Under different circumstances, the Toronto International Film Festival transforms the city. There’s a buzz in the air as people fill the streets, rushing to their next movie or just hoping to run into, say, Michael B. Jordan, while getting coffee. And while this year’s festival won’t quite be running at full speed after nearly two years of pandemic-related closures, TIFF is back; different, but also not.
Sure, the fest also staged a miniature version last year, but it was necessarily restricted, with mostly digital screenings and nary a star-studded event in sight. Taking place from Sept. 9 to 18, the 2021 fête will also follow a similar hybrid IRL-virtual model, but will feel a bit more like the TIFF we are used to — following health and safety guidelines, of course. With information regarding the risks posed by the Delta variant changing rapidly, it’s possible that we may still see some alterations to the original plan before the start of the event. Digital screenings and drive-in alternatives remain, though Toronto moviegoers also (for now) have the option of returning to one of the theatres the festival usually takes over for in-person viewings. And, yes, the red carpet will be rolled out once again — though what that will look like is still TBD thanks to the constantly-evolving border situation, and the very in-flux schedules of Hollywood’s A-list. But we can count on at least a few celebs to show up.
The movie slate will also include over 100 films — making it smaller than pre-pandemic TIFFs, but far more robust than last year’s, when only 50 films screened. Which ones are you going to want to watch, and which ones will you not be able to escape come Oscars season? Read on to find out.