2019 Toronto International Film Festival movies: 'Joker,' 'Judy,' 'Goldfinch' among big titles

WATCH: Joaquin Phoenix stars in 'Joker,' which hits theatres Oct. 4. It will screen at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival in September.

The 44th Toronto International Film Festival is just around the corner.

On Tuesday morning, TIFF co-heads Cameron Bailey and Joana Vicente announced the first round of movies selected for the gala and special presentations programs. The first batch of films to be revealed features 18 galas and 38 special presentations.

Both Bailey and Vicente are ecstatic about this year’s selections.

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“Some of the year’s biggest films will land in Toronto this September,” said Bailey, co-head and artistic director of TIFF. “We’re thrilled to unveil galas and special presentations that bring the brightest lights in film to our festival audience. Our new programming team has been hard at work for months to deliver the compelling stories, acclaimed filmmakers, and top onscreen talent that mark our two highest-profile sections.”

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“I’m delighted to step into my first Festival as TIFF co-head to such a powerful slate of films,” said Vicente, co-head and executive director of TIFF, replacing longtime figurehead Piers Handling. “Fast-paced, boundary-pushing, satirical — this lineup has films representing every corner of the cinematic landscape on top of a strong number of world premieres. It’s a pleasure to be able to share these films with audiences for the first time.”

Of the gala films announced, 50 per cent of titles are directed or co-directed by women — a record number for the program. This year’s selection also includes 29 world premieres, six international premieres, 13 North American premieres, and eight Canadian premieres.

Here’s a small selection of some of the standout movies, below.

The Lighthouse

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Shot on 35mm black-and-white film, this psychological thriller from Robert Eggers (The Witch) follows the slow descent into madness of two lighthouse keepers (Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson) on a remote New England island at the turn of the 19th century.

The Goldfinch

A young boy’s life is forever altered following a terrorist attack at an art museum, in John Crowley’s (Brooklyn) adaptation of Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Starring Nicole Kidman, Ansel Elgort, Luke Wilson, Sarah Paulson, and Jeffrey Wright.

Harriet

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Tony-winning Broadway actor Cynthia Erivo stars in Kasi Lemmons’ inspiring biopic about renowned abolitionist Harriet Tubman, who escaped slavery and risked her life to lead others to freedom through the network of safe houses known as the Underground Railroad.

Joker

Joaquin Phoenix becomes the iconic comic-book villain in director Todd Phillips’ (War Dog, The Hangover) dark chronicle of a vulnerable man’s descent into violent madness.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

A jaded journalist (Matthew Rhys) reluctantly accepts an Esquire assignment to profile the children’s television host Fred Rogers (Tom Hanks) and encounters a profoundly empathetic worldview that changes his life forever.

Knives Out

Director Rian Johnson (Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Looper) assembles an all-star cast — Daniel Craig, Toni Collette, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ana de Armas, Chris Evans, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, and LaKeith Stanfield — in this intelligent whodunit about a famed southern detective (Craig) who joins forces with local police to investigate a group of eccentric suspects following the murder of a wealthy crime novelist (Christopher Plummer).

Jojo Rabbit

Taika Waititi directs a riotous cast — including Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Johansson, Rebel Wilson, and Alfie Allen — in this equally daring, droll, and touching story of a young German boy who discovers a Jewish girl hiding in his home and consults with his imaginary best friend, Adolf Hitler (Waititi).

Judy

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Oscar winner Renée Zellweger delivers a note-perfect performance as Judy Garland during the last year of her life, in Rupert Goold’s (True Story) moving adaptation of the stage play End of the Rainbow.

Guest of Honour

A father (David Thewlis) and daughter (Laysla De Oliveira) attempt to work through their complicated relationship, secret histories, and personal demons, in Atom Egoyan’s latest exploration of unresolved personal trauma and its unintended consequences.

Radioactive

Based on Lauren Redniss’ award-winning graphic novel, Marjane Satrapi’s (Persepolis) biopic stars Rosamund Pike as two-time Nobel Prize-winning scientist Marie Curie, highlighting the groundbreaking discoveries she made with her husband, Pierre (Sam Riley).

Hustlers

Inspired by a 2015 New York Magazine article that went viral, Hustlers follows a savvy crew of former strippers (Jennifer Lopez, Cardi B, Constance Wu, and Julia Stiles) who band together to turn the tables on their Wall Street clients.

Ford v Ferrari

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James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma) directs Matt Damon and Christian Bale in this high-speed biographical drama that pits an underdog team of American automotive engineers against Ferrari in the 1966 “24 Hours of Le Mans” endurance race.

For a full list of movies, please visit the official TIFF site.

The 2019 Toronto International Film Festival runs September 5 – 15.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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