Col Needham's Top 20 Toronto Picks for 2021

by Col Needham | created - 11 months ago | updated - 11 months ago | Public

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. The list is in alphabetical order as it hard enough to pick only 20, let alone rank them! Unfortunately due to the pandemic I am unable to travel to Toronto so I will be watching virtually from home again.

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 nearly 100 movies.

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1. Ali & Ava (2021)

95 min | Drama, Romance

75 Metascore

ALI and AVA, both lonely for different reasons, meet and sparks fly. Over a lunar month a deep connection begins to grow, despite the legacy of AVA's past relationship, and ALI's emotional turmoil at the breakdown of his marriage.

Director: Clio Barnard | Stars: Adeel Akhtar, Claire Rushbrook, Ellora Torchia, Shaun Thomas

Votes: 1,560

2. Belfast (2021)

PG-13 | 98 min | Biography, Drama

75 Metascore

A young boy and his working-class Belfast family experience the tumultuous late 1960s.

Director: Kenneth Branagh | Stars: Jude Hill, Lewis McAskie, Caitríona Balfe, Jamie Dornan

Votes: 64,741

3. Bergman Island (2021)

R | 112 min | Drama, Romance

80 Metascore

A couple retreat to the island that inspired Ingmar Bergman to write screenplays for their upcoming films when the lines between reality and fiction start to blur.

Director: Mia Hansen-Løve | Stars: Vicky Krieps, Tim Roth, Grace Delrue, Mia Wasikowska

Votes: 6,095

4. Dear Evan Hansen (2021)

PG-13 | 137 min | Drama, Musical

39 Metascore

Film adaptation of the Tony and Grammy Award-winning musical about Evan Hansen, a high school senior with Social Anxiety disorder and his journey of self-discovery and acceptance following the suicide of a fellow classmate.

Director: Stephen Chbosky | Stars: Ben Platt, Julianne Moore, Kaitlyn Dever, Amy Adams

Votes: 14,038

5. Dune (2021)

PG-13 | 155 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

74 Metascore

A noble family becomes embroiled in a war for control over the galaxy's most valuable asset while its heir becomes troubled by visions of a dark future.

Director: Denis Villeneuve | Stars: Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, Oscar Isaac

Votes: 598,773 | Gross: $108.33M

6. The Electrical Life of Louis Wain (2021)

PG-13 | 111 min | Biography, Drama, History

63 Metascore

English artist Louis Wain rises to prominence at the end of the 19th century for his surreal cat paintings that seemed to reflect his declining sanity.

Director: Will Sharpe | Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, Claire Foy, Andrea Riseborough, Toby Jones

Votes: 13,178

7. The Eyes of Tammy Faye (2021)

PG-13 | 126 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

55 Metascore

An intimate look at the extraordinary rise, fall and redemption of televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker.

Director: Michael Showalter | Stars: Jessica Chastain, Andrew Garfield, Cherry Jones, Vincent D'Onofrio

Votes: 30,045

8. Encounter (III) (2021)

R | 108 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller

57 Metascore

Two brothers embark on a journey with their father, who is trying to protect them from an alien threat.

Director: Michael Pearce | Stars: Riz Ahmed, Octavia Spencer, Lucian-River Chauhan, Aditya Geddada

Votes: 9,573

9. The Forgiven (III) (2021)

R | 117 min | Drama

63 Metascore

The Forgiven takes place over a weekend in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco, and explores the reverberations of a random accident on the lives of both the local Muslims, and Western visitors to a house party in a grand villa.

Director: John Michael McDonagh | Stars: Jessica Chastain, Matt Smith, Ralph Fiennes, Caleb Landry Jones

Votes: 2,257

10. The Guilty (2021)

R | 90 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

63 Metascore

A demoted police officer assigned to a call dispatch desk is conflicted when he receives an emergency phone call from a kidnapped woman.

Director: Antoine Fuqua | Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Riley Keough, Peter Sarsgaard, Christina Vidal

Votes: 119,569

11. Huda's Salon (2021)

R | 91 min | Thriller

69 Metascore

A woman whose visit to a hair salon turns into a nightmare when she is blackmailed by its owner.

Director: Hany Abu-Assad | Stars: Maisa Abd Elhadi, Ali Suliman, Manal Awad, Jalal Masarwa

Votes: 639

12. Last Night in Soho (2021)

R | 116 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

65 Metascore

An aspiring fashion designer is mysteriously able to enter the 1960s where she encounters a dazzling wannabe singer. But the glamour is not all it appears to be and the dreams of the past start to crack and splinter into something darker.

Director: Edgar Wright | Stars: Thomasin McKenzie, Anya Taylor-Joy, Matt Smith, Diana Rigg

Votes: 123,604

13. Maria Chapdelaine (2021)

158 min | Drama

Maria Chapdelaine, a young woman of 16, lives with her family on land they are clearing near the Péribonka River in rural Québec in early 1900. True pioneers, the Chapdelaine family ... See full summary »

Director: Sébastien Pilote | Stars: Sara Montpetit, Sébastien Ricard, Hélène Florent, Antoine Olivier Pilon

Votes: 203

14. Mothering Sunday (I) (2021)

R | 104 min | Drama, Romance

66 Metascore

A maid living in post-World War I England secretly plans to meet with the man she loves before he leaves to marry another woman.

Director: Eva Husson | Stars: Odessa Young, Josh O'Connor, Colin Firth, Olivia Colman

Votes: 2,202

15. Silent Night (I) (2021)

92 min | Comedy, Drama, Horror

52 Metascore

Nell, Simon, and their son Art are ready to welcome friends and family for what promises to be a perfect Christmas gathering. Perfect except for one thing: everyone is going to die.

Director: Camille Griffin | Stars: Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Roman Griffin Davis, Annabelle Wallis

Votes: 12,373

16. Sundown (2021)

R | 82 min | Drama

70 Metascore

Neil and Alice Bennett are the core of a wealthy family on vacation in Mexico until a distant emergency cuts their trip short. When one relative disrupts the family's tight-knit order, simmering tensions rise to the fore.

Director: Michel Franco | Stars: Tim Roth, Albertine Kotting McMillan, Samuel Bottomley, Charlotte Gainsbourg

Votes: 3,355

17. Spencer (2021)

R | 117 min | Biography, Drama

76 Metascore

Diana Spencer, struggling with mental-health problems during her Christmas holidays with the Royal Family at their Sandringham estate in Norfolk, England, decides to end her decade-long marriage to Prince Charles.

Director: Pablo Larraín | Stars: Kristen Stewart, Timothy Spall, Sally Hawkins, Jack Nielen

Votes: 63,238

18. Titane (2021)

R | 108 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

75 Metascore

Following a series of unexplained crimes, a father is reunited with the son who has been missing for 10 years.

Director: Julia Ducournau | Stars: Vincent Lindon, Agathe Rousselle, Garance Marillier, Laïs Salameh

Votes: 42,746

19. The Tsugua Diaries (2021)

102 min | Drama

87 Metascore

Follows Crista, Carloto and João who are building an airy greenhouse for butterflies in the garden and share household routines, but they are not the only ones.

Directors: Maureen Fazendeiro, Miguel Gomes | Stars: Crista Alfaiate, Carloto Cotta, João Nunes Monteiro

Votes: 404

20. The Worst Person in the World (2021)

R | 128 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

90 Metascore

The chronicles of four years in the life of Julie, a young woman who navigates the troubled waters of her love life and struggles to find her career path, leading her to take a realistic look at who she really is.

Director: Joachim Trier | Stars: Renate Reinsve, Anders Danielsen Lie, Herbert Nordrum, Hans Olav Brenner

Votes: 55,682

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