13 Must-See Films at TIFF 2022

This year's Toronto International Film Festival brings the "Weird Al" biopic, the latest from Steven Spielberg and a pile of music docs

Photo courtesy of TIFF

BY Alex HudsonPublished Sep 7, 2022

After a couple of pared-down years focused on digital screenings, the Toronto International Film Festival is back in full force, running from September 8 to 18. With celebs rolling into town for in-person appearances and a huge slate of premieres for hyped films, TIFF isn't so much making up for lost time as it is getting right back to what it's always done.

Famously, there's a distinct correlation between films that win TIFF's People's Choice Award and then go on to win big at the Oscars a few months later — so this year's festival could offer a glimpse at a future Best Picture winner, or maybe just your new cult fave.

The festival's lineup can be overwhelmingly huge, so we've singled out 13 must-see films coming to TIFF 2022, including the new films from mega-directors like Steven Spielberg and Rian Johnson and some very promising Canadian indie releases.

Directed by Nicholas Stoller

Billy Eichner stars (and is a cowriter) in this "anti-rom-com," about an unemotionally unavailable cynic who unexpectedly finds a deeper connection. As I type it out, that synopsis reads a bit like a warm-hearted update of those early '00s Matthew McConaughey flicks (about a roguish philanderer who defines himself by independence until he meets Kate Hudson, or whatever) and I'm into it.

View Bros' showtimes here.

Directed by Clement Virgo

A bit like last year's Scarborough, this is a dramatic adaptation of a book about the Toronto district of Scarborough. It follows two Jamaican-Canadian brothers, flashing back and forth between their '90s adolescence and their adult selves as they deal with tragedy, violence and the shattering of their youthful dreams.

View Brother's showtimes here.

Buffy Sainte-Marie: Carry It On
Directed by Madison Thomas

The new Buffy Sainte-Marie documentary was cowritten by Canadian music journalist Andrea Warner, who previously wrote the iconic folk songwriter's Authorized Biography in 2018 — she also wrote a career retrospective about Sainte-Marie for Exclaim! back in 2016. Interview subjects here include Joni Mitchell, Robbie Robertson, George Stroumboulopoulos, Jeremy Dutcher and more.

View Buffy Sainte-Marie: Carry It On's showtimes here.

Ever Deadly
Directed by Tanya Tagaq and Chelsea McMullan

Tanya Tagaq co-directed her own documentary, which combines live performances with footage filmed on location in Nunavut, offering insight into the throat singer's family life and relationship to the land. Additionally, artist Shuvinai Ashoona animates words from Tagaq's novel Split Tooth.

View Ever Deadly's showtimes here.

The Fabelmans
Directed by Steven Spielberg

Photo: Gage Skidmore

The big news on film Twitter is that Steven Spielberg is finally making his first-ever TIFF appearance. It's with this coming-of-age flick about an aspiring filmmaker growing up in WWII-era Arizona, which is partially based on Spielberg's own childhood. Okay, so there's no sharks, aliens or dinosaurs then? Seth Rogen, Michelle Williams and Paul Dano star.

View The Fabelmans' showtimes here.

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Directed by Rian Johnson

Self-aware whodunit Knives Out was an instant hit at TIFF 2019. Now owned by Netflix, and with Rian Johnson returning as director, Daniel Craig is back to crack another case as detective Benoit Blanc, with another star-studded ensemble cast falling under his inquisitive magnifying glass (including Edward Norton, Leslie Odom Jr., Dave Bautista, Kate Hudson, Janelle Monáe and more).

​View Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery's showtimes here.

The Greatest Beer Run Ever
Directed by Peter Farrelly

Green Book won TIFF's 2018 People's Choice Award before it went on to win Best Picture at the Oscars, and quickly become maligned for its trite white saviour narrative. It will be interesting, then, to see how Peter Farrelly's follow-up is received. It's another inspirational historical film, this time about a merchant seaman delivering a case of beer to his army pals in Vietnam. It stars Zac Efron and Russell Crowe, and is said to have a "delicious cameo" from Bill Murray.

​View The Greatest Beer Run Ever's showtimes here.

High School
Directed by Clea DuVall

Rolling from one success to the next, Tegan and Sara have already spun off their 2019 memoir High School into an album of early songs called Hey, I'm Just Like You as well as the upcoming graphic novel Junior High. Their latest retrospective project is High School, an Amazon series inspired by their teenage years in Calgary and the origins of their music career. The first three episodes will premiere at TIFF.

​View High School's showtimes here.

Directed by Lee Jung-jae

Squid Game lead Lee Jung-jae stars and makes his directorial debut in this Korean espionage thriller, set during the peak of tensions between North and South Korea in the 1980s. Judging by the trailer, there will be lots of fast-paced action and guns, guns, guns.

​​View Hunt's showtimes here.

Created by Lido Pimienta

Musician and all-around polymath Lido Pimienta modelled her new variety show LIDO TV after children's television, but thematically it deals with weighty subjects like feminism and colonialism. Guests on the variety show include Nelly Furtado, Shad, Kittie and the Halluci Nation's Ehren "Bear Witness" Thomas. The first three episodes of this CBC Gem series will screen at TIFF.

​​View LIDO TV's showtimes here.

Moonage Daydream
Directed by Brett Morgen

Brett Morgen previously directed the Kurt Cobain film Montage of Heck, and here he helms a doc about David Bowie. Featuring archival performance footage (including  "Moonage Daydream," "Space Oddity," "Sound and Vision," "'Heroes'" and more) and interviews. It's said to follow the Starman's career through its myriad phases and evolutions.

​​View Moonage Daydream's showtimes here.

Weird: The Weird Al Yankovic Story
Directed by Eric Appel

In what is sure to be Daniel Radcliffe's most iconic and recognizable role ever, he brings an unexpectedly horny energy to his portrayal of beloved polka parodist "Weird Al" Yankovic. It's based on director Eric Appel's 2013 Funny or Die video, which billed itself as a gritty, sexed up, boozy drama.

​​View Weird: The Weird Al Yankovic Story's showtimes here.

The Whale
Directed by Darren Aronofsky

Photo courtesy of TIFF

The Brennaissance continues! Brendan Fraser is officially back, and the latest film by director Darren Aronofsky stars the Airheads hero as a reclusive man dealing with isolation, body shaming and self-acceptance. Fraser teared up after getting a six-minute standing ovation at the Venice International Film Festival. Welcome back, Brendan!

​​View The Whale's showtimes here.

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