if beale street could talk review

Art reflects the culture it’s created in. In the ’30s and ’40s, directors like Frank Capra produced optimistic comedies and dramas to help uplift a national morale brought low by the Great Depression and World War II. In the late ’70s and ’80s, punk music and hip-hop spoke to political frustrations. Part of the value of the art that makes up popular culture is what a piece of music, literature or cinema can tell us about the prevailing cultural attitudes at the time it was made.

In this way, events like the Toronto International Film Festival are valuable not just as marketing tools by studios to kick off their awards campaigns, but as a way to show audiences what ideas are currently dominating our cultural conversation. By gathering the biggest, newest films in one place, festivals like TIFF invite the world to consider what’s been on our collective minds, and provide a space to have a dialogue about it.

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wildlife review

Early on in Paul Dano’s Wildlife, the movie’s 14-year-old protagonist, Joe Brinson (Ed Oxenbould), takes an after-school job at a photo lab. It’s a plot point that also serves as a mission statement for the film, which tells the story of a family’s dissolution in early-1960s Montana. A spare, deeply empathetic piece of work, Wildlife also works as a sort of photo essay on the lives of its characters, presenting evolving snapshots of its central family’s members as they experience varying stages of exasperation, damaged pride, desperation and disappointment.

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Next week is the Toronto International Film Festival. With it comes the unofficial kickoff of the fall movie season, and the start – and sometimes epic failure – of Hollywood awards campaigns. With over 300 films on offer, TIFF’s lineup this year spans far and wide. Some of these movies vanish into obscurity (remember Brie Larson’s Unicorn Store? Me neither). Others become lauded classics.

Whether you’re attending the fest or keeping track of things from afar, here are the movies that should be on your radar.

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