WhatWrenWatches: A (Late) TIFF 2018 Recap

I’ve been watching to incorporate from film related posts on here for a little bit and thought this would be an interesting topic to kick this little section of the blog! Say hello to WhatWrenWatches!

The Toronto International Film Festival is something I attend every year, and this year it ran from September 6th – 16th, a full 10 days full of hundreds and hundreds of movies to see, and all kinds of other events happening everywhere.

Going into planning for this year I was convinced I wasn’t going to actually go to as many screenings but rather try and do a year of getting into fan zones for red carpets and experiencing that side of the festival for one year, but, long story short I ended up seeing the most I’ve ever seen during the festival oops.

In total, I saw 11 screenings, 9 feature films and 2 TV premieres (they show the first 4 episodes usually at ‘primetime’ screenings).


    1. Homecoming (Dir. Sam Esmail): Homecoming is the new drama/thriller TV series directed by Sam Esmail, the creator & director of Mr. Robot (my favourite tv show). The show has a great cast with Julia Roberts, Stephen James, Bobby Cannavale and so many more. It’s based off a podcast by the same name which also has an amazing cast (including my fav oscar isaac!) I was REALLY looking forward to this, and it was probably my most anticipated. and let me tell you, it is AMAZING. We watched the 4 four episodes at the premiere and it was totally mesmerizing, and the whole show premiered on Amazon November 2nd so I would highly recommend you check it out!

      Sam Esmail, Julia Roberts and Stephen James at the premiere of Homecoming 
    2. Sorry For Your Loss (created by Kit Steinkellner):This was the other TV show I saw at the festival and I fell in love with it. It is a really emotional drama series starring Elizabeth Olson as a young woman who is dealing with the sudden loss of her husband. The show also stars Kelly Marie Tran in a fantastic role, basically, I love the whole family in this show. This show has also already premiered on Facebook watch, and has all been released so you can go on there and see the whole thing now! I also got to say hi to Kelly Marie Tran afterwards but I almost stepped on her dress then and I think I would have died if I actually did step on it.

      Some cast and Crew from Sorry For Your Loss, Including Elizabeth Olsen and Kelly Marie Tran.
    3. Seeing Xavier Dolan: Xavier Dolan is someone whose films have changed my life. Whether you like his movies or not, and I can see why some aren’t big fans, his movie Mommy truly changed my perspective on movies, and the potential that movies have to depict beauty, and emotion, and genuine art. His films have since had huge impacts on my life from inspiration to entertainment. As well, seeing a young, queer Canadian achieve so many incredible things is amazing to see. He truly is one of the greatest Canadian artists of this time, so seeing him in person at the premiere of his new movie is something I will never forget. His art will continue to impact me so seeing him and hearing what he has to say about his film was truly a privilege I will never forget. (everyone go watch Mommy right this second!) (Timothee Chalamet was also at this screening and I was in a seat where I could see him perfectly it was hilarious)

      Cast of The Death and Life of John F. Donovan with the director, Xavier Dolan. Including Kit Harrington, Chris Zylka, Thandie Newton and Susan Sarandon.
    4. Seeing Troye Sivan: I’m a huge fan of Troye’s music so I decided that instead of buying a premiere ticket for Boy Erased I would instead try and get in the fan zone for the red carpet! I did just that and unfortunately showed up a little too late to get in a spot where i could get a selfie but i still got to see him super up close! I am so glad I did this though because I ended up not being able to go to his show that was in october 😦


  1.  Life Itself (Dir. by Dan Fogelman): If you have seen reviews for this I think it goes without saying that this movie was definitely a lowlight, and more two reasons for me. one: it was a lowlight because the movie itself was terrible. Truly one of the worst movies ive seen in a longgg time. Second: Oscar Isaac is my favourite actor and once I saw he was in the movie I was so excited, and then I saw he was on the list for guests attending the festival and I was even more excited, I had the opportunity to see him in person!! So, I spent the extra money on a premiere ticket (which the cast/crew attends) so I could see Oscar, aaaaannndddd he doesn’t show up. Just my luck 😦
  2. Wildlife (Dir. Paul Dano): Every time I hear someone talk about this one they love it and I feel bad because I really hated this movie. Probably had something to do with the mental state I was in when I did watch it but that’s the whole point and the beauty of the experience of watching a movie, that the experience defers for everyone depending on a million different factors. Besides that though, if I was there with a clear mind, I think I still would have not liked it. I was really excited to see Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance but the personalities of the characters and the plot were 2 things I could not force myself to enjoy, so everything else kinda got overshadowed by those.


Clara (Dir. Akash Sherman) Akash Sherman proved his talent and potential with his feature Clara, which stars Troian Bellisario and Patrick J. Adams. I love space, and this movie is all about the vastness of the universe, and I really loved it. The story, the characters, the acting the everything I really enjoyed. I hope to see this again sometime soon so I am really hoping it gets some kind of distribution.

What I Wish I Saw

I actually didn’t have as many movies this year that I wish I didn’t miss out on, usually there’s a ton but I really did try and see everything that interested me unless something came out within the few weeks after the festival because spending the money on a tiff ticket would be pointless when I could go to a movie theatre in a few weeks and see it for much much cheaper.

One I wish I could have gotten a ticket to was ‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?’ I heard about this one after it was sold out in showtimes I could attend, I believe there was one showtime left when I looked at the tickets and it conflicted with another movie I was seeing. The movie is out now but not playing in any theatres in my province 😦 hopefully it will expand its release because I have heard some really good things.

‘Kursk’ was one I had on my list to buy a ticket for but never ended up getting one. I don’t remember exactly why, although It may have been on my list for tickets to get if any of the movies on my high priority list were sold out and I needed to fill a gap. I haven’t heard much in terms of reviews about this movie, but it seems like the kind of story I would enjoy. It looks like it has been picked up for distribution so hoping to see more news for that in the next few months!!

Another I had on my backups list was ‘Her Smell‘. I was listening to a podcast the other day at work called This Had Oscar Buzz (which is a really fun podcast btw) and it reminded me of this movie when they mentioned it in their TIFF recap episode! I’ve heard mixed things but will most likely go and see this if it gets distribution in Canada or is released on any streaming sites!

I didn’t have much interest in the People’s Choice winners, although I will definitely keep my eye on Green Book (which one the peoples choice award) as a movie I’ll probably need to eventually see anyways because it will most likely have major award nominations. Free Solo won the documentary award and I was DYING to see that after hearing what it was about, got super lucky and it was playing in a theatre here so I went and saw that about 2 weeks ago 🙂

Honourable Memory Mentions 

  • Seeing Natalie Portman and Jude Law at the premiere of Vox Lux (a movie I ended up hating, which is frustrating because I traded one of my other tickets for a ticket to this).
  • Making my mom jealous by sending her a photo of Kit Harrington at the premiere for The Death and Life of John F. Donovan (xavier dolan <3)IMG_9858
  • Making my mom jealous by telling her I was at the premiere for Max Minghella’s movie (Teen Spirit), she loves the Handmaid’s Tale. IMG_9842
  • My friend trying to convince me to send HQ photos of Timothee Chalamet to her even though he was hiding under his hat.
  • Getting a terrible cold the day before my last day of movies (I watched 2 my last day) and practically dying all the way through my 10pm screening of First Man (a movie that’s 2 1/2 hours long) on the very last day and then leaving that theatre around 1am with neck pain from sitting 4th row, ear ringing because space movies are loud and then very silent, and having cough attacks all night because the movie was so silent I had to keep forcing myself not to make noise the whole time. (oh! and I forgot to bring my glasses to this one as well!)Screen Shot 2018-11-11 at 2.00.06 AM.png
  • Julia Roberts sitting 2 rows behind me at the Homecoming premiere.
  • Experiencing The Death and Life of John F. Donovan in the beauty of the Winter Garden Theatre (and then forgetting my umbrella there after the movie because I was in such a trance).

If you want to see a full list of everything I saw at the festival, including my ratings and any thoughts I had on them, you can check out my list on my letterboxd account HERE. I use letterboxd to log ALL my movies so if you want to keep up with what I’m watching feel free to follow me there!

oof, this was long. I’m probably missing stuff I wanna say but I doubt anyone is taking the time to actually read this all. Do always feel free to come talk to me about movies literally whenever you want though, it’s my favourite thing to do!

See yall soon for a back-to-normal book related post!

— Wren ❤


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