The 42 nd Toronto film festival was notable for a very strong convey of female knack not least an charming coming-of-age slapstick directed against Greta Gerwig
It may not have the glamour and feel of reason of Cannes, the romance of Venice or the boutique cliquishness of Telluride, but for sheer volume and scope, the Toronto international movie gala( or Tiff, to give it its perkily approachable abbreviation) is hard to beat. Even having cut its programme by 20% this year( about 60 films fewer than previous instalments ), Toronto is a monster of an event.
This necessitates various events. The first, and least welcome, of these is queues. Miles of them, snaking around the streets of the city for bricks and be administered by organizations that border on the Kafkaesque. Punters join them automatically, sometimes without knowing what they are waiting for. But the queues are there for a reasonablenes, which creates us to the second point: the sheer number of buzz designations. The timing of Toronto and its sizing means that it is an ideal platform on which to test whether a prestige claim has the legs to make it a contender in the gives race.
Early marks suggest that it’s going to be another hard-fought battle in best available actress category, with a money of meaty, female-driven floors. And the crowd-pleasing Battle of the Sexes , the most recent from the Little Miss Sunshine leading duo of Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton, is top of the list. Starring Emma Stone as tennis player Billie Jean King, the movie tells the story of the much-publicised 1973 tennis competitor between King and ex-champion, and self-proclaimed male-chauvinist swine, Bobby Riggs( Steve Carell, all tragicomic bluster and condescension ). But more than that it’s a love story, in which King, hopelessly smitten with hairdresser Marilyn( Andrea Riseborough ), comes to periods with her own virility. Stone is terrific, demonstrating King a steely sweetness and a disarming vulnerability. And although some of the overt antediluvian sexism from the commentators described audible gasp from the gathering, the topics- equal offer and equal opportunities for women, LGBT acceptance in sport- remain depressingly timely.
Another powerhouse female lead comes from Jessica Chastain, playing the eponymous center capacity in Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut, Molly’s Game . This is pretty much the archetypal Sorkin project- a slick firework flaunt of showy talk and jostling ideas and a primary attribute with a witticism that Chastain wields like a switchblade knife. Based on a real-life character, Molly is a former Olympic-standard skier moved hostess of unlicensed, high-stakes poker games, who detects herself at the centre of an FBI investigation. While Sorkin gratifies in a few too many self-congratulatory segues and prosper, as long as Chastain is on screen- and she’s rarely off- the cinema has a crackling vitality and propulsive drive.