BY ADRIANA FLORIDIA
5) Stuck in Love
Originally and more appropriately titled Writers, this film that premiered at TIFF did not get a proper theatrical release in Canada, which unfortunately let it fly under the radar. With an outstanding cast–including Greg Kinnear, Jennifer Connelly, Lily Collins and Logan Lerman–Stuck In Love follows a family of writers who each have their own take on romance. The debut for director and writer Josh Boone (who will be directing the adaptation of the popular young adult novel The Fault in Our Stars) Stuck In Love is a heart-warming, tear-jerking and strong first film that is sure to leave an impact.
4) In a World…
Lake Bell’s directorial debut, In A World… is centred on the movie trailer business, but delves into territories much deeper. It serves as a take on gender roles in the entertainment business, specifically the lack of a female voice (literally and figuratively). Lake Bell writes, stars and directs, and her style breathes a breath of fresh air into your typical “chick flick”. This is a film that evokes girl power, but does so in a subtle, quirky and fun way. With a strong supporting cast including Michaela Watkins, Rob Corddry, Ken Marino and Demetri Martin, In a World… keeps you invested in these very real characters and the situations they are involved in that aren’t so often depicted on-screen.
3) Enough Said
Even with a cast as notable as Julia Louis-Dreyfus, the late James Gandolfini and Catherine Keener, an independent film like Nicole Holofcener’s Enough Said does not manage to reach wide audiences. The film played at TIFF and had a small release, but more people should be talking about this film that features two of the most naturally funny and impactful performances of the year. About a woman who gets caught between her new boyfriend and his ex-wife, Enough Said treads some sensitive subject matter and can sometimes be a bit painful to watch. Awkwardly-funny, morally complex and completely real, Enough Said should be getting more recognition.
2) The Dirties
Canadians can take some pride with this film, which is written by, directed by and starring York University student Matt Johnson in a striking debut feature. Taking on the topic of bullying and depicting a school shooting, The Dirties deals with very sensitive and topical subject matter. However, it does so in the most daring and original way. Filmed in a documentary style and playing as a comedy for almost the entire film, we follow Matt and Owen, two high school students who go overboard with their film class project when they decide they want to make a film where they actually kill the bullies at their school. Serving as a film within a film and thematically jam-packed, The Dirties is an extremely smart film that will make you laugh nearly as much as it will shake you by the end.
1) Short Term 12
Based on director Destin Daniel Cretton’s own experience working at a foster care facility, Short Term 12 is one of the most authentic feeling films all year. It balances its realism with some outstanding storytelling and some of the most memorable and emotional scenes in any film this year. Led by a powerful, understated and lived-in performance by actress Brie Larson who is unforgettable as Grace, the rest of the cast is much less talked about but equally as talented. The film had a small release in North America, but audiences must make an effort to seek out this film, which is one of the best of the year.
Adriana Floridia is a girl who has been passionate about film her whole life. Get to know her on Twitter @adrifloridia.