Col Needham's Top 20 Toronto Picks for 2017

by Col Needham | last updated - 2 weeks ago

I am the Founder and CEO of IMDb and these are the 20 movies which I am most looking forward to seeing at the Toronto International Film Festival which I attend from start to finish every year. The list is in alphabetical order as it hard enough to pick only 20, let alone rank them!

Note that these are movies which I have not seen before. Recommendations from films which I have seen at other festivals are The Square (2017), The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017) and Loveless (2017).

The scope of the festival and the quality makes it difficult to select 20 and these are all taken from my longer TIFF Interest List which contains over 100 movies and the festival is only 10 days long!

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1. Breathe (I) (2017)

PG-13 | 117 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
50 Metascore

The inspiring true love story of Robin and Diana Cavendish, an adventurous couple who refuse to give up in the face of a devastating disease. Their heartwarming celebration of human possibility marks the directorial debut of Andy Serkis.

Director: Andy Serkis | Stars: Claire Foy, Diana Rigg, Andrew Garfield, Dean-Charles Chapman

Votes: 104

2. The Current War (2017)

105 min | Biography, Drama, History

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
42 Metascore

The dramatic story of the cutthroat race between electricity titans Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse to determine whose electrical system would power the modern world.

Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon | Stars: Katherine Waterston, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Nicholas Hoult

Votes: 184

3. Dark River (2017)

89 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

6.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Following the death of her father, Alice (Ruth Wilson) returns to her home village for the first time in 15 years, to claim the tenancy to the family farm she believes is rightfully hers.

Director: Clio Barnard | Stars: Ruth Wilson, Mark Stanley, Sean Bean, Esme Creed-Miles

Votes: 28

4. Downsizing (2017)

135 min | Comedy, Drama, Sci-Fi

6.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  
74 Metascore

A social satire in which a guy realizes he would have a better life if he were to shrink himself.

Director: Alexander Payne | Stars: Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau, Kristen Wiig

Votes: 551

5. The Escape (II) (2017)

105 min | Drama

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

An ordinary woman makes an extraordinary decision which will change her life forever.

Director: Dominic Savage | Stars: Gemma Arterton, Dominic Cooper, Frances Barber, Marthe Keller

Votes: 17

6. Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool (2017)

105 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

6.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
71 Metascore

A romance sparks between a young actor and a Hollywood leading lady.

Director: Paul McGuigan | Stars: Jamie Bell, Leanne Best, Annette Bening, Stephen Graham

Votes: 73

7. Kodachrome (2017)

Drama

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Set during the final days of the admired photo development system known as Kodachrome, a father and son hit the road in order to reach the Kansas photo lab before it closes its doors for good.

Director: Mark Raso | Stars: Elizabeth Olsen, Ed Harris, Jason Sudeikis, Gethin Anthony

Votes: 58

8. First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers (2017)

136 min | Biography, Drama, History

7.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
72 Metascore

Cambodian author and human rights activist Loung Ung recounts the horrors she suffered as a child under the rule of the deadly Khmer Rouge.

Director: Angelina Jolie | Stars: Sareum Srey Moch, Phoeung Kompheak, Sveng Socheata, Mun Kimhak

Votes: 1,464

9. The Florida Project (2017)

R | 115 min | Drama

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
92 Metascore

Set over one summer, the film follows precocious 6-year-old Moonee as she courts mischief and adventure with her ragtag playmates and bonds with her rebellious but caring mother, all while living in the shadows of Disney World.

Director: Sean Baker | Stars: Willem Dafoe, Brooklynn Prince, Valeria Cotto, Bria Vinaite

Votes: 237

10. Lady Bird (2017)

93 min | Comedy, Drama

7.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
92 Metascore

The adventures of a young woman living in Northern California for a year.

Director: Greta Gerwig | Stars: Saoirse Ronan, Timothée Chalamet, Odeya Rush, Laurie Metcalf

Votes: 203

11. Mary Shelley (2017)

120 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

6.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
49 Metascore

The love affair between poet Percy Shelley and 18 year old Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, which resulted in Mary Shelley writing Frankenstein.

Director: Haifaa Al-Mansour | Stars: Maisie Williams, Joanne Froggatt, Bel Powley, Elle Fanning

Votes: 54

12. Molly's Game (2017)

140 min | Biography, Drama

7.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
74 Metascore

The true story of Molly Bloom, an Olympic-class skier who ran the world's most exclusive high-stakes poker game and became an FBI target.

Director: Aaron Sorkin | Stars: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera

Votes: 135

13. Mother! (2017)

R | 121 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

6.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
74 Metascore

A couple's relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence.

Director: Darren Aronofsky | Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer

Votes: 15,492

14. Mudbound (2017)

R | 134 min | Drama

6.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
83 Metascore

Two men return home from World War II to work on a farm in rural Mississippi, where they struggle to deal with racism and adjusting to life after war.

Director: Dee Rees | Stars: Jonathan Banks, Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Clarke

Votes: 331

15. On Chesil Beach (2017)

105 min | Drama

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
64 Metascore

A drama set in the early 1960s and centered on a young couple on their honeymoon.

Director: Dominic Cooke | Stars: Saoirse Ronan, Emily Watson, Anne-Marie Duff, Samuel West

Votes: 43

16. Outside In (2017)

109 min | Drama

6.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

An ex-con struggling to readjust to life in his small town forms an intense bond with his former high-school teacher.

Director: Lynn Shelton | Stars: Edie Falco, Jay Duplass, Kaitlyn Dever, Ben Schwartz

Votes: 19

17. The Shape of Water (2017)

R | 119 min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
87 Metascore

An other-worldly fairy tale, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1962. In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of isolation. Elisa's life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment.

Director: Guillermo del Toro | Stars: Sally Hawkins, Octavia Spencer, Michael Shannon, Doug Jones

Votes: 807

18. Suburbicon (2017)

R | 104 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

4.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.4/10 X  
46 Metascore

A home invasion rattles a quiet family town.

Director: George Clooney | Stars: Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, Oscar Isaac, Glenn Fleshler

Votes: 442

19. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

R | 115 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

8.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
90 Metascore

In this darkly comic drama, a mother personally challenges the local authorities to solve her daughter's murder, when they fail to catch the culprit.

Director: Martin McDonagh | Stars: Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Peter Dinklage

Votes: 515

20. Unicorn Store (2017)

92 min | Comedy

6.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A woman named Kit receives a mysterious invitation that would fulfill her childhood dreams.

Director: Brie Larson | Stars: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Joan Cusack, Bradley Whitford

Votes: 89