The 10 Most Anticipated Movies at TIFF 2023

Here at MarkMeets we love all things Entertainment from music, movies, tv and showbiz and cover everthing from tech, to business for reviews, opinion articles and ergularly get asked to comment on the latest news but film festivals are where our team do our real work on the red carpet as we film and interview the stars.

Every fall, film enthusiasts and industry insiders eagerly turn their attention to Canada, where the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) unveils a treasure trove of cinematic gems that often foreshadow future Oscar winners. This year, the festival is scheduled to run from September 7th to September 17th, promising a lineup that is nothing short of exceptional.

TIFF has consistently demonstrated its ability to attract both established giants of the film industry and emerging talents, resulting in a dynamic blend of storytelling that captivates audiences. In this article, we’ll provide an exciting sneak peek into the ten most highly anticipated selections from this year’s TIFF lineup. Additionally, we’ll present an array of 20 honorable mentions that are sure to generate buzz and excitement among festival-goers.

1. The Boy and the Heron

Renowned animator Hayao Miyazaki, known for his breathtaking animations, presents what is rumored to be his final masterpiece. Set against the backdrop of wartime Japan, this heartwarming tale follows a young boy who relocates to the countryside with his grieving father and new stepmother. Guided by a mysterious gray heron, he stumbles upon a tower, a marvel constructed by a long-lost great uncle. This tower, however, is more than bricks and mortar; it potentially opens the door to a world filled with wonder and magic. With a cast featuring Soma Santoki, Masaki Suda, and Aimyon, this film pays homage to an artist who has redefined the world of animation.

2. Dream Scenario

Director Kristoffer Borgli, known for his enigmatic storytelling, brings a perplexing narrative to the big screen. In a reality that blurs the lines between normality and the bizarre, Nicolas Cage finds himself trapped in a confounding dilemma: he is appearing in people’s dreams. Initially a mere observer, Cage’s role in these nocturnal fantasies begins to evolve, unsettling the dreamers. With Julianne Nicholson and Michael Cera sharing the screen and the enigmatic Ari Aster co-producing, “Dream Scenario” promises a journey into the uncanny, where dreams challenge the boundaries of reality.

3. Evil Does Not Exist

Ryusuke Hamaguchi crafts a poignant story set against the pristine backdrop of Harasawa. Takumi, a devoted father, finds solace in performing simple tasks for his neighbors, from chopping wood to fetching water. However, their tranquility is threatened by the imminent arrival of the Tokyo-based company, Playmode, which aims to transform their haven into a glamping site. As they unite against corporate greed, this drama, featuring Hitoshi Omika, Ryo Nishikawa, and Ryuji Kosaka, beautifully weaves together themes of ecological conservation, resistance, and community spirit.

4. Dicks: The Musical

In a world where musicals collide with madcap comedy, identical twins, portrayed by Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp, concoct an outlandish plan to reunite their divorced parents. With the charismatic Megan Mullally and Nathan Lane lending their charm, the film reimagines the classic “Parent Trap” with twists ranging from the divine to the dominatrix. Directed by Larry Charles, and with Bowen Yang embodying the role of God and Megan Thee Stallion’s fiery presence, “Dicks: The Musical” promises to be the cult classic of the year—an extraordinary musical extravaganza.

5. Concrete Utopia

Directed by Um Tae-hwa, “Concrete Utopia,” one of several Korean films featured at TIFF this year, explores a post-apocalyptic Seoul that stands resilient amidst chaos. Survivors, including Min-seong and Myeong-hwa, portrayed by Park Seo-jun and Park Bo-young, grapple with new realities and moral dilemmas when outsiders seek refuge. Beyond its post-apocalyptic setting, this film delves into societal commentary, exploring themes of trust and human nature amidst destruction and rebirth. “Concrete Utopia” challenges viewers to confront their beliefs, prejudices, and the very fabric of human civilization.

6. Origins

Ava DuVernay, celebrated for her compelling narratives, brings to life the extraordinary journey of author Isabel Wilkerson, portrayed with nuance by Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor. Amidst personal tragedies, Wilkerson embarks on a global expedition culminating in her writing “Caste: The Origin of Our Discontents.” With a stellar supporting cast including Jon Bernthal and Vera Farmiga, this film isn’t merely an author’s journey but a profound exploration of the intricate tapestry of human society and caste. Fresh from its success at the Venice Film Festival, “Origins” promises a cinematic experience filled with emotion and introspection.

7. Dumb Money

The volatile world of finance comes to life in this sharp comedy directed by Craig Gillespie. With GameStop stocks at its epicenter, Paul Dano and Seth Rogen find themselves entangled in a comedic tug-of-war. When Wall Street’s sharks, led by Rogen’s character, bet against the retail giant, Dano’s character rallies a digital army, leading to unprecedented stock surges. Alongside Pete Davidson, America Ferrera, and Sebastian Stan, this financial fiasco navigates the intricate labyrinth of stock trading with wit, humor, and a touch of the absurd.

8. Sleep

Jason Yu, the protégé of “Parasite” director Bong Joon-ho, makes his directorial debut with a blend of horror and dark comedy. The seemingly serene life of Soo-jin and Hyun-su, played by Jung Yu-mi and Lee Sun-kyun, is disrupted when a sleep disorder unveils unsettling nocturnal habits. As tension escalates, the narrative unravels the complexities of love, commitment, and the uncanny. “Sleep” marries humor with spine-chilling moments, promising a roller-coaster of emotions with unexpected twists at every turn.

9. Nyad

Annette Bening embodies the indomitable spirit of Diane Nyad, the legendary swimmer who, against all odds, swam from Cuba to Key West at the age of 64. Directors Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, acclaimed for “Free Solo,” shift gears to chronicle this extraordinary biographical tale. More than just a sports story, “Nyad” delves deep into human endurance, determination, and the relentless pursuit of dreams. With Oscar buzz in the air, this film might just be Bening’s golden ticket to acclaim.

10. The Dead Don’t Hurt

The wild west gets a refreshing makeover with Viggo Mortensen’s “The Dead Don’t Hurt.” Mortensen not only directs but also stars as a Danish soldier who falls for Vicky Krieps’ French-Canadian florist in 1860s Nevada. As romance blossoms, adversity strikes when Mortensen’s character enlists in the Civil War, leaving his love to brave the frontier’s dangers. With a supporting cast boasting ‘Deadwood’ alumni, this film beautifully weaves romance, action, and the raw, untamed spirit of the west.

Now that we’ve explored the ten most highly anticipated films at TIFF 2023, let’s take a moment to discover 20 more honorable mentions that are sure to captivate audiences and leave a lasting impression.

20 Other Movies to Watch for at TIFF 2023

Here are 20 additional films featured at TIFF 2023 that promise to offer unique and compelling cinematic experiences:

  1. American Fiction – Directed by Cord Jefferson. Stars Issa Rae, Adam Brody, and Jeffrey Wright.
  2. The Beast – Directed by Bertrand Bonello. Stars Léa Seydoux, George MacKay, and Guslagie Malanda.
  3. Close to You – Directed by Dominic Savage. Stars Elliot Page and Dominic Savage.
  4. The End We Start From – Directed by Mahalia Belo. Stars Jodie Comer, Katherine Waterston, and Benedict Cumberbatch.
  5. Fingernails – Directed by Christos Nikou. Stars Jessie Buckley, Riz Ahmed, and Jeremy Allen White.
  6. Gonzo Girl – Directed by Patricia Arquette. Stars Camila Morrone, Willem Dafoe, and Patricia Arquette.
  7. His Three Daughters – Directed by Azazel Jacobs. Stars Carrie Coon, Elizabeth Olsen, and Natasha Lyonne.
  8. The Holdovers – Directed by Alexander Payne. Stars Paul Giamatti, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, and Dominic Sessa.
  9. Les Indésirables – Directed by Ladj Ly. Stars Jeanne Balibar, Alex Manenti, and Steve Tientcheu.
  10. Knox Goes Away – Directed by Michael Keaton. Stars Michael Keaton, Al Pacino, and Marcia Gay Harden.
  11. Monster – Directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda. Stars Sakura Andō, Eita Nagayama, and Soya Kurokawa.
  12. Next Goal Wins – Directed by Taika Waititi. Stars Michael Fassbender, Oscar Kightley, and Kaimana.
  13. Pain Hustlers – Directed by David Yates. Stars Emily Blunt, Chris Evans, and Catherine O’Hara.
  14. Poolman – Directed by Chris Pine. Stars Pine, Annette Bening, and Danny DeVito.
  15. Quiz Lady – Directed by Jessica Yu. Stars Awkwafina, Sanda Oh, and Jason Schwartzman.
  16. The Royal Hotel – Directed by Kitty Green. Stars Julia Garner, Jessica Henwick, and Toby Wallace.
  17. Rustin – Directed by George C. Wolf. Stars Chris Rock, Glynn Turman, and Aml Ameen.
  18. When Evil Lurks – Directed by Demián Rugna. Stars Ezequiel Rodriguez, Demián Salomon, and Luis Ziembrowski.
  19. Wildcat – Directed by Ethan Hawke. Stars Maya Hawke, Laura Linney, and Philip Ettinger.
  20. Woman of the Hour – Directed by Anna Kendrick. Stars Kendrick, Tony Hale, and Daniel Zovatto.

With this diverse and compelling lineup of films, TIFF 2023 promises to be a cinematic feast for all movie enthusiasts. Whether you’re drawn to heartwarming tales, thought-provoking dramas, or whimsical comedies, there’s something for everyone to look forward to at this year’s festival. Stay tuned for the latest updates and reviews as these films make their mark on the world of cinema.

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Stevie Flavio
Film Writer


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