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Critics Pick ‘The Danish Girl,’ Aretha Franklin Documentary as Toronto’s Hottest Films

Critics Pick 'The Danish Girl,' Aretha Franklin Documentary as Toronto's Hottest Films

The Toronto Star has revealed the results of its annual “Chasing the Buzz” poll, naming the most hotly anticipated movies of the Toronto International Film Festival. TIFF, which begins Thursday, has become the major launching pad for the fall movie season, and though there are notable omissions from the lineup — namely Todd Haynes’ “Carol” and Danny Boyle’s “Steve Jobs,” both of which screened at Telluride over the weekend — that still left plenty to choose from among the festival’s more than 300 movies. 

The Star’s Peter Howell polled 28 “critics, programmers, professors and regular movie buffs” from all over the world, including me and Indiewire’s Eric Kohn, and while the results usually gravitate towards one or two favorites, this year’s was a four-way split decision. “The Danish Girl,” which garnered strong but not universally admiring reviews out of Venice and Telluride, was the favorite of RogerEbert.com’s Susan Wloszczyna and Hollywood Elsewhere’s Jeffrey Wells, both of whom alluded to the film’s status as a presumptive Oscar favorite for Eddie Redmayne’s performance as trans woman Lili Elbe. TIFF’s Jennifer Bell and Radheyan Simonpilla of Toronto alt-weekly NOW Magazine went with “Sicario,” the Emily Blunt/Benicio del Toro crime thriller directed by Québec’s own Denis Villeneuve. Eli Gordon and Karen Gordon, both of the CBC, chose Paolo Sorrentino’s “Youth,” with Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel as aging artists in the Alps. And “Amazing Grace,” the long-delayed Aretha Franklin documentary that was barred by legal action from screening at Telluride but is, as of this writing, still on at TIFF, was the favorite of CTV’s Richard Crouse and myself.

Telluride and Venice has reshaped the field since the poll was taken — thank to the Telluride ban, “Amazing Grace” will be an even hotter ticket, if it screens at all — and there are too many movies are TIFF for a single poll to encompass. (Any list in which a stop-motion animation movie by Charlie Kaufman nets only one vote is a limited one by its very nature.) But you’re a TIFF-goer still looking to narrow down your wish list, or just following along at home, “Chasing the Buzz” gives you an idea of what those in the know are most looking forward to.

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