TIFF 2022 coverage: upcoming releases to watch

Weird Al biopic and Steven Spielberg’s first appearance at TIFF among highlights 

Taking a chance on a film can reveal a hidden gem.
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Every September, the film industry sets its sights on Toronto. Featuring a wide variety of films, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) allows both the press and the public to watch the industry’s newest releases. Here are some of the highlights of the festival, all set to release within the next few months.

The Fabelmans

After providing the world with countless filmmaking innovations, Steven Spielberg’s newest film reflects on his childhood and what piqued his interest in filmmaking.

Acting as an autobiography in film form, The Fabelmans is a masterful family drama and Spielberg’s most personal project. Unapologetically cheesy and full of heart, it explores Spielberg’s childhood as he finds his passion with his family on the verge of drifting apart.

Beyond being about filmmaking The Fabelmans is a moving portrayal of family dysfunction and the pursuit of passion. This is further enhanced by powerful performances by Gabriel LaBelle, Paul Dano, and Michelle Williams.

Through its subject matter and execution, The Fabelmans reaffirms the importance of the moviegoing experience. This film exceeded all expectations and absolutely deserved the TIFF People’s Choice Award.

Now with 34 feature films under his belt, Spielberg still has it.

The Banshees of Inisherin

2017’s People’s Choice winner Martin McDonagh returned to TIFF with his newest drama/black comedy, once again proving he’s the master of making people question whether or not they should be laughing at what they’re watching.

Set in 1923 on a fictional island off the coast of Ireland, the film follows the abrupt ending of a lifelong friendship and its disturbing consequences.

Equal parts hilarious and uncomfortable, The Banshees of Inisherin reunites Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson for a unique film about friendship and loneliness. Emotionally complex and deliciously unpredictable, the film expertly balances drama and deadpan comedy. 

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story

Continuing the saga of Daniel Radcliffe starring in the weirdest movies possible—see Swiss Army Man and HornsWeird: The Al Yankovic Story is a movie whose title doesn’t disappoint. It’s an absurdly funny parody of musical biopics, and it most definitely is weird.

It’s fitting that the story of Weird Al, long-time writer of parody songs, is itself presented as a parody of musical biopics and their tropes. Co-written by Weird Al himself, the story takes creative liberties in telling his story that help it stand out from other Hollywood biopics.

From his first moment he’s onscreen, it’s clear Daniel Radcliffe is having fun with this role. His energy is infectious, and he was a great choice to play Weird Al.

Along with solid supporting performances by Evan Rachel Wood and Rainn Wilson, director Eric Appel delivers a crowd-pleasing comedy and a glorious celebration of weirdness.

Good Night Oppy

This film is a pleasant surprise. Informative, exciting, and even touching, Good Night Oppy is an incredible documentary by Ryan White.

The film follows Opportunity, a Mars rover which was only supposed to last 90 days, but instead lasted for 15 years, capturing the public’s interest and imagination in the process.

Not only does the film follow Oppy in a stunning CGI recreation of Mars, but it also follows the lives of the people who worked tirelessly to take exploration to its limits. We get to see how the team behind Oppy grew attached to the robot, and how the events of the mission coincided with their personal lives.

Overall, Good Night Oppy is a wonderful documentary, and an interesting exploration of human capability—both technologically and empathetically.

Sweet As

Partially inspired by herchildhood, director Jub Clerc’s Sweet As is a tender coming-of-age story and an impressive feature debut.

The film follows Murra, a 15-year-old Indigenous girl in western Australia as she embarks on a week-long photography trip to escape her home life. Initially unenthusiastic, she slowly begins to express herself through photography and finds herself bonding with her company on the trip.

Shantae Barnes-Cowan delivers an excellent performance as Murra. Combined with a strong ensemble cast and great character moments throughout, Sweet As feels personal and authentic to real life.

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Overall, TIFF 2022 provided a good look at some of the year’s most anticipated releases, including The Fabelmans, The Banshees of Inisherin, and Weird: The Al Yankovic Story.

While it’s exciting to watch these anticipated releases early, films like Good Night Oppy and Sweet As show the fun of film festivals can also be taking a chance, watching something you know nothing about and potentially discovering a hidden gem.

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