• From left: The Goldfinch, Hustlers, Jojo Rabbit, The True History of the Kelly Gang (SBS Movies)Source: SBS Movies
The biggest films from this year's Toronto International Film Festival, and when you can expect to see them in Australian cinemas.
Stephen A. Russell

24 Sep 2019 - 5:30 PM  UPDATED 25 Sep 2019 - 10:01 AM

Marking the grand finale of the only-just Autumn festivals – kicked off by Telluride before jetting to Venice – the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is a massive beast showcasing 300+ movies with an embarrassment of Hollywood A-list riches on-ground.

Now that the glittering dust has settled, Australia can look forward to a steady parade of prime awards contenders from here until the Oscars at the end of February.

Here’s our handy guide.

The Goldfinch

TIFF World Premiere Gala Presentations

In cinemas September 26

Nicole Kidman and Ansel Elgort were in Toronto to walk the red carpet for what should have been a sure-fire hit, as the first of Donna Tartt’s wildly successful novels to be adapted for the big screen.

Elgort plays an antique dealer damaged by the terrible death of his mother in a devastating explosion at New York’s Metropolitan Museum when he was a boy (played by Oakes Fegley). It should be emotionally gripping. Instead Brooklyn director John Crowley totally botches it, delivering a laborious slog that also feels rushed, thanks to glaring plot holes and seemingly irrelevant characters that fail to leave a mark.


TIFF North American Premiere Gala Presentations

In Cinemas October 3

When the news dropped that Argentinian director Lucrecia Martel’s jury at the Venice Film Festival had awarded the Golden Lion to The Hangover director Todd Phillip’s DC supervillain movie, shock was the main reaction.   

Sparking a ferocious critical debate about where the line lies in depicting murderous psychopaths at the centre of a story, and whether or not the movie is as smart as it thinks it is in critiquing capitalist decline, most agreed that Joaquin Phoenix’ central turn is staggering. Throw in Robert De Niro as a late night talk show host, plus the suddenly ubiquitous Zazie Beetz (Atlanta), and it’s worth making your own mind up.


TIFF Canadian Premiere Special Presentations

In Cinemas October 10

Bowing at Telluride first didn’t dampen expectations for Judy's TIFF premiere, as the Toronto audience erupted into an ecstatic standing ovation that had to be silenced by Renée Zellweger herself.

Rupert Goold’s big-hearted biopic traces Judy Garland’s pathway from brutally abused working childhood, to fading glory in her final year performing to sold-out but unforgiving crowds in London. Utterly magnificent as Garland, and singing her heart out, Zellweger’s gunning for that Oscar.


TIFF World Premiere Gala Presentations

In Cinemas October 10

One of the biggest buzzes at this year’s TIFF was the triumphant return of Jennifer Lopez, with critics perhaps surprisingly effusive about her supporting turn as a stripper club mama with a penchant for furs and fleecing douchey Wall Street bankers. A true story, writer/director Lorene Scafaria adapts a New York Magazine yarn and also offers a great showcase for Crazy Rich Asians star Constance Wu.

Ford v Ferrari

TIFF International Premiere Gala Presentations

In Cinemas November 14

Filling in the gap until Fast & Furious 9 squillion next year and scrubbing the memory of the dire Hobbs & Shaw, revheads should hoon towards this high-octane biopic starring Matt Damon and Christian Bale as the Ford Motors have-a-go heroes who take on the Italian engineering might of Ferrari at the 1966 Le Mans race. Driven by Logan director James Mangold, this one’s designed to win big.

The Report

TIFF International Premiere Special Presentations

In Cinemas November 14

A real life political thriller, Star Wars bad guy Adam Driver plays mild-mannered Senate staffer Daniel J. Jones, driven to uncover the truth in this searing expose of the CIA’s torture tactics in the aftermath of 9/11. Writer/director Scott Z. Burns taps the brilliant Annette Bening to play Senator Dianne Feinstein. Also look out for Driver starring opposite Scarlett Johansson in another TIFF gem, Noah Baumbach’s intimate divorce saga Marriage Story.

Knives Out

TIFF World Premiere Special Presentations

In Cinemas November 28

A huge hit at TIFF, Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson casts Mr. Bond himself, Daniel Craig, as an Agatha Christie-like detective with a southern drawl called into a sprawling mansion when an aging patriarch (Christopher Plummer) is found murdered. A hilarious whodunit, the payroll must have been out of control, with suspects played by the likes of Chris Evans, Toni Collette, Jamie Lee Curtis, Lakeith Stanfield and Michael Shannon.

Motherless Brooklyn

TIFF International Premiere Special Presentations

In Cinemas December 5

Speaking of detective yarns, Edward Norton wrote, directed and stars as a private dick with Tourette syndrome in this crime drama adapted from the novel by Jonathan Lethem. It’s pretty darn starry too, with Bruce Willis, Alec Baldwin, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Willem Dafoe also appearing in this lush period recreation of '50s New York.

Jojo Rabbit

TIFF World Premiere Special Presentations

In Cinemas December 26

New Zealander Taika Waititi has fast become one of the world’s most in-demand directors and delivers his most button-pushing movie yet, in this blackly comic adaptation of Christine Leunens' WWII novel Caging Skies. Scarlett Johansson plays a German resistance fighter hiding a Jewish girl (Leave No Trace star Thomasin McKenzie) from her Hitler Youth-corrupted son (Roman Griffin Davis) who happens to idolise his imaginary bestie, the Fuhrer (played by Waititi). A complicated heart-tugger.

The Truth

North American Premiere Special Presentations

In Cinemas December 26

Not leaping the ridiculously high bar set by his Palme d’Or-winning Shoplifters, Japanese auteur Hirokazu Kore-eda’s largely French-language family drama is nevertheless charming. Both super-French and super-Kore-eda, the director brilliantly casts icons Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche as a film star mother and estranged daughter trying to find a pathway to loving each other, with a bemused Ethan Hawke caught in the middle.

Just Mercy

TIFF World Premiere Gala Presentations

In Cinemas January 16

Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx are primed for Oscar attention in this true-story legal drama about Harvard lawyer Bryan Stevenson, defending African-American Death Row inmates. Adapted from Stevenson’s memoir by Hawaiian writer/director Destin Daniel Cretton (Short Term 12), it also features Captain Marvel Brie Larson.

Lucy in the Sky

TIFF World Premiere Special Presentations

In Cinemas March 5

One of the biggest losers from TIFF after The Goldfinch bombing, critics were unkind to this Natalie Portman vehicle directed by Fargo’s Noah Hawley. Loosely based on the real-life scandal of fallen astronaut Lisa Nowak, it does pack a starry support cast in John Hamm, Dan Stevens, Ellen Burstyn and Zazie Beetz.

True History of the Kelly Gang

TIFF World Premiere Gala Presentations


Snowtown writer/director Justin Kurzel led the charge in a strong year for Australian cinema at TIFF. Breathing writhing, wriggling life into Peter Carey’s poetic cross-examination of Australian mythology, this is a magnificent monument from a filmmaker wired for brilliance. George MacKay and Orlando Schwerdt share the lead as Ned, with fantastic support from Essie Davis, Nicholas Hoult and Russell Crowe.

I Am Woman

TIFF World Premiere Special Presentations


Aussie music export Helen Reddy gets the biopic treatment in the debut dramatic feature from Unjoo Moon. Casting rising star Tilda Cobham-Hervey as the feminist trailblazer who moved to the US for a recording contract that turned out to be fake, but persevered regardless, the film also features fellow countrywoman Danielle Macdonald (Dumplin’) as rock reporter Lillian Roxon.

Dirt Music

TIFF World Premiere Special Presentations


Rounding out the trio of Aussie movies debuting at TIFF, Ned Kelly director Gregor Jordan tackles Tim Winton in this majestically-shot musing on disconnection, starring local hero David Wenham alongside Kelly Macdonald and Garrett Hedlund with just-about-passable Aussie accents.


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