Col Needham's Top 20 Toronto Picks for 2017

by Col Needham | last updated - 7 months ago

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 which I attend from start to finish every year. The list is in alphabetical order as it hard enough to pick only 20, let alone rank them!

Note that these are movies which I have not seen before. Recommendations from films which I have seen at other festivals are The Square (2017), The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017) and Loveless (2017).

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 over 100 movies and the festival is only 10 days long!

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1. Breathe (I) (2017)

PG-13 | 118 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
51 Metascore

The inspiring true love story of Robin and Diana Cavendish, an adventurous couple who refuse to give up in the face of a devastating disease. Their heartwarming celebration of human possibility marks the directorial debut of Andy Serkis.

Director: Andy Serkis | Stars: Andrew Garfield, Claire Foy, Hugh Bonneville, Ed Speleers

Votes: 9,627 | Gross: $0.49M

2. The Current War (2017)

105 min | Biography, Drama, History

6.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
42 Metascore

The dramatic story of the cutthroat race between electricity titans Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse to determine whose electrical system would power the modern world.

Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon | Stars: Tom Holland, Katherine Waterston, Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Shannon

Votes: 427

3. Dark River (2017)

90 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

6.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
67 Metascore

Following the death of her father, Alice (Ruth Wilson) returns to her home village for the first time in 15 years, to claim the tenancy to the family farm she believes is rightfully hers.

Director: Clio Barnard | Stars: Ruth Wilson, Mark Stanley, Sean Bean, Esme Creed-Miles

Votes: 323

4. Downsizing (2017)

R | 135 min | Comedy, Drama, Sci-Fi

5.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  
63 Metascore

A social satire in which a man realizes he would have a better life if he were to shrink himself to five inches tall, allowing him to live in wealth and splendor.

Director: Alexander Payne | Stars: Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau, Kristen Wiig

Votes: 43,627 | Gross: $24.45M

5. The Escape (II) (2017)

105 min | Drama

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An ordinary woman makes an extraordinary decision which will change her life forever.

Director: Dominic Savage | Stars: Gemma Arterton, Dominic Cooper, Frances Barber, Marthe Keller

Votes: 77

6. Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool (2017)

R | 105 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

6.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
65 Metascore

A romance sparks between a young actor and a Hollywood leading lady.

Director: Paul McGuigan | Stars: Jamie Bell, Annette Bening, Julie Walters, Vanessa Redgrave

Votes: 2,705 | Gross: $1.01M

7. Kodachrome (2017)

TV-MA | 100 min | Drama

6.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
57 Metascore

Set during the final days of the admired photo development system known as Kodachrome, a father and son hit the road in order to reach the Kansas photo lab before it closes its doors for good.

Director: Mark Raso | Stars: Ed Harris, Jason Sudeikis, Elizabeth Olsen, Bruce Greenwood

Votes: 1,546

8. First They Killed My Father (2017)

TV-MA | 136 min | Biography, Drama, History

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
72 Metascore

Cambodian author and human rights activist Loung Ung recounts the horrors she suffered as a child under the rule of the deadly Khmer Rouge.

Director: Angelina Jolie | Stars: Sareum Srey Moch, Phoeung Kompheak, Sveng Socheata, Mun Kimhak

Votes: 7,252

9. The Florida Project (2017)

R | 111 min | Drama

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
92 Metascore

Set over one summer, the film follows precocious six-year-old Moonee as she courts mischief and adventure with her ragtag playmates and bonds with her rebellious but caring mother, all while living in the shadows of Walt Disney World.

Director: Sean Baker | Stars: Brooklynn Prince, Bria Vinaite, Willem Dafoe, Christopher Rivera

Votes: 45,582 | Gross: $5.90M

10. Lady Bird (2017)

R | 94 min | Comedy, Drama

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
94 Metascore

In 2002, an artistically inclined seventeen-year-old girl comes of age in Sacramento, California.

Director: Greta Gerwig | Stars: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges

Votes: 114,890 | Gross: $48.96M

11. Mary Shelley (2017)

PG-13 | 120 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

6.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
47 Metascore

The love affair between poet Percy Shelley and 18 year old Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, which resulted in Mary Shelley writing Frankenstein.

Director: Haifaa Al-Mansour | Stars: Maisie Williams, Elle Fanning, Bel Powley, Douglas Booth

Votes: 294

12. Molly's Game (2017)

R | 140 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
71 Metascore

The true story of Molly Bloom, an Olympic-class skier who ran the world's most exclusive high-stakes poker game and became an FBI target.

Director: Aaron Sorkin | Stars: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera

Votes: 55,472 | Gross: $28.78M

13. Mother! (2017)

R | 121 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

6.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
75 Metascore

A couple's relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence.

Director: Darren Aronofsky | Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer

Votes: 114,285 | Gross: $17.80M

14. Mudbound (2017)

R | 134 min | Drama, War

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
85 Metascore

Two men return home from World War II to work on a farm in rural Mississippi, where they struggle to deal with racism and adjusting to life after war.

Director: Dee Rees | Stars: Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Clarke, Jonathan Banks

Votes: 24,814

15. On Chesil Beach (2017)

110 min | Drama, Romance

6.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
64 Metascore

Based on Ian McEwan's novel. In 1962 England, a young couple find their idyllic romance colliding with issues of sexual freedom and societal pressure, leading to an awkward and fateful wedding night.

Director: Dominic Cooke | Stars: Saoirse Ronan, Emily Watson, Anne-Marie Duff, Bebe Cave

Votes: 284

16. Outside In (2017)

109 min | Drama

6.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
77 Metascore

An ex-con struggling to readjust to life in his small town forms an intense bond with his former high school teacher.

Director: Lynn Shelton | Stars: Edie Falco, Jay Duplass, Kaitlyn Dever, Ben Schwartz

Votes: 304 | Gross: $0.06M

17. The Shape of Water (2017)

R | 123 min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
87 Metascore

At a top secret research facility in the 1960s, a lonely janitor forms a unique relationship with an amphibious creature that is being held in captivity.

Director: Guillermo del Toro | Stars: Sally Hawkins, Octavia Spencer, Michael Shannon, Doug Jones

Votes: 201,504 | Gross: $63.84M

18. Suburbicon (2017)

R | 105 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

5.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  
42 Metascore

As a 1950s suburban community self-destructs, a home invasion has sinister consequences for one seemingly normal family.

Director: George Clooney | Stars: Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, Oscar Isaac, Noah Jupe

Votes: 19,895 | Gross: $5.78M

19. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

R | 115 min | Crime, Drama

8.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
88 Metascore

A mother personally challenges the local authorities to solve her daughter's murder when they fail to catch the culprit.

Director: Martin McDonagh | Stars: Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Caleb Landry Jones

Votes: 221,577 | Gross: $54.49M

20. Unicorn Store (2017)

92 min | Comedy

6.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A woman named Kit receives a mysterious invitation that would fulfill her childhood dreams.

Director: Brie Larson | Stars: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Bradley Whitford, Chris Witaske

Votes: 145