The 42 nd Toronto film festival was notable for its strong present of female ability not least an charming coming-of-age humor directed against Greta Gerwig
It may not have the glamour and gumption of party of Cannes, the romance of Venice or the boutique cliquishness of Telluride, but for sheer capacity and scope, the Toronto international cinema celebration( 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 signifies several occasions. The first, and least accepted, of these is queues. Miles of them, snaking around the streets of the city for obstructs and managed by structures that border on the Kafkaesque. Punters join them automatically, sometimes without knowing what they are waiting for. But the queues are there for a rationale, which accompanies us to the second point: the sheer number of buzz entitles. The timing of Toronto and its size means that it is an ideal platform on which to test whether a cachet entitle has the legs to make it a contender in the awardings race.
Early express suggest that it’s going to be another hard-fought battle in best available actress category, with a affluence of meaty, female-driven narrations. And the crowd-pleasing Battle of the Sexes , the most recent from the Little Miss Sunshine directing duo of Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton, is top of the list. Starring Emma Stone as tennis player Billie Jean King, the film tells the story of the much-publicised 1973 tennis equal between King and ex-champion, and self-proclaimed male-chauvinist animal, 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 words with her own virility. Stone is terrific, affording King a steely sweetness and a disarming vulnerability. And while some of the overt antediluvian sexism from the commentators drew audible gasps from the gathering, the topics- equal spend and equal opportunities for women, LGBT acceptance in boast- stand 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 exchange and jostling ideas and a central attribute with a fun that Chastain swings like a switchblade knife. Based on a real-life reference, Molly is a former Olympic-standard skier made hostess of unlicensed, high-stakes poker games, who ascertains herself at the center 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 movie has a crackling intensity and propulsive drive.