Now that Santa’s naughty and nice list has been put away for another year, it’s time to have a look at another list, Canada’s Top 10, the Toronto International Film Festival’s annual tally of the best Canadian features. In alphabetical order, here are the winners as chosen by a panel of industry experts.
Café de flore
The main pleasure in this story about the uncompromising power of true love is watching Vanessa Paradis throw glamour out the window and deliver a gritty, but lovingly rendered performance as a protective mother.
A Dangerous Method
Here two pioneering psychoanalysts, played by Michael Fassbender and Viggo Mortensen, have a falling out over an intelligent, beautiful but troubled patient (Keira Knightley). The movie is an enticing stew of psycho-sexuality and repression that challenges commonly held beliefs about what is normal and what is not.
The story of Canada’s John Dillinger is an entertaining romp through three decades in the life of a notorious homegrown folk hero.
Hobo With a Shotgun
This is like what would have happened if Roger Corman made Death Wish with a fake blood budget the size of a James Cameron movie.
Guy Maddin’s homage to 1930’s gangster melodramas is exactly what we expect from the eccentric director. It’s an expressionistic, beautifully grotesque story that demands multiple viewings.
This lush looking story of the hardships of rural life and keeping a family together is slow moving but rewarding.
Canada’s official entry to the Oscar race, this schoolroom drama — think To Sir with Love, with a suicide subplot — is one of the best films of the year, Canadian or otherwise.
A charming movie about a man — winningly played by Patrick Huard —who discovers his sperm bank donations unwittingly made him the father of 533 children, 142 of whom have filed a class action lawsuit to learn their biological father’s real identity.
Take This Waltz
This second feature from director Sarah Polley is a bittersweet Canadian kitchen sink drama about being trapped in a marriage with someone who can’t speak his mind.
This looks at what happens to life in a small town when the largest employer is about to shut down. It is a Main Street drama seen through the eyes of a kindly car salesman.