Make time to see these flicks or feel forever disappointed. This is your definitive guide to what’s good at this year’s festival. 

By Marlys Klossner, All photos courtesy of TIFF

The Shape of Water


In 1962, a mute cleaning lady working at an American government laboratory discovers a creature that’s being experimented on, and starts communicating with it. With Guillermo del Toro at the helm, count on this dark fairy tale having themes that translate to modern issues.

Call Me By Your Name


While on a vacation with his family in Italy, a 17-year-old boy (Timothée Chalamet) falls for the student (Armie Hammer) who stays with them as his father’s research assistant. This sweet summer romance film is based on the novel of the same name by André Aciman.

The Breadwinner


Based on the novel by Deborah Ellis, this beautiful animated film chronicles a young Afghan girl’s journey to reunite her family after her father is unjustly arrested by the Taliban. The film is as much a celebration of family strength as it is a tribute to the power of storytelling.

Mary Shelley


The first female Saudi filmmaker, Haifaa Al Mansour, directs Elle Fanning and Douglas Booth in a biopic of Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein. The film tells the tale of Shelley’s tumultuous relationship with her husband, poet Percy Shelley, and how she came to pen one of the most influential gothic novels of all time.

Battle of the Sexes


Emma Stone and Steve Carell bring the laughs as they play tennis legends Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs in this comedic drama about the famous 1973 match, which was not just a competition between two players with different values, but a contest on a much bigger battleground.

A Fantastic Woman


Gloria director Sebastián Lelio brings us this portrait of a transgender woman (played by transgender actor Daniela Vega Hernández) as she struggles with the death of her middle-aged partner and the everyday prejudices trans people face.

Suburbicon


Directed by George Clooney, penned by the Coen brothers, and starring Matt Damon, Julianne Moore and Oscar Isaac, this is one star-studded film. Suburbicon depicts a 1950s suburban family and their series of bad and occasionally bloody decisions.

The Hungry


This retelling of Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus is set in modern-day New Delhi. Political corruption and family politics come to a head during an extravagant wedding in this tale of greed and revenge.

Long Time Running


This documentary tells the story of the iconic Canadian band The Tragically Hip as they embark on their final tour in 2016, after lead singer Gord Downie was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. It culminates in their emotional final performance in Kingston, Ontario, which was broadcast live on CBC across the nation.

Kings


Kings, the first English film by Deniz Gamze Ergüven, the Turkish-French writer-director of Mustang, follows a foster mother (Halle Berry) in South Central Los Angeles, and an unlikely friend (Daniel Craig) as they search for her foster children during the riots following the Rodney King trial.