#CFG | TIFF picks: 5 films to watch at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival

This image released by Fox Searchlight Pictures shows Sally Hawkins, left, and Octavia Spencer in a scene from "The Shape of Water." (Fox Searchlight Pictures via AP)

Published Friday, September 8, 2017 6:00AM EDT 
Last Updated Friday, September 8, 2017 6:14AM EDT

The Toronto International Film Festival has reduced the number of programmed movies by 20 per cent from previous years but still includes 339 films—255 features and 84 shorts—to feast your eyes on. With 27,438 minutes of celluloid from 83 countries being projected on screens, there will be something for everyone.

TIFF opens this year with the sports drama “Borg/McEnroe,” detailing the epic rivalry between Swedish tennis legend Björn Borg (Sverrir Gudnason) and his greatest adversary, the brash American John McEnroe (Shia LaBeouf), which came to a head during the 1980 Wimbledon Championships.

Another tennis movie, “Battle of the Sexes,” chronicles the televised 1973 tennis match between top-ranked Billie Jean King and ex-champ Bobby Riggs. Emma Stone and Steve Carell star, recreating the game and King’s pregame offering to Riggs, a squealing piglet—the emblem of male chauvinism.

Shot in western Canada, “The Mountain Between Us”is a survival two-hander with Idris Elba and Kate Winslet. They play strangers who must bond after a devastating plane crash leaves them badly injured and stranded in the mountainous wilderness.

Guillermo del Toro, a director whose “Pan’s Labyrinth” electrified TIFF audiences in 2005, returns with another creature feature, “The Shape of Water.” Doug Jones, a del Toro regular who was the otherworldly Pale Man in Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy’s merman Abe Sapien, plays the film’s amphibious creature.

“Darkest Hour” director Joe Wright’s look at Winston Churchill’s battle against the Nazis is already being hyped as a sure-fire Oscar nomination for star Gary Oldman. The film is dedicated to John Hurt, who was cast as Neville Chamberlain but died before production began. Winston Churchill, the two-time prime minister of the United Kingdom and, according to a 2002 poll, the greatest Briton of all time, has been played on screens big and small by everyone from Orson Welles and John Houseman to John Cleese and Richard Burton. Recently, John Lithgow was nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance of the British Bulldog on “The Crown.”

 

Richard Crouse Richard CrouseContributor, CTV News Channel and CTV News Digital @richardcrouse

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