It’s finally nearing that golden time of the year for film connoisseurs. Festival season is on the horizon, and with that comes the plethora of pictures we’ve been waiting for all year. Fall festivals typically bring about most major contenders for awards season, so we’ll begin to get an idea of which movies will be key players in this year’s race. Most lineups haven’t been fully announced yet, but here are a few of the titles you can look forward to seeing on the roster this fall:
A Star is Born
Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut marks the third remake of the 1937 classic. Hopes are high for the updated take on this familiar story, which stars Cooper himself as a country musician who falls in love with a budding young singer (played by Lady Gaga, marking the star’s first major acting role). The film is an anticipated release among both those waiting to see how this remake fares and those curious about Cooper’s directing style, and is already slated for both the Venice Film Festival and TIFF.
Based on the trailer alone, this film is sure to be both a tearjerker and major awards bait. Starring audience favorite Steve Carrell and indie darling Timothée Chalamet, the film depicts the true events of a father who is forced to watch his son struggle through a methamphetamine addiction. Based on the memoirs of David and Nic Sheff, the real-life counterparts to the film’s father-son duo, Beautiful Boy will also be the first English-language film for Belgian director Felix van Groeningen (The Broken Circle Breakdown, Belgica). Get ready to see some powerful performances, as the film will be having its world premiere at Toronto in September.
While not yet announced for any festivals, expect to see Boy Erased in some upcoming lineups, a highly anticipated film about a boy who is outed to his parents as gay and is forced to attend a gay conversion therapy program. The film stars beloved young actor Lucas Hedges as the film’s protagonist, Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe as his character’s parents, and is directed by Joel Edgerton. This is yet another tale based on heart-wrenching true events, taken from the memoir of the same name by Garrard Conley (whom Hedges is portraying in the film under a different name).
The biopics don’t stop there. Esteemed young director Damien Chazelle’s follow-up to La La Land finds him reuniting with Ryan Gosling to bring to life the story of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk the moon (and one that is, unsurprisingly, adapted from a biography of the same name). It will follow the years leading up to the Apollo 11 mission, hopefully giving viewers a humanistic take on the great historic achievement. This film will open the Venice Film Festival and will also be screening at Toronto. One thing’s for sure: this Chazelle-Gosling reunion is definitely something we can all get behind.
If Beale Street Could Talk
Barry Jenkins is another hit filmmaker who is returning to the festival scene after the success of his Best Picture-winning Moonlight, this time with an adaptation of James Baldwin’s novel “If Beale Street Could Talk.” The story follows a woman who is fighting to free her innocent husband from prison before their child is born. If Jenkins’ next effort is anything like his last, it will be one that tugs at both the heart and mind. The film is scheduled to have its world premiere at Toronto in September.
It’s the witchy remake we’ve all been waiting for… Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria is here. Although it’s been stated as more of an homage to the original than a remake per say, Guadagnino noting he wanted to capture the feeling he had when he first watched Dario Argento’s 1977 horror classic. The film stars Dakota Johnson as Susie Bannion, a young American dancer who travels to Berlin to attend a prestigious ballet academy led by Madame Blanc (Tilda Swinton), only to find that something dark and sinister lurks within the institution. The film was recently announced to have its world premiere at Venice Film Festival and will be Luca Guadagnino’s first film since his widely-loved Call Me By Your Name.
This highly anticipated collaboration between writer-director Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave) and screenwriter Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl) is a thriller based on a 1983 television series of the same name. The film is about four women who must finish a heist job that their husbands fail to do after they are killed and boasts a cast with names the likes of Viola Davis, Liam Neeson, and Colin Farrell. Widows will likely be a dark and deadly whirlwind of an adventure, but definitely one that’s worthwhile. It will have its world premiere at Toronto in September.
This directorial debut from Paul Dano was already a breakout hit at Sundance back in January and has continued a year-long journey down the festival path, having also been screened at Cannes and now scheduled to screen at TIFF in September. Co-written by Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan, the film centers on a young boy who witnesses the downfall of his parents’ marriage (the parents played by Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal) after the family moves states and his mother falls in love with another man. Critics raved about the film back when it first premiered, and it still maintains a position as a suspected contender in the awards race.
This is only a small handful of the wide variety of great films expected to come out of this year’s fall film festivals. There are tons of fantastic titles that we can’t wait to see, and even more that we’re excited to learn about. That’s the beauty of festivals—they have the element of surprise, and you don’t always know what’s going to be a hit or miss. But we have a feeling this year will be one to remember.