Toronto International Film Festival 2018 / by Didier Young

Another year, another TIFF ended. This was my third year attending the Toronto International Film Festival, a star-studded week and a half where red carpets are rolled, Five- Star hotels are fully booked and where the Toronto population gets the chance to catch a glimpse of Hollywood. Furthermore, it gives the media a taste of the award seasons to come, with many of the Oscar contenders debuting at the Canadian film festival. With over three hundred films being showcased over eleven days, the audience then has the chance to vote for their favourite movie which ends up winning the Grolsch People’s Choice award.

I was lucky enough to catch three movies this year: Tom Harper’s Wild Rose, Xavier Dolan’s english debut with The Life and Death of John. H. Donovan and Wash Westmoreland’s Colette. I recall growing up and thinking that all the Academy nominated movies were a bore (except the animated features obviously) but I have definitely developed a liking over time. Wild Rose was a lovely indie movie featuring the always amazing Julie Walters and follows the steps of a young aspiring Country singer fresh out of jail in Glassgow. The movie reminded us that taking on responsibilities doesn't automatically equate to a loss of hope or shattered dreams and that sometimes the dreams that we are following are right under our noses. Colette was a biopic of the acclaimed French writer and featured the enchanting Keira Knightley which showcased the quiet transformation of a young country girl into a woman of the World.

The best attribute of the TIFF movies is their subject matter. They often choose to narrate subjects that may be hard to stomach or open up conversations about topics that may not be broadly discussed. Of course, everyone can perceive each of those films in a different way as it is often fairly open to interpretation. The Life and Death of John. H. Donovan was an eye opener to me as it dealt with media and how we are often so exposed to the public and yet we may be scared to showcase some aspects of our personal lives simply out of fear of what others might say. I feel that we can all relate to that subject to a certain extent. After all, most of us are members of social platforms and whether you have a hundred or a million followers, there are things that we might be scared of sharing due to a perceived potential reaction from our followers. Perhaps we are scared of losing followers, of decreased engagement on the post or perhaps we simply personally feel that people won’t truly love us if we were to unveil our true selves. That we wouldn't be accepted for our flaws and instead rejected for our weaknesses. We are the bearers of our own fates and we get to make the choices that will truly set us free and sometimes that simply starts with inner acceptance.

This year’s major winners were Green Book, If Beale Street Could Talk and Roma but I am most definitely excited to see A Star Is Born. How about you guys? What are the next movies you are most excited about?

-Didier