Toronto Film Fest 2022: Buzzy, Eagerly Awaited Movies–For One Reason or Another

Spielberg ‘The Fabelmans,’ Viola Davis ‘The Woman King’: 10 Buzzy Toronto Movies

TIFF Film Festival Preview The Swimmers
Glass Onion: Netflix; The Woman King: Ilze Kitshoff/Sony Pictures; The Swimmers/Sidney: TIFF;
After two years of virtual events or limited-capacity premieres, Toronto festival returns in big fashion, with more than 250 films expected to screen during the 10-day event.
Causeway (A24/Apple Original Films)

Though Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence had juicy supporting role in Adam McKay’s disaster comedy “Don’t Look Up” last year, the film was inconsequential. The former Katniss Everdeen has not had major part since the “Mother!” and “Red Sparrow” (in 2017 and 2018, respectively). She returns in earnest with Causeway, a tale of a soldier with traumatic brain injury trying to readjust to normal life.

Sam Mendes crafts an ode to the power of movies with this story of a cinema ticket-taker (Olivia Colman) who finds herself drawn to new employee (Michael Ward). Colman, who has won an Oscar and scored two other nominations in the last four years, is always arresting, but word is that Ward, so memorable in Steve McQueen’s Small Axe: Lover’s Rock, is the big revelation.

Mendes and longtime collaborator Roger Deakins (Skyfall, 1917) spin the kind of unforgettable images that demand to be seen on the widest screen possible.

The Fablemans (Universal Pictures)

In this autobiopic, Spielberg goes back to his early days as a movie-obsessed kid in Arizona.

“The Fabelmans” is the most personal film yet from the maestro behind “Schindler’s List” and “Jaws,” and it looks to be a hot ticket at this year’s fest — the first time Spielberg has premiered one of his films there.

Multiple Oscar nominee Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, Seth Rogen and Judd Hirsch comprise the ensemble cast, with music by composer John Williams, who came out of retirement for one last ride with his favorite director. In an interview, Williams said the film is about “the muchness of life.”

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Story (Netflix)

“Knives Out,” Rian Johnson’s sly update of whodunit, was a sensation when it premiered at TIFF in 2018. Now, the co-conspirators reunite for “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Story,” which finds Daniel Craig’s detective, Benoit Blanc, trying to solve another murder.

Netflix, which paid $450 million for the rights to this film and another Blanc mystery, is distributing, but TIFF audiences will see it before it streams in December. “Glass Onion” finds Blanc moving to Greece, where he tangles with all kinds of suspects played by Edward Norton, Kate Hudson, Leslie Odom Jr., and Janelle Monáe.

The Menu (Searchlight Pictures)

This horror-comedy with Ralph Fiennes as sinister celebrity chef is serving up a pitch-black dish. But the story of group of wealthy guests gathering for molecular gastronomy is not all scares and laughs; the film also offers up social commentary with its look at how the 1% dine … and die.

The impressive ensemble that includes Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicholas Hoult, Hong Chau and Janet McTeer.

Can Harry Styles carry a movie on his solid shoulders? In “My Policeman,” he stars as closeted police officer in 1950s Britain. His character is forced to marry a librarian (Emma Corrin), but his heart belongs to David Dawson’s museum curator.

The film provides devastating look at the prejudice that gay men faced and the pressures they were forced to mask their identities.

Sidney (Apple Original Films)

Reginald Hudlin’s documentary about the late Sidney Poitier debuts just 8 months after the icon’s death. As such, it should offer a potent reminder of his barrier-breaking legacy. Made with the participation of Poitier and the support of his family, the documentary aims to capture the scope of his pioneering career as an actor and director, while showcasing his work as activist.

The Swimmers (Netflix)

When Sally El Hosaini’s refugee drama The Swimmers was announced as opening night, there was sense that Toronto finally might begin with serious awards contender. Based on screenplay by “My Brother the Devil” helmer El Hosaini and Jack Thorne (“The Eddy”), “The Swimmers” tells the true story of sisters Yusra and Sarah Mardini, whose talent as swimmers took them on a journey as refugees from war-torn Syria. The Mardini sisters are the real-life superheroes the movies need right now as uplifting inspiration.

The Whale (A24)

Brendan Fraser, decades removed from his Mummy and “George of the Jungle” superstardom, reemerges with this story of reclusive man living with severe obesity and his efforts to reconnect with his estranged daughter. The indie drama was directed by Darren Aronofsky, who turned 2008’s The Wrestler into a similar showcase for Mickey Rourke, who won an Oscar nomination. If the early buzz on The Whale is right, Fraser could belong to that elite too.

The Woman King (Sony Pictures/TriStar)

Gina Prince-Bythewood shows the true story of the Agojie, a troupe of warrior women who defended the African kingdom of Dahomey in the 19th century. Little has been written about these women, and if not for the film, their strength and sisterhood could’ve been lost forever. Instead, Prince-Bythewood presents an action-packed cinematic experience with the help of an immensely talented ensemble cast including Viola Davis, Adrienne Warren and John Boyega.