the psychopathic tone in this “Donnybrook.” *Shudder*

Teen Spirit

World Premiere at TIFF

I love a good teenage-angst movie … more than most adults … but I had low expectations with Max Minghella’s directorial debut. Once the movie opened with track by Grimes, I was hooked. Elle Fanning was convincing as a starved teenager searching for a way out. She teams up with a down-and-out Croatian opera singer and enters an American Idol-style singing competition. The movie is predictable, but I didn’t predict that I would be dancing in my seat.

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