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TIFF: The Best Movies and Performances at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival

It sure seems like I never get the same version of the Toronto International Film Festival twice. My maiden voyage was recapped here on the site, but it was a unique situation that will likely never be repeated. Last year was closer to the norm, with stars and glitz abound. This year? It would have been a normal TIFF, if not for the strikes preventing most of the talent from attending. In a way, it kept things focused on the movies, so there’s that, but fingers crossed that next year we’re fully back to normal.

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, it’s all in black and white. Here goes nothing…my summary of my time in Canada for this 2023 version of the festival. Plus, be sure to check out all of our festival coverage here.

The Best Films

Apple Original Films

Four films really stood out to me as the cream of the crop. Hit Man from Richard Linklater was the best of the best, but Flora and Son from John Carney, Origin from Ava DuVernay, and Woman of the Hour from Anna Kendrick weren’t far behind. Throw in a big surprise movie like Knox Goes Away from Michael Keaton and the top tier had a nice eclectic bent to it.

The Best Performances

Hit Man

There was lovely acting all around, but in terms of performances I saw during TIFF, three stood out the most. One was Glen Powell in Hit Man, my favorite performance of the fest, but I also really loved Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor in Origin and Eve Hewson in Flora and Son. Here’s hoping these turns are remembered during awards season.

TIFF Awards

Photo Credit: Atsushi Nishijima

Best Film: Hit Man (Runner Up: Flora and Son and Origin)

Best Director: Ava DuVernay for Origin (Runner Up: Anna Kendrick for Woman of the Hour and Richard Linklater for Hit Man)

Best Actor: Glen Powell for Hit Man (Runner Up: Colman Domingo for Rustin and Michael Keaton for Knox Goes Away)

Best Actress: Eve Hewson for Flora and Son (Runner Up: Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor for Origin and Sandra Hüller for Anatomy of a Fall)

Best Supporting Actor: Joseph Gordon-Levitt for Flora and Son (Runner Up: Jon Bernthal for Origin and Anthony Hopkins for One Life)

Best Supporting Actress: Jodie Foster for Nyad (Runner Up: Adria Arjona for Hit Man and Niecy Nash for Origin)

Best Adapted Screenplay: Hit Man (Runner Up: Dumb Money and Origin)

Best Original Screenplay: Woman of the Hour (Runner Up: Flora and Son and Knox Goes Away)

Final Thoughts

My third time at TIFF was less star-studded than last year, but it was certainly busier than my first time. So, Toronto again provided strong films, fun times, and many memories. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed my coverage from the festival. We’re off to the New York Film Festival next, so stay tuned for that. TIFF is about to turn to NYFF…

Full TIFF Ranking

1. Hit Man

2. Flora and Son

3. Origin

4. Woman of the Hour

5. Knox Goes Away

6. Anatomy of a Fall

7. Rustin

8. Dumb Money

9. Fingernails

10. Next Goal Wins

11. The Holdovers

12. One Life

13. Sorry/Not Sorry

14. Nyad

15. Fair Play

16. Shayda

17. The Zone of Interest

18. The Teacher’s Lounge

19. The King Tide

20. Reptile

21. Dream Scenario

Stay tuned to see how the TIFF titles do throughout the rest of the year!


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Written by Joey Magidson

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