Albert Nobbs Rodrigo Garcia, World Premiere – A witty Irish-set period drama about the lives of staff at Dublin's most luxurious hotel: the illegitimate child of a maid, a beautiful couple's impossible love, and Albert… a woman who pretends to be a man to survive. Nineteenth century Ireland: for a woman to be independent and single, she must deceive everyone — by pretending to be a man. Albert, a shy butler who keeps to himself, has been hiding a deep secret for years — 'he' is a woman who has had to behave as a man all her life in order to escape a life of poverty and loneliness. When a handsome painter Hubert Page arrives at the hotel, Albert is inspired to try and escape the false life she has created for herself. She gathers her nerve to court beautiful, saucy young maid Helen in whom she thinks she's found a companion - but Helen's eye is on a new arrival: handsome, bad-boy Joe, the new handy-man. As Albert dares to hope that she might one day live a normal life, we catch a glimpse of a free-spirited woman who is caught in the wrong time… Stars Glenn Close.
Butter Jim Field Smith, World Premiere – Set in the highly competitive world of championship butter carving, Butter blends social commentary, outrageous comedy and heartfelt drama in telling the story of the ambitious Laura Pickler (Jennifer Garner), the self-anointed First Lady of Butter Carving. Refusing to accept that her husband (Ty Burrell) wants to step down after his 15-year run as the “Iowa State Butter Carving Champion,” and therefore end the Pickler family's reign in the spotlight, Laura takes a stab at the title herself. But her bid for glory is complicated when two unlikely contestants enter the race — one, her husband's hard-living mistress (Olivia Wilde), and the other a 10-year-old foster child named Destiny (Yara Shahidi). Enlisting the help of her high school sweetheart, Boyd (Hugh Jackman), Laura will stop at nothing to be crowned champion, even if it means resorting to sabotage. Part political satire, part Capra-esque comedy, Butter is a story about what it means to win at all costs and against all odds.
A Dangerous Method David Cronenberg, North American Premiere – On the eve of World War I, Zurich and Vienna are the setting for a dark tale of sexual and intellectual discovery. Drawn from true-life events, A Dangerous Method takes a glimpse into the turbulent relationships between fledgling psychiatrist Carl Jung, his mentor Sigmund Freud and Sabina Spielrein, the troubled but beautiful young woman who comes between them. Into the mix comes Otto Gross, a debauched patient who is determined to push the boundaries. In this exploration of sensuality, ambition and deceit set the scene for the pivotal moment when Jung, Freud and Sabina come together and split apart, forever changing the face of modern thought. Starring Michael Fassbender, Viggo Mortensen and Keira Knightley.
A Happy Event Rémi Bezancon, World Premiere – She turned my life upside-down, drove me into a corner, pushed me beyond my limits. She taught me about self-renouncement, tenderness and sacrifice in their most extreme forms.” “Why didn't my mother ever tell me? Why doesn't anyone ever mention this?” A Happy Event breaks the taboo of pregnancy through the tragicomic diary of a young woman who becomes a mother. Stars Louise Bourgoin.
Photo: Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF)
Michelle Yeoh as Aung San Suu Kyi, The Lady
The Ides of March George Clooney [also to be seen in The Descendants], North American Premiere – The Ides of March takes place during the frantic last days before a heavily contested Ohio presidential primary, when an up-and-coming campaign press secretary (Ryan Gosling) finds himself involved in a political scandal that threatens to upend his candidate's shot at the presidency. Also starring George Clooney, Paul Giamatti and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
The Lady Luc Besson, World Premiere – The Lady is the extraordinary story of Aung San Suu Kyi and her husband, Michael Aris. It is also the story of the peaceful quest of the woman who is at the core of Burma's democracy movement. Despite distance, long separations, and a dangerously hostile regime, their love endures until the very end. It's a story of devotion and human understanding set against a backdrop of political turmoil that continues today. The Lady was written over a period of three years by Rebecca Frayn. Interviews with key figures in Aung San Suu Kyi's entourage enabled her to reconstruct for the first time the true story of Burma's national heroine. Stars Michelle Yeoh and David Thewlis.
Moneyball Bennett Miller, World Premiere – Based on a true story, Moneyball stars Brad Pitt as Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland As and the guy who assembles the team, who has an epiphany: all of baseball's conventional wisdom is wrong. Forced to reinvent his team on a tight budget, Beane will have to outsmart the richer clubs. The onetime jock teams with Ivy League grad Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) in an unlikely partnership, recruiting bargain players that the scouts call flawed, but all of whom have an ability to get on base, score runs, and win games. It's more than baseball, it's a revolution — one that challenges old school traditions and puts Beane in the crosshairs of those who say he's tearing out the heart and soul of the game.
Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding Bruce Beresford, World Premiere – Directed by two-time Academy Award nominated Bruce Beresford, Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding stars Academy Award-winning Jane Fonda, two-time Academy Award-nominated Catherine Keener, international heartthrob Chace Crawford, and Sundance's breakout star Elizabeth Olsen. The film is a comedy about an uptight New York City lawyer who takes her two spirited teenagers to her hippie mother's farmhouse in the countryside for a family vacation. What was meant to be a weekend getaway quickly turns into a summer adventure of romance, music, family secrets, and self-discovery.
Take this Waltz Sarah Polley, World Premiere – Swelteringly hot, bright and colourful like a bowl of fruit, Take this Waltz leads us laughing through the familiar, but uncharted question of what long-term relationships do to love, sex, and our images of ourselves. Starring Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen and Luke Kirby.
W.E. Madonna, North American Premiere – W.E. is a romantic exploration of the mysterious connection across decades between two women confronting the consequences of desire. Caught in a loveless Manhattan marriage, abused and frustrated Wally (Abbie Cornish) obsesses over Wallis Simpson (Andrea Riseborough), the stylish American divorcee who captured the heart of Edward the VIII (James D'Arcy) who abdicated the throne as King of England. As the Duchess of Windsor, Wallis spends the rest of her life in the glare of celebrity exile. Inspired by the Duchess' determination to pursue love in the face of social exile, Wally escapes into the arms of another man (Oscar Isaac) whose love sets her free. Madonna and a world class team of collaborators present a passionate tale of the search for love and the meaning of happiness. W.E. (for Wallis and Edward, forever entwined in the love story of the 20th century) is a rich, cinematic portrayal of two strong women resolved to find romance.
Photo: Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF)
Coriolanus – Ralph Fiennes, North American Premiere – Coriolanus (Ralph Fiennes), a hero of Rome, is a great soldier but despises the people. His extreme views ignite a mass riot and he is banished from Rome. Coriolanus allies with a sworn enemy (Gerard Butler) to take his revenge on the city.
Drive – Nicolas Winding Refn, Canadian Premiere – Ryan Gosling stars as a Los Angeles wheelman for hire, stunt driving for movie productions by day and steering getaway vehicles for armed heists by night. Though a loner by nature, Driver can't help falling in love with his beautiful neighbour Irene (Carey Mulligan), a vulnerable young mother dragged into a dangerous underworld by the return of her ex-convict husband Standard (Oscar Isaac). After a heist intended to pay off Standard's protection money spins unpredictably out of control, Driver finds himself driving defence for the girl he loves, tailgated by a syndicate of deadly serious criminals (Albert Brooks and Ron Perlman).
Dark Horse – Todd Solondz, North American Premiere – A thirty-something guy with arrested development (Justin Bartha) falls for a thirtysomething girl with arrested development (Selma Blair), but moving out of his junior high school bedroom proves too much and tragedy ensues.
The Deep Blue Sea – Terence Davies, World Premiere – Hester Collyer (Academy Award-winner Rachel Weisz) leads a privileged life in 1950s London as the beautiful wife of high court judge Sir William Collyer (Simon Russell Beale). To the shock of those around her, she walks out on her marriage to move in with young ex-RAF pilot, Freddie Page (Tom Hiddleston), with whom she has fallen passionately in love.
A Better Life – Cédric Kahn, World Premiere – Yann, a cook, and Nadia, a waitress and mother of nine-year-old child, decide to risk everything on the purchase of a restaurant. With plenty of talent, energy, love and dreams, but no finances of their own, they find themselves forced into a jungle of financing and bank loans that quickly overwhelms them. To bail them out, Nadia has to take a job in Canada, while Yann is forced to stay behind to save the restaurant. Together, he and the child confront a relentless avalanche of creditors, an uncaring system and the daily grind from which there is no respite. Yann finally understands that his only chance of salvation lies in joining his lover - as well as reuniting mother and child - by following Nadia to Canada and a better life. Stars Guillaume Canet, Leïla Bekhti and Slimane Ketthabi.
Burning Man – Jonathan Teplitzky, World Premiere – Why is Tom behaving so badly? Six women and an eight-year-old boy are fighting, in very different ways, to help. But for Tom, it seems, there are no rules. Burning Man is the reckless, provocative and moving story of a father and son's journey back to happiness. Stars Matthew Goode and Rachel Griffiths.
Headhunters – Morten Tyldum, North American Premiere – Roger (Aksel Hennie) is a successful Headhunter. But he lives above his means and steals art on the side. When introduced to Clas Greve (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), Roger starts planning his biggest theft ever. But Roger runs into trouble and it's not financial problems that are threatening to knock him over this time…
Hick – Derick Martini, World Premiere – Tired of fending for herself and her mother's penchant for hard-drinking men and barroom drama, 13-year-old Luli hits the road on her own, heading west to realize her dream of becoming a superstar. Among her travels she meets Eddie, a drifter with a chip on his shoulder, and Glenda, a troubled but spirited woman who takes Luli under her wing. Luli's quick wit, some help from Glenda, the mercurial Eddie, and her colourful daydreams help protect her from the incredibly unpredictable band of characters she encounters on her journey. Hick is a road picture about a young girl who comes face-to-face with the realities of just how complicated adulthood can be. Stars Blake Lively, Chloë Grace Moretz, Alec Baldwin, Juliette Lewis, Eddie Redmayne and Rory Culkin.
Photo: Toronto Film Festival (TIFF)
The Artist – Michel Hazanavicius, Toronto Premiere – Hollywood 1927. George Valentin is a very successful silent movie star. The arrival of talking pictures will mark the end of his career. Peppy Miller, a young woman extra, becomes a major movie star. Starring Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, Malcolm McDowell, James Cromwell and John Goodman.
Shame – Steve McQueen, North American Premiere – Brandon is a thirty-something man living in New York who is unable to manage his sex life. After his wayward younger sister moves into his apartment, Brandon's world spirals out of control. From director Steve McQueen (Hunger), Shame is a compelling and timely examination of the nature of need, how we live our lives and the experiences that shape us. Stars Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan, James Badge Dale and Nicole Beharie.
Jeff, Who Lives at Home – Jay and Mark Duplass, World Premiere – Jeff, Who Lives at Home stars Jason Segel, Ed Helms, Judy Greer and Susan Sarandon. Penned by the writer/director team of brothers Jay and Mark Duplass (Cyrus), this is the story of one man searching for the meaning of life while running to the store to buy wood glue. Using the universe as his guide, Jeff looks for signs to help determine his path. However, a series of comedic and unexpected events leads him to cross paths with his family in the strangest of locations and circumstances. Jeff just may find the meaning of his life… and if he's lucky, pick up the wood glue as well.
Anonymous – Roland Emmerich, World Premiere – Set in the political snake-pit of Elizabethan England, Anonymous speculates on an issue that has for centuries intrigued academics and brilliant minds, namely: who actually created the body of work credited to William Shakespeare? Experts have debated, books have been written, and scholars have devoted their lives to protecting or debunking theories surrounding the authorship of the most renowned works in English literature. Anonymous poses one possible answer, focusing on a time when scandalous political intrigue, illicit romances in Royal Court, and the schemes of greedy nobles lusting for the power of the throne were brought to light in the most unlikely of places: the London stage. Starring David Thewlis and Vanessa Redgrave.
The Skin I Live In – Pedro Almodóvar, North American Premiere – Ever since his wife was burned in a car crash, Dr. Robert Ledgard, an eminent plastic surgeon, has been interested in creating a new skin with which he could have saved her. After twelve years, he manages to cultivate a skin that is a real shield against every assault. In addition to years of study and experimentation, Robert needed a further three things: no scruples, an accomplice and a human guinea pig. Scruples were never a problem. Marilia, the woman who looked after him from the day he was born, is his most faithful accomplice. And as for the human guinea pig… Stars Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Blanca Suárez and Jan Cornet.
11 Flowers – Wang Xiaoshuai, World Premiere – Wang Han, an 11-year-old boy in the province of Ghizhou, is confronted by a runaway murderer hiding in the woods. The wounded man persuades Wang Han to help him out. Both frightened and fascinated, Wang Han and his friends promise to keep the man's whereabouts secret from the police even when strange things begin happening at school. Stars Liu Wenqing, Wang Jinchun and Yen Ni.
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen – Lasse Hallstrom, World Premiere – Stuffy government fisheries scientist Fred is asked by a fishing-obsessed Arab Sheik to do the seemingly impossible - introduce British salmon to the wadis of the Yemen. Despite considerable trepidation, Fred is finally won over by the charismatic Sheik, who reveals that fishing brings him closer to God, and he hopes it will have the same effect on his countrymen. Fred also begins to fall for the Sheik's beautiful legal representative Harriet; and so he rises to the Sheik's eccentric challenge, casting off his English reserve on a transformative journey of self discovery and late blooming love. Stars Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt.
Photo: Toronto Film Festival (TIFF)