The Stairs by filmmaker Hugh Gibson has won one of Canada’s biggest film prizes after it was awarded the Toronto Film Critics Association Award. The bruising film about clients and staff at a harm reduction clinic in Toronto had premiered at the 2016 Toronto Film Festival to much acclaim and has gone on to be considered a film of great importance.
So, after all the films we saw, some left us amazed, and some left us empty. Lets round up what we consider to be the best and worst of the fest. Here’s what we think you should see, if you can!
Director David Gordon Green has a long history with the Toronto International Film Festival, beginning with his debut feature film George Washington winning the Discovery Award in 2000. Since then many of his films have premiered in Toronto. He was back again this year with perhaps his most high-profile film to date. Starring Sandra Bullock and Billy Bob Thornton, Our Brand is Crisis is a fictional film based off a documentary of the same name about presidential candidates in Bolivia that hire American political strategists to help them win. The director is better here than in his last couple of films but it is Bullock who saves this one from being a complete letdown.
In addition to being one of the films we were most excited to see, Room ended up being the sleeper hit of the festival, selling out all of it’s Big Theatre shows, and winning the People’s Choice Award along the way, and with good reason. We’ve heard nothing but praise for the two main actors in this film – and if an Oscar nod doesn’t come their way it would be a shame. A celebration of love, this film is no-holds-barred emotional powerhouse, and one of the most affecting films we’ve all seen in a long time.
There comes a time in all our lives when we reflect on our past. We contemplate the decisions we’ve made, the mistakes, the losses we’ve suffered, and our happiness. Director Paolo Sorrentino, whose previous work The Great Beauty won the 2014 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, has returned with an elegant and humourous take on friendship, family, and aging presented with wisdom and grace.