It wasn’t difficult to come up with the 10 Best Films Of TIFF 2023 this year because so many high-profile Telluride and Venice titles weren’t shown at TIFF. The year is shaping up to be a good one for films.
The Toronto International Film Festival is currently dealing with Hollywood writers’ and actors’ strikes, just a short time after it survived the COVID-19 pandemic. Who may attend festivals and promote films has been severely constrained by the ongoing SAG/AFTRA actor strike.
Not included on this list of best films of TIFF 2023 are excellent films such as Justine Triet’s Anatomy of a Fall, Catherine Breillat’s Last Summer, Victor Erice’s Close Your Eyes, Felipe Galvez’ The Settlers, Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s About Dry Grasses, Molly Manning Walker’s How to Have Sex, Aki Kaurismaki’s Fallen Leaves, and Jonathan Glazer’s The Zone of Interest.
Top 10 Best Films Of TIFF 2023
1. American Fiction
Cord Jefferson’s “American Fiction,” which won the People’s Choice Award, is a self-assured debut and a spectacular achievement in humour, satire, and racial politics with a career-best performance from Jeffrey Wright. The novel “Erasure,” which was adapted from Percival Everett’s work, provides a vital look at how well-intentioned white folks wish to see black people represented in the arts.
2. The Beast
It’s understandable why Betrand Bonello, a French provocateur, brought his most recent film to TIFF directly from a Venice premiere where it generated a lot of buzz on the Lido. The events in Bonello’s novel take place in three different time periods—1910, 2014, and 2044—so they cannot all be understood in one sitting. The movie reaches its zenith at the hour mark, when it begins to wander into Lynchian terrain when supermodels, stalkers, and Los Angeles collide in a never-before-seen kind of movie.
3. The Boy And The Heron
The most recent film from anime godhead tells the fable-like tale of a tween named Mahito who must undertake a hero’s journey and deal with the adult world. Hayao Miyazaki is an emblematic example of the Studio Ghibli phantasmagoria of bizarre images, cuddly to frightening creatures, exhilaration, grief, space, and emotional currents that run leagues deep.
4. Dream Scenario
This is a vicious parody of the cancel culture. Nicolas Cage pushes himself to funny and audaciously novel artistic heights in this movie. His Paul is an underachiever and a loser. As he begins to show up in people’s dreams, Paul begins to gain notoriety and ultimately infamy. The actor’s repertoire veers between the ridiculous and the deadpan with this hilarious drive. It’s the best performance he’s given in years.
5. His Three Daughters
In a cramped Manhattan apartment, three grown sisters drive each other crazy while their absent father suffers from cancer and is connected to a morphine drip in an adjacent bedroom. Carrie Coon, Elizabeth Olsen, and Natasha Lyonne are three excellent actresses who support Jacobs’ incredibly personal writing. They are all excellent, and the film’s resolution is surprisingly moving.
6. Hit Man, Best Films Of TIFF 2023
Glenn Powell’s portrayal of Gary Johnson in “Hit Man” is one to watch. Gary Johnson is a police staff investigator who pretends to be a hitman in order to catch people ordering a hit. Madison (Adria Arjona) ended up becoming his true love. Unexpectedly sexy noir from Linklater. As characters change identities and lies begin to stack up, it keeps playing with your head. Along with being morally dubious, it is also darkly humorous.
7. The Holdovers
Paul Giamatti has a beautiful portrayal as a cynical professor in a prep school in New England. His Paul Hunham is forced to remain on campus during Christmas break to babysit a brainy student. Even though it is done in a fairly conventional, comfort-food style, “The Holdovers” is Payne’s attempt to get back to the basics. Even if it’s not Payne’s best work, the movie is quite charming.
Michel Franco once again dazzled. Franco’s trademark melancholy is present in the drama starring Jessica Chastain and Peter Sarsgaard, both of whom are outstanding. He has dementia, she works in social services. However, this time, the drama has genuine heart. It’ll be one of the best films of the year, if only it can find distribution.
9. The Royal Hotel
Best friends Hanna (Julia Garner) and Liv (Jessica Henwick), backpackers in Australia who run out of money, decide to take a temporary live-in job behind the bar of a tavern called “The Royal Hotel” in a remote Outback mining town. “The Royal Hotel” is based on actual events. This movie is so full of threats that the word “tense” barely does it justice.
10. Woman Of The Hour, Best Films Of TIFF 2023
In a movie that Netflix paid the staggering sum of $11 million to acquire, kitschy ’70s pop culture and the serial killer subgenre meet. The fact that Kendrick’s directorial debut doesn’t fail is a small miracle because it is such a daring balancing act of black humour and hard-core thriller components. Daniel Zovatto portrays the serial killer with terrifying impact. If the narrative weren’t rooted in reality, it would be absurd.