The 42 nd Toronto film festival was notable for a very strong manifest of female knack not least an lovable coming-of-age comedy directed by Greta Gerwig
It may not have the glamour and appreciation of party of Cannes, the romance of Venice or the boutique cliquishness of Telluride, but for sheer publication and scope, the Toronto international cinema 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 necessitates various things. The first, and least accepted, of these is queues. Miles of them, snaking around the streets of the city for stymies and managed by organisations 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 returns us to the second point: the sheer number of chatter titles. The timing of Toronto and its width means that it is an ideal platform on which to test whether a statu claim has the legs to make it a contender in the awardings race.
Early express suggest that it’s going to be another hard-fought duel in best available actress category, with a abundance of meaty, female-driven stories. And the crowd-pleasing Battle of the Sexes , the most recent from the Little Miss Sunshine sending 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 accord 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 ), was necessary to periods with her own sexuality. Stone is terrific, affording King a steely sweetness and a disarming vulnerability. And although some of the overt antediluvian sexism from the commentators attracted audible gasps from the gathering, the topics- equal salary and equal opportunities for women, LGBT acceptance in boast- persist depressingly timely.
Another powerhouse female make comes from Jessica Chastain, playing the eponymous central role in Aaron Sorkin’s directorial introduction, Molly’s Game . This is pretty much the archetypal Sorkin project- a slick firework flaunt of showy exchange and jostling ideas and a prime reputation with a humour that Chastain swings like a switchblade knife. Based on a real-life persona, Molly is a former Olympic-standard skier passed hostess of unlicensed, high-stakes poker games, who discovers herself at the center of an FBI investigation. While Sorkin indulges in a few too many self-congratulatory segues and prosper, as long as Chastain is on screen- and she’s rarely off- the movie has a crackling vigor and propulsive drive.