Capsule reviews and notes from day one of the Toronto International Film Festival.
After a lackluster 2017, it’s time to hurl ourselves into a brand new TIFF. This year promises more sure-thing directors and a resurgence of titles from Asia. Will the cinema gods smile or frown? Stay tuned for ten days of capsule reviews, followed by a round-up in order of preference when it has all unspooled.
Florianópolis Dream (Argentina, Ana Katz, 4) Separated couple, both psychologists, take a Brazilian vacation with their teenage son and daughter, falling into the beach bum community of the oddball dude who rents them a house. Low-key observational comedy of a family drifting apart.
Very subtly set in the long-ago time of cassette tapes, Nirvana T-shirts and cameras as a standalone item. Though this is by no means a plot-focused film, key events wouldn’t happen in the smartphone era.
Girls of the Sun (France, Eva Husson, 4) Traumatized war correspondent (Emanuelle Bercot) covers an all-woman unit of Yazidi partisans as they fight alongside the Peshmerga to liberate a city held by their former ISIS captors. The standout set-piece of this ripped-from-the-headlines feminist war movie is the gripping extended flashback depicting the escape of the protagonist from her captors.
Bercot’s character is clearly based on Marie Colvin, also the subject of an upcoming biopic starring Rosamund Pike.
Capsule review boilerplate: Ratings are out of 5. I’ll be collecting these reviews in order of preference in a master post the Monday after the fest. Films shown on the festival circuit will appear in theaters, streaming platforms and DVD over the next year plus. If you’ve heard of a film showing at TIFF, I’m probably waiting to see it during its upcoming conventional release.