The 42 nd Toronto film festival was notable for its strong indicate of female talent not least an lovable coming-of-age humor directed by Greta Gerwig
It may not have the glamour and appreciation of opportunity of Cannes, the romance of Venice or the boutique cliquishness of Telluride, but for sheer capacity and scope, the Toronto international film carnival( or Tiff, to give it its perkily approachable abbreviation) is hard to beat. Even having cut its programme by 20% this year( about 60 movies fewer than previous instalments ), Toronto is a monster of an event.
This intends several stuffs. 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 arrangements that border on the Kafkaesque. Punters join them automatically, sometimes without knowing what they are waiting for. But the queues are there for a intellect, which brings us to the second point: the sheer number of sound claims. The timing of Toronto and its sizing means that it is an ideal platform on which to test whether a statu designation has the legs to make it a hopeful in the accolades race.
Early clues suggest that it’s going to be another hard-fought battle in the best actress category, with a capital of meaty, female-driven storeys. And the crowd-pleasing Battle of the Sexes , the latest from the Little Miss Sunshine steering duo of Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton, is top of the list. Starring Emma Stone as tennis musician Billie Jean King, the cinema tells the story of the much-publicised 1973 tennis equal between King and ex-champion, and self-proclaimed male-chauvinist boar, 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 terms with her own virility. Stone is terrific, giving King a steely sweetness and a disarming vulnerability. And while some of the overt antediluvian sexism from the commentators attracted audible gasps from the gathering, the themes- equal repay and equal opportunities for women, LGBT acceptance in play- persist depressingly timely.
Another powerhouse female induce comes from Jessica Chastain, playing the eponymous center role in Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut, Molly’s Game . This is pretty much the archetypal Sorkin project- a slick firework spectacle of showy exchange and jostling ideas and a primary reputation with a fun that Chastain exerts like a switchblade knife. Based on a real-life reputation, Molly is a former Olympic-standard skier shifted hostess of unlicensed, high-stakes poker games, who notices herself at the centre of an FBI investigation. While Sorkin revels in a few too many self-congratulatory segues and flourishes, as long as Chastain is on screen- and she’s rarely off- the cinema has a crackling energy and propulsive drive.