43rd Toronto International Film Festival Coverage: Day Two

Friday, September 7th, 2018 by Ian Evans

Beautiful Boy

Beautiful Boy courtesy of TIFF.

It’s day two of TIFF and a busy day of screenings awaits both film fans and press and industry attendees.

The day at Roy Thomson Hall began with an afternoon gala for Sharkwater Extinction, the final film from the late Rob Stewart. The Canadian filmmaker died in a diving incident during the making of the film. His parents, Rob and Sandy Stewart, spent the last year and a half making sure the film would get completed. They told the assembled press on the carpet that the process helped them with their grieving and getting the information about the sharks out ensured that their son did not die in vain.

The first evening gala at Roy Thomson was Felix van Groeningen adaptation of the memoirs of David and Nic Sheff, Beautiful Boy. The film stars Timothée Chalamet as a meth addict who keeps going in and out of recovery and Steve Carell as the father who has to deal with his son’s addiction, pain and lies. Carell told press on the carpet that he felt the story was “a very honest depiction of this family trying to navigate this horrendous ordeal.”

Up next at RTH was the gala premiere of George Tillman Jr.’s The Hate U Give, adapted from the novel by Angie Thomas. Amandla Stenberg plays Starr, who lives in a working-class black neighbourhood, but goes to a richer, predominantly white school. When her childhood sweetheart gets killed by a police officer, she has to make choices about how she handles the situation that go to the very heart of the two worlds she lives in. Actor Russell Hornsby told press on the red carpet that Angie Thomas wrote a masterpiece adding that “it’s deeply drawn from people she knows. She wrote their voices, she knows who they are.”

Over at the VISA Screening room at the Princess of Wales Theatre, Anthony Maras’ debut feature, Hotel Mumbai, took its bow. Starring Dev Patel, Armie Hammer, Nazanin Boniadi, and Anupam Kher, the film takes a look at the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks. The PoW also played host to Academy award winner Sebastián Lelio’s Glori Bell, which stars Julianne Moore as a free-spirited, middle-aged divorcee hoping to find love on the dance floor.

The lovely Elgin Theatre played host to the screening for Brady Corbet’s Vox Lux. Natalie Portman portrays Celeste, a pop star with a teenage daughter, a deep backstory, and an overbearing manager (Jude Law). Celeste leads a chaotic life and the lines between her personal self and her public self are blurring together. Vox Lux was followed by Capernaum. This Lebanese production, directed by Nadine Labaki, won the Jury prize at Cannes. It follows Zain, a 12-year-old boy who sues his negligent parents for the crime-ridden life they have given him.

Meanwhile, over at Ryerson, filmgoers had a chance to see Julia Roberts in a look at the upcoming Amazon Video series Homecoming. Roberts plays a case worker who helps soldiers back to civilian life. The series is based on the podcast of the same name.

Later on, TIFF fans got a chance to see Yann Demange’s White Boy Rick, which stars Richie Merritt, Matthew McConaughey, Bruce Dern, Eddie Marsan, and Jennifer Jason Leigh in a fact-based story of a petty hustler who became a drug boss and an FBI informant all before the age of 16. This is Merritt’s first time acting – discovered by a casting agent in a high school – and McConaughey told press on the carpet that it kept him on his toes as he had to help guide Merritt and relate to him on a personal level since the young actor didn’t have a well of experience to draw from.