The 42 nd Toronto film festival was notable for its strong explain of female geniu not least an lovable coming-of-age comedy directed by Greta Gerwig
It may not have the glamour and appreciation of moment of Cannes, the romance of Venice or the boutique cliquishness of Telluride, but for sheer publication and scope, the Toronto international movie 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 films fewer than previous instalments ), Toronto is a monster of an event.
This entails several acts. The first, and least accepted, of these is queues. Miles of them, snaking around the streets of the city for cubes and managed by methods 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 introduces us to the second point: the sheer number of buzz entitlements. The timing of Toronto and its sizing means that it is an ideal platform on which to test whether a prestige designation has the legs to make it a competitor in the awards race.
Early shows suggest that it’s going to be another hard-fought battle in the best actress category, with a capital of meaty, female-driven narrations. And the crowd-pleasing Battle of the Sexes , the latest from the Little Miss Sunshine guiding duo of Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton, is top of the list. Starring Emma Stone as tennis actor Billie Jean King, the cinema tells the story of the much-publicised 1973 tennis match between King and ex-champion, and self-proclaimed male-chauvinist pig, 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 sexuality. Stone is terrific, committing King a steely sweetness and a disarming vulnerability. And while some of the overt antediluvian sexism from the commentators sucked audible gasp from the audience, the topics- equal compensate and equal opportunities for women, LGBT acceptance in sport- persist depressingly timely.
Another powerhouse female make comes from Jessica Chastain, playing the eponymous central character in Aaron Sorkin’s directorial introduction, Molly’s Game . This is pretty much the archetypal Sorkin project- a slick firework exhibition of showy exchange and jostling ideas and a central reputation with a fun that Chastain exerts like a flick knife. Based on a real-life reputation, Molly is a former Olympic-standard skier made hostess of unlicensed, high-stakes poker games, who obtains herself at the center 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 film has a crackling force and propulsive drive.