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Steve McQueen’s “Shame” Tops indieWIRE’s Poll of Toronto Critics

Steve McQueen's "Shame" Tops indieWIRE's Poll of Toronto Critics

The Toronto International Film Festival has wrapped up its 2011 edition, and indieWIRE has entered hundreds of critics grades from 25 folks on the scene in Toronto to our criticWIRE section. Of the 300+ films screening at the festival, Steve McQueen’s “Shame” had the highest average. It joined three others – Gerardo Naranjo’s “Miss Bala,” Jafar Panahi and Mojtaba Mirtahmas’s “This is Not a Film,” and Asghar Farhadi’s “A Separation” – as the only films with an A- level average (among those with 4 or more grades, which are the only ones included in this article).

Notably, none of those four films actually premiered in Toronto. “Shame” made its debut in Venice a week earlier, while the others are all alums of Berlin or Cannes. Of the films that premiered in Toronto (at least officially), ones to received quite high scores from critics include Alexander Payne’s “The Descendants,” Sarah Polley’s “Take This Waltz,” Adam Wingard’s “You’re Next,” Terence Davies’ “The Deep Blue Sea,” Jonathan Levine’s “50/50,” Lynn Shelton’s “Your Sister’s Sister,” Ashley Sabin and David Redmon’s “Girl Model” and Luc Besson’s “The Lady,” and Bennett Miller’s “Moneyball,” all of which placed in the top 25 with B+ averages

Listed below, in order, are the 44 films screening in Toronto to score averages of a B or higher. Click on the film’s title for a full list of critic scores.

criticWIRE’s Top Scoring Films From The 2011 Toronto International Film Festival*
1. Shame, directed by Steve McQueen A-
2. This is Not a Film, directed by Jafar Panahi and Mojtaba Mirtahmas A-
3. A Separation, directed by Asghar Farhadi A-
4. Miss Bala, directed by Gerardo Naranjo A-
5. Martha Marcy May Marlene, directed by Sean Durkin B+
6. You’re Next, directed by Adam Wingard B+
7. Like Crazy, directed by Drake Doremus B+
8. Pariah, directed by Dee Rees B+
9. Take This Waltz, directed by Sarah Polley B+
10. The Kid With a Bike, directed by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne B+
11. The Descendants, directed by Alexander Payne B+
12. Le Havre, directed by Aki Kaurismaki B+
13. Your Sister’s Sister, directed by Lynn Shelton B+
14. Drive, directed by Nicolas Winding Refn B+
15. The Artist, directed by Michel Hazanavicius B+
16. The Deep Blue Sea, directed by Terence Davies B+
17. PINA, directed by Wim Wenders B+
18. Moneyball, directed by Bennett Miller B+
19. 50/50, directed by Jonathan Levine B+
20. Take Shelter, directed by Jeff Nichols B+
21. Girl Model, directed by Ashley Sabin, David Redmon B+
22. The Lady, directed by Luc Besson B+
23. The Turin Horse, directed by Bela Tarr B
24. We Need To Talk About Kevin, directed by Lynne Ramsay B
25. Rampart, directed by Oren Moverman B
26. The Ides of March, directed by George Clooney B
27. Melancholia, directed by Lars von Trier B
28. Into The Abyss, directed by Werner Herzog B
29. Kill List, directed by Ben Wheatley B
30. A Dangerous Method, directed by David Cronenberg B
31. Friends With Kids, directed by Jennifer Westfeldt B
32. Damsels in Distress, directed by Whit Stillman B
33. Oslo August 31st, directed by Joachim Trier B
34. Tyrannosaur, directed by Paddy Considine B
35. The Skin I Live In, directed by Pedro Almodovar B
36. Wuthering Heights, directed by Andrea Arnold B
37. Coriolanus, directed by Ralph Fiennes B
38. Play, directed by Ruben Östlund B
39. Jeff, Who Lives at Home, directed by Jay & Mark Duplass B
40. Dark Horse, directed by Todd Solondz B
41. Chicken With Plums, directed by Marjane Satrapi, Vincent Paronnaud B
42. God Bless America, directed by Bobcat Goldthwait B
43. Comic-Con: Episode IV – A Fan’s Hope, directed by Morgan Spurlock B
44. From The Sky Down, directed by Davis Guggenheim B

*Only films with four or more grades have been included, and ranking may change as new grades come in. Scores are tabulated on a film’s total out of a possible 13 based on the letter grades submitted by the critics. What is listed here is current with the time of this story’s publishing.

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We picked Shame as the big break through film before it’s arrival at Tiff. It is a brilliant, bold, very contemporary look at the society we live in today, through the intimate eyes of Brandon, a successful young man with a complicated view of intimacy and sex. Abi Morgan the screenwriter, Steve McQueen and Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan have done a remarkable job bringing this riveting story to life. Check out our press conference coverage from the Venice Premiere. The other films from Tiff recommended by Indiewire are worth checking out and forming your own decision about.


A doubtable list this is.


@Peter Knegt: either the reviewers are fond of Polley because of her indi past and giving sympathetic advantages or they when they were asked to rate it they said ‘eh?’ and were mistook for ‘A’ (it is Canada). Seriously, A Kid with a bike, Take Shelter, Melancholia… all beat by waltz? New reviewers please. lol


could you inform me how Lost in Italy fared in the Hells Kitchen Film Festival that finished on the 11.09.11

Peter Knegt

@David: It’s an average based on 8 different people polled. It might fluctuate when more people submit their grades but for now it seems you are definitely in the minority.


Take This Waltz gets an A-? That is unfathomable. To see what it is rated with and above is just sad for film. One of the worst TIFF films this year in my experience.


Take This Waltz gets an A-? That is unfathomable. And seeing what it is rated with and above, it just doesn’t make sense. Worst film at TIFF I’ve seen.

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