Col Needham's Top 20 Toronto Picks for 2021

by Col Needham | created - 1 month ago | updated - 3 weeks 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

84 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: 55

2. Belfast (2021)

98 min | Drama

75 Metascore

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

Director: Kenneth Branagh | Stars: Jamie Dornan, Caitriona Balfe, Ciarán Hinds, Judi Dench

Votes: 172

3. Bergman Island (2021)

R | 112 min | Drama

79 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: Tim Roth, Mia Wasikowska, Vicky Krieps, Anders Danielsen Lie

Votes: 423

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: 3,027

5. Dune (2021)

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

75 Metascore

Feature adaptation of Frank Herbert's science fiction novel, about the son of a noble family entrusted with the protection of the most valuable asset and most vital element in the galaxy.

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

Votes: 50,316

6. The Electrical Life of Louis Wain (2021)

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

57 Metascore

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

Director: Will Sharpe | Stars: Aimee Lou Wood, Taika Waititi, Benedict Cumberbatch, Claire Foy

Votes: 140

7. The Eyes of Tammy Faye (2021)

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

54 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: 1,238

8. Encounter (III) (2021)

R | 108 min | Sci-Fi, Thriller

61 Metascore

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

Director: Michael Pearce | Stars: Janina Gavankar, Rory Cochrane, Octavia Spencer, Riz Ahmed

Votes: 87

9. The Forgiven (III) (2021)

117 min | Drama

67 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, Abbey Lee, Caleb Landry Jones, Ralph Fiennes

Votes: 54

10. The Guilty (2021)

R | 90 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

65 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: 5,687

11. Huda's Salon (2021)

91 min | Thriller

72 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: Ali Suliman, Maisa Abd Elhadi, Omar Abu Amer, Samer Bisharat

Votes: 35

12. Last Night in Soho (2021)

116 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

67 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: Anya Taylor-Joy, Thomasin McKenzie, Diana Rigg, Matt Smith

Votes: 632

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: 28

14. Mothering Sunday (2021)

R | 110 min | Drama

69 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: Olivia Colman, Josh O'Connor, Colin Firth, Odessa Young

Votes: 115

15. Silent Night (2021)

92 min | Comedy, Drama, Horror

52 Metascore

Nell, Simon, and their boy 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: Annabelle Wallis, Matthew Goode, Keira Knightley, Kirby Howell-Baptiste

Votes: 52

16. Sundown (2021)

83 min | Drama

76 Metascore

A wealthy man attempts to abandon his life while vacationing in Acapulco.

Director: Michel Franco | Stars: Samuel Bottomley, Mónica Del Carmen, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Henry Goodman

Votes: 105

17. Spencer (2021)

111 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

85 Metascore

During her Christmas holidays with the royal family at the Sandringham estate in Norfolk, England, Diana decides to leave her marriage to Prince Charles.

Director: Pablo Larraín | Stars: Kristen Stewart, Timothy Spall, Jack Nielen, Freddie Spry

Votes: 711

18. Titane (2021)

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

78 Metascore

Following a series of unexplained crimes, a father is reunited with the son who has been missing for 10 years. Titane : A metal highly resistant to heat and corrosion, with high tensile strength alloys.

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

Votes: 2,524

19. The Tsugua Diaries (2021)

102 min | Drama

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: 69

20. The Worst Person in the World (2021)

127 min | Comedy, Drama

88 Metascore

It chronicles 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, Maria Grazia Di Meo, Herbert Nordrum

Votes: 493

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