Five must see films featured in the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival

By Brooks Reddy

Being one of the largest film celebrations in the world, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) has hosted some of cinema’s greatest and most popular accomplishments for more than four decades. The 2017 festival featured wildly popular films such as Lady Bird, The Disaster Artist and best picture award winner, The Shape of Water. With such a successful previous year, the anticipation was high for 2018. Without further a due, here are my five must see films from this year’s festival.


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Starting off white hot, we have the Bradley Copper directed music/romance drama, A Star Is Born. Starring the visionary Bradley Cooper and electric Lady Gaga, the film explores not only the complicated relationship of two musical stars, but the rewards and the consequences of living in the lime light. Spinning a truly unique story with mesmerizing musical numbers, A Star Is Born has received considerable critical acclamations since its release, even earning a 93 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.


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The film that I personally anticipated the most at this year’s festival is none other than The Old Man and the Gun. Starring an aging Robert Redford, he evokes a youthful performance, and delivers on one of his more peculiar roles in magnificent fashion. The film itself follows a 70-year-old, escaped prison inmate stringing together elaborate heists leaving the authorities bewildered. This adaptation of a true story is reportedly Redford’s last film, and is certainly a delightful close to an illustrious acting career.


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This Netflix based film was perhaps the film festival’s most pleasant surprise. Roma was directed, produced and written by the academy award-winning Alfonso Caurón. Roma itself is said to be semi-biographical as it tells a portion of Caurón’s life, while also being his personal love letter to his mother and all the women who raise us. The story explores the life of a Mexican mother as she takes care of her four children in her husband’s absence. This gritty, black and white film is regarded to be a masterpiece among ordinary viewers and critics alike, boasting a 98 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.


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The last time that Damien Chazelle and Ryan Gosling teamed up in 2016 we were given La La Land, so it is an understatement to say that there is excitement surrounding the duo’s return. First Man is a story we are all familiar with, but this film displays it from Neil Armstrong’s personal perspective. Is has been said that First Man gives the viewer the feelings of claustrophobia and isolation due to Chazelle’s well-purposed, dramatic intensity. With an eighty-million-dollar budget, it is clear that First Man leaves no stones unturned, and simply checks all the boxes.


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The final installment of my list is Boy Erased, making my list for its relevance in today’s social controversies. The cast is led by Lucas Hedges who plays a homosexual son of pastor. The pastor, played by Russell Crowe, attempts to deal with his sons’ sexuality by sending him to a gay conversion camp. The internal conflict displayed by Hedges’ masterful acting is regarded as one of the greatest in recent and cinema, making Boy Erased a must see in my book.