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10 TIFF 2018 Movies We Can’t Wait To See

The 42nd annual Toronto International Film Festival kicked off today, which means you can look forward to a week and a half filled with tough, heartbreaking-movie-related decisions. Should you go see that artsy foreign film, or should you go see the big-budget flick everyone will be talking about all throughout awards season?

We already previewed all the best films Midnight Madness has to offer, but to celebrate the first day of the Festival (and make the TIFF decision making process a little easier) we thought we’d let you know which films—mad or otherwise—excite us most this year.

In Fabric

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Ever since director Peter Strickland brought The Duke of Burgundy to TIFF l in 2014, we’ve been waiting (impatiently) for his next feature film. In Fabric centres on a haunted dress. Yes, you read that correctly. It’s a concept only Strickland could successfully pull off—and we’re excited to see if he does. —Corrina

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

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In recent years, few filmmakers have made a better first impression than Marielle Heller. Emerging as one of the most inventive and assured films of 2015, The Diary of a Teenage Girl put her in an ideal position to start directing Hollywood star vehicles. Her first film in this vein, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, is a crime-ridden non-fiction drama that gives Melissa McCarthy a chance to abandon broad comedy theatrics in favour of a more grounded, down-to-earth approach. Playing writer-turned-forger Lee Israel, McCarthy is already earning praise—and Oscar hype—for her performance. We’re guessing this is also the movie that landed co-star Richard E. Grant his role in Star Wars: Episode IX—Jon

Assassination Nation

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A girl gang wreaking havoc and leaving a trail of dead bodies in their wake? Yes, please. In the era of #MeToo, we’re all about a film that takes on the topic of online social media misogyny, throws in a little Salem witch trial public hysteria, and adds more than a dash of Purge-level, taking-it-to-the-street violence. It might be the most perfect Midnight Madness movie ever. —Corrina

High Life

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Already in her 40s by the time she directed her first film, French filmmaker Claire Denis is an undeniable late bloomer, but one who has now been a critical darling for 30 solid years. Comfortable making small, challenging films, she finally makes the leap to something approximating the mainstream with her English-language debut, High Life. Robert Pattinson continues his post-Twilight renaissance as Monte, a death row inmate who volunteers to participate in a life-threatening space mission. Among TIFF 2018’s astronaut movies, Damien Chazelle’s already-acclaimed First Man may be the safer bet, but High Life stands a better chance of breaking audience expectations. —Jon

Widows

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More badass women? Bring. It. On. Steve McQueen directs an incredible ensemble cast lead by Viola Davis, Jacki Weaver, Michelle Rodriguez, and Cynthia Erivo in Widows, a crime heist thriller about four women looking to do more than settle a score. With a screenplay co-written by Gone Girl’s Gillian Flynn, we’re expecting a plot full of twists and turns to complement McQueen’s Oscar-winning directorial vision. —Corrina

Her Smell

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The last time writer-director Alex Ross Perry joined forces with Elisabeth Moss, the result was Queen of Earth, one of the most unfairly overlooked genre films in recent memory. While their latest collaboration (the unfortunately titled Her Smell) appears to be something of a departure, TIFF is comparing this film to the work of uncompromising auteurs John Cassavetes and Paul Thomas Anderson. If nothing else, Perry is one of the most assured, confident screenwriters working today, so you can expect this story of a self-destructive musician—played by Moss in “a career-defining performance”—to have the texture and complexity of a good novel. —Jon

Jeremiah Terminator LeRoy

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There are few things more tantalizing than a scandal and this film, from music video director Justin Kelly, is based on an epic hoax that rocked the modern literary world. Featuring the dream casting duo of Laura Dern and Kristen Stewart, plus a cameo from Courtney Love (!!!), the movie tells the true story of a writer who creates fiction under a completely fake persona—one that becomes bigger and more famous than she bargained for. —Corrina

Our Time

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The films of Mexican director Carlos Reygadas are definitely not for everyone. More art cinema experiments than mainstream crowd-pleasers, they have a hypnotic, dream-like quality that’s almost impossible to process if you’re looking for straightforward entertainment. However, those in search of a more adventurous brand of cinema should not miss Our Time, a 177-minute epic starring the whole Reygadas family (the director, his wife, and his kids all play roles). The filmmaker’s first new project in six years, this comes on the heels of back-to-back masterpieces Silent Light and Post Tenebras Lux. It’s fitting, then, that he would find himself in the festival’s illustrious Masters program, even if he remains almost completely unknown outside the festival circuit. —Jon

The Wind

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Annie, get your gun! Wynonna Earp devotees will be psyched to see a western/horror in the Midnight Madness lineup. On of the many female-directed films screening at this year’s Festival, Emma Tammi’s movie invokes that familiar trope of female intuition being completely ignored by the “man of the house.” We loved 2015’s The Witch and are super excited for a film that revisits the theme of evil descending upon intruders in a strange land. —Corrina

ROMA

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Five years have passed since Alfonso Cuarón arrived at TIFF with Gravity, the virtuoso space movie that earned him an Oscar for Best Director. That lengthy gestation period has become typical for Cuarón—he spent roughly seven years on Gravity—but rather than pour his energy into another big budget studio vehicle, he has delivered a more modestly-scaled Spanish-language movie (in glorious black-and-white) that draws on his childhood memories of the Corpus Christi massacre. Cuarón can always be counted on to use the medium in bold, flamboyant ways, but he gets his best results when tapping into deeply felt personal experience. By all accounts, that’s exactly what you should expect from ROMA.  —Jon