Toronto 2017: Three Billboards wins People’s Choice Award

As the 2017 Toronto Film Festival closes, we take a look at our top picks from the festival. Despite already premiering in Venice, Darren Aronofsky’s unhinged Mother! created the most buzz on the ground, garnering rave reviews from festival-goers and critics alike.Sadly, that hasn’t translated to box office success, with the film flopping at the…

Toronto 2017: Valley of Shadows review

★★★★★ Using the folkloric tropes of a deep, dark wood and tales of a beast terrorising the countryside, with his feature debut Valley of Shadows Norwegian director Jonas Matzow Gulbrandsen has crafted one of the year’s finest, most deeply affecting psychological dramas.As with all the best ghost stories, this one starts with a family in…

Toronto 2017: Lady Bird review

★★★★★ Following her co-director credit on 2008’s Nights and Weekends, Greta Gerwig goes it alone directing Saoirse Ronan in Lady Bird. A lovingly observed, pitch perfect coming-of-age comedy, Gerwig’s warm, astute account of the end of adolescence is a stunning solo debut.High school senior Christine (Ronan) – now insisting that she is called ‘Lady Bird’…

Toronto 2017: Dark River review

★★★★☆ Following this year’s The Levelling and God’s Own Country, the decaying farmlands of rural England appear to be replacing the urban concrete high-rise as the preferred setting for British social realism. Clio Barnard’s Dark River may well be the cream of this particular crop.Barnard, whose Yorkshire-centric filmography already includes doc-hybrid The Arbor and The…

Toronto 2017: Darkest Hour review

★★☆☆☆ Unpopular with his own cabinet and under pressure to enter into peace negotiations with Nazi Germany, once he became PM Winston Churchill’s character became symbolic of wartime spirit, his rousing speeches among the most famous examples of political oratory.What a shame, then, that the portrayal of such a figure should be fumbled so badly…

Toronto 2017: Jane review

★★★★☆ When now-renowned primatologist Jane Goodall went to Tanzania to study chimpanzees, she had no scientific qualifications or formal training. Armed with a passion for nature and her tenacity, she changed the way our closest cousins are understood by science.Brett Morgan’s Jane blends hundreds of hours of archival footage with a new interview with Goodall…

Toronto 2017: Breathe review

★★★☆☆ At the age of 28, Robert Cavendish was paralysed from the neck down by polio. Given only months to live on a respirator, he beat the odds and became one of the longest living ‘responauts’. Andy Serkis takes on Cavendish’s story with biopic Breathe.Opening with Cavendish (Andrew Garfield) meeting his future wife Diana (Claire…

Toronto 2017: Unicorn Store review

★★★★☆ Debut director Brie Larson tackles millennial growing pains in Unicorn Store, a super sweet, affecting comedy with a magical premise and a terrific central performance from Larson herself. Flunking out of art school and still living at home, Kit’s (Larson) life has stalled.The most consistent criticism levelled at the so-called ‘millennial’ generation is their…

Toronto 2017: Racer and the Jailbird review

★★☆☆☆ Racer Bibi (Adèle Exarchopoulos) gets her adrenaline kicks on the track, but Jailbird Gigi (Matthias Schoenaerts) takes his rush from pulling bank jobs with his friends. When the two fall in love, Gigi must decide whether to confess what he does, or give it up altogether.Where most crime thrillers often relegate the romance to…

Toronto 2017: Chappaquiddick review

★★★☆☆ By 1969, Ted Kennedy (played here by Jason Clarke) was the only a surviving brother of the famed political dynasty. But on 18th July of that year, a terrible accident on Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts put paid to Kennedy’s presidential aspirations.John Curran’s dramatisation of the incident opens with Mary Jo Kopechne (Kate Mara), one of…

Toronto 2017: I Love You, Daddy review

★★★★☆ Louis C.K. returns to the director’s chair for the first time since 2001’s Pootie Tang. Though not quite up there with his best TV work, I Love You, Daddy is a hilarious, awkward and boundary-pushing comedy about fatherhood, anxiety and the ethics of relationships.Fans of C.K.’s comedy drama series Louie should know largely what…

Toronto 2017: Jeannette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc review

★★★☆☆ A charming, if insistently odd musical representation of Joan of Arc’s early years, Bruno Dumont’s latest offering Jeannette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc is a compelling blend of juvenile dissatisfaction and Catholic anxiety – minus the humdrum historical accuracy.Jeannette is instead a psychological portrait of the young Joan of Arc, imagined as a…