Toronto 2019: What To Watch At TIFF

As the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival kicks off this Thursday and runs through the following Sunday, there are a number of films I’m looking to watch.

Not accounting for short films, there are 90 films on my Toronto shortlist.  I’m just one person and don’t have the capacity to clone myself.  I can’t possibly cover everything but got a head start before the fest with a number of screeners.


  • Abominable: One of many films that I am trying to fit into my schedule. The film is among the many installments of the non-shared Sasquatch and Yeti Cinematic Universe.
  • The Aeronauts
  • A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
  • Blackbird: Hoping to fit this one in.
  • Clemency: Okay, I saw the film at Sundance but you should see the Grand Jury Prize winner if possible.
  • Ford v Ferrari: While Jojo Rabbit is one of my most anticipated movies this fall, you can never discount a film starring Christian Bale. He’s one of the greatest living actors of my lifetime.  I can’t wait to see the new film from James Mangold especially after the buzz following the world premiere at Telluride.
  • The Goldfinch: I’m STILL trying to find room in my schedule.  There are a few films that I’m looking at seeing on Tuesday and this is one of them.  If I can’t see the film during TIFF, I’ll see it on the Sunday following my return to Chicago.
  • Harriet
  • Honey Boy: Again, another Sundance hit that you need to see.  Shia LaBeouf gives one of the best performances in his career.
  • Joker: I’ve been going back and forth on this especially with the online discussion over the weekend following the Venice premiere.  I’m likely to just wait for the film’s pre-release press screening.
  • Just Mercy
  • Western Stars: Unfortunately for everybody leaving Toronto during the first weekend, the new Bruce Springsteen film doesn’t premiere until September 12th.  It’s going to be one of the final films I see on the ground.


  • American Son
  • Bad Education
  • Clifton Hill
  • The Friend
  • Guest of Honour
  • How to Build a Girl
  • I Am Woman
  • Jojo Rabbit
  • Judy
  • Knives Out
  • Jungleland
  • The Laundromat
  • The Lighthouse
  • Lucy in the Sky
  • Marriage Story
  • Mosul: This one is currently a maybe.
  • The Other Lamb
  • Pain and Glory
  • Pelican Bird
  • The Personal History of David Copperfield
  • The Report: I saw this during Sundance. Annette Bening deserves an Oscar nomination while Kylo Ren, I mean Adam Driver, isn’t too shabby either.
  • Seberg
  • Uncut Gems
  • Waves: This may be a case of not being able to fit it in but the film already has a release.

There are a countless number of Special Presentations featured in the program.  I can’t fit everyone into my schedule.  The big Netflix film that I’m definitely seeing will be Marriage Story.  I have no doubt that their other releases will screen closer to release.  Take The Laundromat for example.  Great cast but again, it’s coming out later in the month.  I’ve been a fan of Shailene Woodley’s work for a while and I was able to find room for Endings, Beginnings but it means not being able to watch Dads.  My schedule is always subject to change especially if a film gets bad buzz or if I accidentally sleep in (This happened twice last year).  Anybody remember Life Itself from last year?


  • The Barefoot Emperor
  • Castle in the Ground: I’m debating attending the premiere because the other screening on my schedule has secured distribution.
  • The Father
  • Incitement
  • Knuckle City
  • The Last Porno Show
  • Nobadi
  • Tammy’s Always Dying:  Watch for my interview with director Amy Jo Johnson tomorrow morning!
  • White Lie


  • 1982
  • The Audition
  • Calm With Horses
  • Hope
  • Love Me Tender
  • Murmur
  • The Rest of Us
  • Sea Fever

There may be a few more here but it’s all schedule pending.  Sea Fever wasn’t even on my radar until the film’s publicist sent an email.


At press time, only Jordan River Anderson, The Messenger is on my list in this category of films.  I know many people are rushing to see the new Terrence Malick film, A Hidden Life, for almost 3 hours.  I’m going to wait until closer to release for that film


I don’t know how often a film premieres during the Slamdance Film Festival and goes on to screen during TIFF.  What I do know is that I first watched The Vast of Night prior to Slamdance as an online screener.  I’m so looking forward to seeing Andrew Patterson’s work on the big screen.  Both Jake Horowitz and Sierra McCormick crush it in this one.  I can’t wait to finish my second TIFF by watching it with an audience.  Please remember Andrew’s name because he’s certainly a filmmaker to watch.  While I didn’t get to speak with Andrew during Slamdance, I did get to speak with Jake, Sierra, and producer Adam Dietrich.


At press time, Proxima is the only one on my list that I can fit in.  I have an interest in both My Zoe and The Moneychanger but scheduling everything isn’t easy.


  • The Capote Tapes
  • The Cave
  • Collective
  • Coppers
  • Dads
  • Letter to the Editor
  • There’s Something in the Water
  • This Is Not a Movie

I’m going to get to a large number of these but I’m not too sure if I’ll get to cover them all.


Happy Endings and SNL star Casey Wilson makes her directorial debut with Daddio. I’m not covering as many short films as I do in prior festivals but Wilson’s is one of few to make the cut.  It’s a fascinating approach to how different members of a family approach grief.  The film also has a star-studded comedy ensemble so you can’t go wrong there.


If I can find a way to fit it into my Toronto schedule let alone get a ticket, I’m going to attend the one with Oscar winner Allison Janney.  Unfortunately, I’m allotted ten tickets as a member of the press.  If you followed me during this year’s Sundance Film Festival, you ought to know how spoiled I got from having a Press Express badge.


There’s a lot going on in Toronto especially during the first weekend.  Take a walk down Festival Street for the photo ops, listen to music or watch free moviesAmy Jo Johnson will be giving a talk on the OLG Dream Deck.  Meanwhile, director Drake Doremus and Shailene Woodley will also be giving a talk to discuss Endings, Beginnings.

The 2019 Toronto International Film Festival runs September 5-15, 2019.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.