Ten must-see movies based on true stories at TIFF 2017
Real stories have a habit of luring stars to the script—and audiences to the theatre. TIFF offers no shortage of true-to-life blockbusters this year. Here, the ones we’re most excited to check out.
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Tatiana Maslany, Clancy Brown
Director: David Gordon Green
Jeff Bauman lost his legs in the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. This Oscar contender—a tale of pain, heroism and healing—is based on his memoir and stars Gyllenhaal, always a tour de force, alongside Orphan Black powerhouse Tatiana Maslany.
The Current War
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Michael Shannon, Katherine Waterston
Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Thomas Edison (Cumberbatch) and George Westinghouse (Shannon) battle to create marketable electricity in 1870s America. Edison succeeds in the light bulb test, of course, but in Westinghouse he draws a competitor with a different kind of brilliance. Gomez-Rejon’s skill and imagination as director will likely make this flick an epic.
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Claire Foy, Tom Hollander, Hugh Bonnevill
Director: Andy Serkis
Serkis is best known for his motion-capture roles—like Gollum in Lord of the Rings—but, in his directorial debut, he tackles an inspiring and tragic love story. Robin Cavendish (Garfield, whose resumé already includes an Oscar nomination) and his wife, Diana (Foy), fall madly for each other at the same time that Robin is diagnosed with polio. The couple bravely turn misfortune into opportunity and attempt to de-marginalize the disabled.
Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Sverrir Gudnason
Director: Janus Metz
The grand tennis rivalry between cool Swedish icon Bjorn Borg (Sudnason) and the über-expressive John McEnroe (LaBeouf) peaked during the foes’ five-set marathon match at at Wimbledon in 1980. Equal parts sports drama and psychological thriller, Borg/McEnroe gives us a glimpse into the tacks of two divergent athletes in their prime while flashing back to their pasts.
Battle of the Sexes
Cast: Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Sarah Silverman, Elisabeth Shue
Directors: Valerie Faris, Jonathan Dayton
This zippy flick recreates another legendary tennis match: the 1973 duel between world champions Billie Jean King (Stone) and Bobby Riggs (Carell). Stone trades serves with Carell and his smashing comic timing in a flick scripted by Oscar winner Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire) and directed by the Little Miss Sunshine team of Faris and Dayton.
Cast: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner
Director: Aaron Sorkin
West Wing creator Sorkin makes his directorial debut with the true tale of childhood skiing prodigy Molly Bloom (Chastain). After a freak accident at the U.S. Olympic trials, she ends up overseeing the most exclusive high-stakes poker game in Hollywood—until the FBI zeroes in on her illegal operation.
Professor Marston and the Wonder Women
Cast: Luke Evans, Rebecca Hall, Bella Heathcote
Director: Angela Robinson
When American psychologist William Moulton Marston (Evans) created Wonder Woman, he introduced progressive ideals about female liberation into the male-dominated comic book world of the 1920s. Marston’s story is as interesting as his superhero’s: he lived in a convention-bucking, polyamorous “extended relationship” with his wife, Elizabeth (Hall), and a gifted university student Olive Byrne (Heathcote).
The Disaster Artist
Cast: James Franco, Seth Rogen, Dave Franco, Zac Efron
Director: James Franco
The 2003 film The Room was so cringingly awful that it became an ironically beloved cult hit. Now, director James Franco stars as the film’s blinders-on creator, Tommy Wiseau, and calls on many a celebrity pal to cameo. It’s an absurd and hilarious spoof of—and ode to—one of the worst pieces of cinema ever made.
Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool
Cast: Annette Bening, Jamie Bel, Julie Waters, Vanessa Redgrave
Director: Paul McGuigan
An adaptation of Peter Turner’s memoir, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool recounts the British actor’s romance with eccentric Oscar-winner Gloria Grahame during the final, forceful years of her life. A chapter of post-fame life, Liverpool spans across the Atlantic, blends showbiz and romance and blesses Bening (Grahame) with a role that should garner awards consideration.
Cast: Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, Julianne Nicholson
Director: Craig Gillespie
The strangest American sports story of the 1990s (O.J. notwithstanding) gets the silver screen treatment via Australian auteur Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl). The tragicomedy stars Robbie as Tonya Harding, the triple-axel-stomping skater whose husband orchestrated a bizarre attack on her competitor, fellow U.S. medal hopeful Nancy Kerrigan.