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If you attend TIFF every year, a mild sense of déjà vu can eventually start to kick in, but this is a good thing. Rather than roll the dice on a random film that runs the risk of disappointing you and your friends, you can always take the safer approach: focus on the films that most closely resemble your favourites from festivals past. With that in mind, here are the six best ways to re-live TIFF 2018 at TIFF 2019.
…you’ll probably like Judy. Every year at TIFF, there are a handful of films that instantly appear to be locks for Oscar nods. When Bradley Cooper’s remake of A Star is Born arrived at last year’s festival, many accurately predicted that Lady Gaga would follow in the footsteps of Judy Garland (star of the 1954 version) and land an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. The same predictions are being made for Renée Zellweger’s Judy: a biopic about, you guessed it, Judy Garland.
…you’ll probably like Just Mercy. Wrongful imprisonment is a disturbingly commonplace phenomenon—particularly in the African-American community—which may explain why prominent TIFF films have tackled this subject two years in a row. Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight follow-up If Beale Street Could Talk was one of the highlights of last year’s festival, but it failed to make much of an impression at the box office (Regina King still managed to win a well-deserved Oscar for Best Supporting Actress), possibly due to its lack of star power. Just Mercy should steer clear of that problem, thanks to the three heavy-hitters in its cast: Jamie Foxx, Michael B. Jordan, and Brie Larson.
…you’ll probably like A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. Much like Beale Street, Can You Ever Forgive Me? peaked at TIFF, even though its cast (namely Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant) went on to earn some Oscar recognition. Although the film’s low box office gross feels like an injustice, there are two reasons director Marielle Heller should expect a better outcome with her latest effort: it stars Tom Hanks and it’s about everyone’s favourite family-friendly TV legend, Mr. Rogers.
… you’ll probably like Lucy in the Sky. In recent years, TIFF has become a surprising hot spot for movies about astronauts (Gravity being the most prominent example). Whereas 2018’s First Man deals with a male astronaut’s struggles on earth, followed by his transcendent achievements in space, Lucy in the Sky reverses things. Natalie Portman plays the bizarrely named Lucy Cola, a female astronaut who reaches for the stars, only to spiral out of control when she returns to Earth.
…you’ll probably like The Lighthouse. Robert Pattinson’s recent career trajectory has probably left some of his Twilight-era fans scratching their heads (fortunately, they’ve got The Batman and Christopher Nolan’s Tenet to look forward to), but more adventurous Edward enthusiasts are savouring his ongoing creative renaissance, which has brought him to TIFF in back-to-back arthouse genre films, both of which earned rave reviews. But even if you’re totally open to harrowing black-and-white horror films set in the 19th century, there’s one little problem: with only two (sold out) public screenings, The Lighthouse might be TIFF’s most elusive ticket.
…you’ll probably like Joker. Much like David Gordon Green’s 2018 Halloween revival, Joker brings back a brutal movie villain with decades of history via a retro sensibility that feels surprisingly fresh. Aside from A Star is Born, Halloween emerged as the biggest commercial hit of TIFF 2018 and you can expect Joker—arguably the most anticipated movie of late 2019—to surpass both by a significant margin.