venice toronto pics

Source: Annapurna Pictures / BRON Studios / Whitefalk Films / FilmNation Entertainment

‘Hustlers’, ‘Joker’, ‘Babyteeth’, ‘Knives Out’

From potential studio hits to arthouse sleepers, these are some of the films that caught the eye at Venice and Toronto this year. Compiled by Screen’s reviews editor and chief film critic Fionnuala Halligan.

Studio hits and Oscar hopefuls


Dir. Todd Phillips
Our critic said: “A fan-servicing blockbuster that highlights what is eternally captivating about the character, while at the same time offering a sobering critique of the sadistic nihilism that has long been the Joker’s modus operandi.” Read our review 


Dir. Lorene Scafaria
Our critic said: “Like the sequinned, simpering erotic dancers it spotlights, Hustlers is a lot smarter than it initially looks.” Read our review

Marriage Story

Dir. Noah Baumbach
Our critic said: Marriage Story can be a tough watch, thanks to outstanding, stripped-raw performances by leads Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson.” Read our review

The Kingmaker

Dir. Lauren Greenfield
Our critic said: “An enraging portrait of entitlement, opulence and corruption, The Kingmaker starts as a profile of Imelda Marcos but soon widens its perspective to depict a Philippines in peril.” Read our review 

Bombay Rose

Dir. Gitanjali Rao
Our critic said: “There’s a story of star-crossed lovers at the centre of Bombay Rose, but viewers may be more entranced by the vibrant animation, gliding colours and resonant sounds which accompany it.” Read our review

The Two Popes

Dir. Fernando Meirelles
Our critic said: “A brilliant director; two great actors; a script which is a blessing from on high.” Read our review

Dolemite Is My Name 

Dir. Craig Brewer
Our critic said: ”Eddie Murphy is the man in Dolemite Is My Name, an enjoyable star vehicle that provides the beloved comic with one of his most substantial roles.” Read our review 

Just Mercy

Dir. Destin Daniel Cretton
Our critic said: “A definite crowd-pleaser, as evidenced by the outbursts of spontaneous applause which punctuated the premiere screening in Toronto, this picture has the potential to make its mark on the coming awards season, particularly in the acting categories.” Read our review 


Dir. Rupert Goold
Our critic said: Renee Zellweger gives the performance of her career in a film which is certainly an awards-friendly biopic, but strikes a darker, more maudlin note than expected on very few high keys. Read our review  

Commercial potential


Source: Toronto International Film Festival

‘Military Wives’

Military Wives

Dir. Peter Cattaneo
Our critic said: “It may have taken 20 years, but director Peter Cattaneo has finally found a worthy companion piece to his BAFTA-winning The Full Monty.” Read our review 

Ford v Ferrari

Dir. James Mangold
Our critic said: “Appealing performances from both Christian Bale and Matt Damon allied to subject matter that is neither sequel or superhero epic should help the film carve out a decent share of the autumn box-office.” Read our review 

Knives Out

Dir. Rian Johnson
Our critic said: “A whodunnit awash in twists, turns and rampant cleverness, Knives Out is, above all, a celebration of murder mysteries that puts on a fairly nifty impression of one itself.” Read our review 

Hope Gap

Dir. William Nicholson
Our critic said: “Annette Bening and Bill Nighy give sure, steady performances as a long-time married couple pondering what awaits them in their uncertain golden years.” Read our review 

The films that scored US deals


Source: Toronto International Film Festival

‘Sound of Metal’

Sound Of Metal

Dir. Darius Marder
Our critic said: “Riz Ahmed is superb in this impactful drama which explores attitudes towards and questions about disability.” Read our review

The Platform

Dir. Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia
Our critic said: ”Part Swift, part Saw, and determinedly grim, this Toronto premiere is sure to become a cult favourite of similarly uncompromising horror fans, although its mood could be too dark for mainstream success. Read our review


Dir. Dan Friedkin
Our critic said: “Claes Bang and Guy Pearce headline a Nazi art thriller set in post-war Holland, executive produced by Ridley Scott: that’s enough to move the dial on an international streamer’s algorithm.” Read our review


Dir. Michael Winterbottom
Our critic said: “Writer/director Michael Winterbottom delivers a heady cocktail of absurdity and profundity, laced with a generous measure of cutting one-liners in a film that builds into a scathing commentary on a world where the rich keep getting richer and the poor are merely collateral damage.” Read our review



Source: Toronto International Film Festival


Endings, Beginnings

Dir. Drake Doremus
Our critic said: “As Doremus demonstrated with Like Crazy and Newness, he has a knack for capturing relationships in such flesh-and-blood depth, they almost become characters in their own right.” Read our review

Two Of Us

Dir. Filippo Meneghetti
Our critic said: “LGBTQ fests will be fighting over this one but the film’s potential is broader than any comparatively narrow demographic. A romance this convincingly lived-in is rare indeed.” Read our review 

The Personal History Of David Copperfield

Dir. Armando Iannucci
Our critic said: “Armando Iannucci brings a wonderful comic exuberance to his freewheeling adaptation of a novel that Charles Dickens considered his favourite child. Read our review 


Dir. Sarah Gavron
Our critic said: “It’s not just a film about young women of colour, it’s a film which placed them at the very centre of the filmmaking process from development onwards. It’s their film, and, marketed astutely, it could speak to a generation of girls who rarely see themselves accurately represented in cinema.” Read our review 

While At War

Dir. Alejandro Amenabar
Our critic said: “This exquisitely-detailed period piece attempts to take a snapshot of Spain at a terrifyingly complicated time, and angles its lens on Franco through the story of the great Spanish man of letters, Miguel de Unamuno.” Read our review 

An Officer And A Spy

Dir. Roman Polanski
Our critic said: “A story of injustice and intolerance, An Officer And A Spy recounts the Dreyfus Affair not with passion and fury but, rather, sober deliberation, meticulous detail and emotional restraint.” Read our review 

Martin Eden

Dir. Pietro Marcello
Our critic said: “Italian director Pietro Marcello finally embraces a larger budget and more linear narrative in this adaptation of a 1909 novel by ‘Call of the Wild’ writer Jack London.” Read our review 

Arthouse sleepers 


Source: Toronto International Film Festival



Dir. Alice Winocour
Our critic said: “A significant, ambitious and entirely impressive film by a dazzling young French director in full command of her ship.” Read our review 

Saint Maud

Dir. Rose Glass 
Our critic said: “A few outré flourishes apart, this powerfully individual debut from Rose Glass – an NFTS graduate and 2018 Screen Star of Tomorrow – is horror in a restrained, strictly psychological vein, charting the gradual breakdown of a lonely young woman convinced that she is on a divine mission. Read our review 

Uncut Gems

Dirs. Josh Safdie, Benny Safdie
Our critic said: “The latest from the Safdie brothers is a cracking follow up to Good Time: a jangling panic attack of a movie and a timely reminder that, when he puts his mind to it, Adam Sandler can be one of the finest actors currently working.” Read our review 

La Llorona

Dir. Jayro Bustamante
Our critic said: “This taut, accomplished film recounts a dark episode in Guatemala’s history as a suspense-laden ghost story based on a myth deeply rooted in indigenous Latin American culture.” Read our review  

True History Of The Kelly Gang

Dir. Justin Kurzel
Our critic said: “After his coolly received misfire, video game adaptation Assassin’s Creed, it will very decisively reaffirm Kurzel as an auteur of significant international clout and visionary ambition.” Read our review 


Dir. Rodrigo Sorogoyen
Our critic said: “The Spanish filmmaker, writing for the third time with Isabel Peña, demonstrates a masterful control of the emotional rhythms that ebb and flow throughout the film to unsettling and potent effect as he scrutinises the long-term aftermath of a mother’s loss of a child.” Read our review 


Dir. Shannon Murphy
Our critic said: “Sentiment is kept at arm’s length for much of a film that is a far more indie, edgy prospect than, say, Now Is Good or The Fault In Our Stars.” Read our review  


Dir. Oliver Hermanus 
Our critic said: “Based on the fictionalised memoir by André-Carl van der Merwe, this depiction of a young gay man’s army training lays bare the ideology and the ruthless mechanisms of apartheid, as applied to the young white males tasked with implementing it.” Read our review

A Son

Dir. Mehdi M. Barsaoui
Our critic said: “A consistently intriguing look at the shifting dynamics of coupledom and the intricacies of supply and demand in a setting where strict religious edicts still hold sway.” Read our review 

5 Is The Perfect Number

Dir. Igort
Our critic said: “Adapting his own graphic novel, artist and illustrator Igort shows a strong sense of atmosphere and tone, resulting in a movie drunk on pulp pleasures.” Read our review 

Only The Animals

Dir. Dominik Moll 
Our critic said: “Edgy, elusive and enthralling at the outset, Moll flirts with Rashomon-style perspectives in a remote French farming community to bracing effect.” Read our review