Col Needham's Top 20 Toronto Picks for 2021

by dan_dassow | created - 2 months ago | updated - 2 months ago | Public

These are the 20 movies which Col Needham (Founder and CEO of IMDb) is most looking forward to seeing at the Toronto International Film Festival. The list is in alphabetical order as it is hard enough to pick only 20, let alone rank them! Unfortunately due to the pandemic Col Needham is unable to travel to Toronto so he 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 his longer TIFF Interest List which contains nearly 100 movies.

Which of Col's 20 TIFF picks are you most interested in seeing?

After voting, please discuss here.

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1. Ali & Ava (2021)

95 min | Drama

79 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: 162

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.

2. Belfast (2021)

PG-13 | 98 min | Drama

82 Metascore

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

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

Votes: 3,173

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

3. Bergman Island (2021)

R | 112 min | Drama

82 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: 2,187

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.

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: 7,571

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.

5. Dune (2021)

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

74 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: 357,622

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.

6. The Electrical Life of Louis Wain (2021)

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

62 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: 4,764

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

7. The Eyes of Tammy Faye (2021)

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

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: 4,433

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

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, Riz Ahmed, Rory Cochrane, Octavia Spencer

Votes: 207

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

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: Caleb Landry Jones, Jessica Chastain, Ralph Fiennes, Matt Smith

Votes: 70

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.

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: 90,038

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

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, Samer Bisharat, Omar Abu Amer

Votes: 51

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

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: 46,665

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.

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: 80

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 struggles to push back the forest. In a home where even physical exhaustion cannot diminish the warmth of family life, Maria finds herself faced with a deep dilemma. François Paradis, a free-spirited fur trapper and logger, promises Maria to return in spring to marry her, while Lorenzo Surprenant arrives at the farm offering a comfortable existence in an American city, and Eutrope Gagnon, a quiet and determined young farmer has staked a claim on the land next to the Chapdelaine's. Thrust into the adult world, and juggling with thoughts of land, family and love, Maria will suddenly be forced to choose her future as a woman.

14. Mothering Sunday (2021)

R | 104 min | Drama, Romance

70 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, Colin Firth, Josh O'Connor, Odessa Young

Votes: 477

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.

15. Silent Night (2021)

92 min | Comedy, Drama, Horror

54 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: Annabelle Wallis, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Lily-Rose Depp

Votes: 440

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.

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: 225

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

17. Spencer (2021)

R | 117 min | Biography, Drama

77 Metascore

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

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

Votes: 14,242

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

18. Titane (2021)

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

74 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: 18,277

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.

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: 127

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.

20. The Worst Person in the World (2021)

R | 127 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

88 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, Mia McGovern Zaini, Maria Grazia Di Meo

Votes: 3,252

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.



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