The best film I saw at the Toronto Film Festival — the most sharply sculpted, exciting, electric — was Darren Aronofsky‘s Black Swan . I wasn’t the only one to feel this way, and this consensus gave the Fox Searchlight release serious Best Picture heat.
The most delicious film I saw during the festival — the most culturally profound and deeply satisfying all around — was David Fincher‘s The Social Network, but then I had to travel to catch it.
Danny Boyle‘s 127 Hours was certainly one of the best acted (i.e., James Franco‘s lead performance), the most surprising (in terms of the arm-cutting scene being less traumatic than I anticipated) and, perhaps the most surprising discovery of all, the most sensuous.
Matt Reeves‘ excellent Let Me In was the most surprising as no one expected to easily equal if not surpass Tomas Alfredson‘s original.
Tom Hooper‘s The King’s Speech is an old-fashioned, traditional-type drama, but appropriately so given the late-1930s English-royalty milieu. It’s a very well-crafted and emotionally satisfying drama. It emerged as a definite Best Picture contender; Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush will certainly compete for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor honors.
I didn’t see Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu‘s Biutiful during the festival because I’d seen it in Cannes, but I can’t repeat strongly enough how penetrating Javier Bardem‘s lead performance is, and how rich and encompassing the film is in terms of considering the weight of it all.
Casey Affleck‘s I’m Still Here, the Joaquin Phoenix staged-meltdown doc, was easily the most grotesque in all senses of that term, although it is, to be fair, tightly assembled and never boring.
Errol Morris‘s Tabloid felt to me like the most satisfying documentary, but that was because I’d already seen and raved about Alex Gibney‘s Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer at the Tribeca Film Festival and Charles Ferguson‘s Inside Job in Cannes.
The festival’s most underwhelming film was either Robert Redford‘s The Conspirator or Clint Eastwood‘s Hereafter — a toss-up.
One of the best written dramas was John Cameron Mitchell‘s Rabbit Hole — an honestly presented, very well-acted piece about grief recovery.
Perhaps the most irritating bad film I saw at the festival was John Madden ‘s The Debt.
I wasn’t able to stay through all of Tom Tykwer‘s Three, a German-language drama about basic older-married-person issues (death, infidelity, change, illness, the whole shebang), struck me as the most engaging Tykwer film I’ve seen since Run Lola Run.
I missed Richard Ayoade‘s Submarine…sorry. I missed a few others (irritating). Many other films wa=were shown and various events occured, but these were the standouts.
The best party, hands down, was the shindig thrown for Biutiful at Toronto’s Soho House.