Must-See Films of Fall 2017

The Toronto International Film Festival

Gary Oldman plays Winston Churchill in "Darkest Hour"

Photos courtesy of TIFF


The 2017 Toronto International Film Festival is just days away (September 7–17) and, while it’s a bit late to plan a visit, you certainly still could, especially if the goal is to go for a day and not worry about overnight accommodations.

However, whether you are hitting TIFF17 or not, it’s still worth taking a close look at the announced films. (TIFF made its first batch of announcements on July 25, but more films will be added right up until festival time.) After all, the lineup is an indicator of what we can expect to see in Western New York cinemas in the months to come.

It’s difficult to discern whether there is a La La Land or Moonlight in the bunch. But finding out is going to be a blast. Here are fifteen TIFF entries that need to be on your radar.

Battle of the Sexes: It’s hard to think of a more compelling pair than Steve Carell and La La Land Oscar winner Emma Stone. Battle is even more enticing when you hear that the actors play Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King, respectively.

Breathe: On paper, Breathe looks like a run-of-the-mill tearjerker about love in the face of disease. But the director (Planet of the Apes and Lord of the Rings star Andy Serkis) and stars (Andrew Garfield and The Crown’s Claire Foy) make this one to watch.

Call Me By Your Name: This story of the love between a seven-teen-year-old and his father’s summer research assistant was one of the most acclaimed films to screen at January’s Sundance Film Festival.

The Current War: Sherlock himself, Benedict Cumberbatch, stars as Thomas Edison in this biopic about the race for sustainable electricity. Michael Shannon plays George Westinghouse.

Darkest Hour: The great Gary Oldman has never won an Oscar, but Darkest Hour could change that. The Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy star is nearly unrecognizable as Winston Churchill in this World War II drama.

Downsizing: Matt Damon is a man who decides to shrink himself in a sci-fi satire from Nebraska and The Descendants director Alexander Payne.

Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool: Another star who has shockingly never snagged an Oscar is Annette Bening. She’ll be back in the awards conversation thanks to Liverpool, in which she plays Hollywood star Gloria Grahame.

I, Tonya: Margot Robbie was the best thing about the dreary Suicide Squad. But can she succeed in making us feel for Tonya Harding? We’ll find out.

Mary Shelley: The Frankenstein author is the subject of a biopic starring Elle Fanning. Shelley is a compelling figure, and that means this film will garner some attention.

Professor Marston & the Wonder Woman: The world went mad for Wonder Woman this summer, and rightfully so. The time is right, then, for a film about the man who created the superhero, William Moulton Marston. Beauty and the Beast’s Luke Evans stars.

The Shape of Water: This Cold War love story centered around a Creature from the Black Lagoon-style amphibious man is the latest from Pan’s Labyrinth filmmaker Guillermo del Toro.

Stronger: Jeff Bauman lost his legs in the tragic Boston Marathon bombing. He’s played here by Jake Gyllenhaal.

Suburbicon: George Clooney directs a 1950s-set noir ensemble featuring Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, and Oscar Isaac. Joel and Ethan Coen (Fargo, No Country for Old Men) wrote the script.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri: Speaking of Fargo, that film’s star, Frances McDormand, plays a grieving mother in this dark drama co-starring Woody Harrelson.

Untitled Bryan Cranston/Kevin Hart Film: Nope, that’s not the title; this remake of the French blockbuster The Intouchables is not titled yet. What really intrigues is the pairing of Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart, along with the presence of co-star Nicole Kidman.

Visit for more info on the Toronto International Film Festival. And if you’re planning a visit to the festival, make sure to hit for a rundown of what’s happening elsewhere in the city.


Christopher Schobert is covering TIFF17 for Buffalo Spree and




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