Well now, that was a different experience from last year. In 2021 (as detailed here), most of my colleagues opted against attending the Toronto International Film Festival, doing it virtually instead. I, however, made my inaugural journey, seeing a fest that was full of good movies, but low on its patented vibe. Well, that was back here in 2022. The streets were packed with festival goers, talent came up north for the premieres, parties returned, and friends/fellow writers were in town for it all. On more than one occasion, a fellow writer from a different publication would ask me how it compared, with the proper insinuation being that I was actually experiencing the real TIFF for the first time this year. So, while I remain exhausted from the week spent there, I had a blast. So, today, I’m summing up my time at TIFF with, you guessed it, some lists!
Down to business! What you’ll see below is my roundup of everything that struck my fancy at TIFF. I’ve separated the sections into my thoughts on the films and performances, as well as a full ranking of the movies, plus final thoughts. If you followed my tweets while I was up in Toronto, little of this will be surprising, but still. Here goes nothing…my summary of my time in Canada for this more normal version of the festival. Plus, be sure to check out all of our festival coverage here.
Three films really stand out. The Fabelmans, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, and The Whale were the class of the fest, in my eyes. Two crowd-pleasers from Rian Johnson and Steven Spielberg, alongside some emotional napalm from Darren Aronofsky? Yeah, that’s a solid way to sum up the top tier of Toronto titles.
One performance stands tall above the rest, and it’s not even close. Brendan Fraser in The Whale is the performance of the year, beyond TIFF. Now, his co-stars, Hong Chau and Sadie Sink are tremendous as well, while Judd Hirsch steals his scenes in The Fabelmans, but Fraser is the turn you won’t be able to get out of your mind.
Best Film: The Fabelmans (Runner Up: Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery and The Whale)
Best Director: Steven Spielberg for The Fabelmans (Runner Up: Darren Aronofsky for The Whale and Rian Johnson for Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery)
Best Actor: Brendan Fraser for The Whale (Runner Up: Daniel Craig for Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery and Jeremy Pope for The Inspection)
Best Actress: Jennifer Lawrence for Causeway (Runner Up: Jessica Chastain for The Good Nurse and Mia Goth for Pearl)
Best Supporting Actor: Judd Hirsch for The Fabelmans (Runner Up: Edward Norton for Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery and Brian Tyree Henry for Causeway)
Best Supporting Actress: Hong Chau for The Whale (Runner Up: Lashana Lynch for The Woman King and Sadie Sink for The Whale
Best Screenplay: Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (Runner Up: Bros and The Fabelmans)
Much like last year, I didn’t really see anything that I overtly hated. Triangle of Sadness wasn’t my jam and The Menu disappointed me, but by and large, most things were at least solid, with things like The Fabelmans blowing me away. So, for me, TIFF was a fairly high quality endeavor. Last year was, as much as anything, a vacation with my now ex-girlfriend. This time around, it felt like a film festival, which as mentioned above, several colleagues repeatedly said. I need a ton of sleep, but when the time comes, bring on TIFF 23!
2. The Whale
10. Good Night Oppy
11. The Good Nurse
13. All the Beauty and the Bloodshed
14. The Woman King
17. Catherine Called Birdy
18. The Grab
21. Moving On
22. The Menu
23. Something You Said Last Night
24. Bones of Crows
Stay tuned to see how the TIFF titles do throughout the rest of the year!