As the 2022 Toronto International Film festival enters its final weekend, there have been a number of movies that we’ve loved, laughed at — and even maybe cried over. While we already revealed the five must-see films at the festival, and after having watched a number of poignant movies (some even likely to be Oscar contenders), there are a ton of films showcasing the beauty of diverse storytelling that viewers need to add to their watchlists.
From Chevalier, a film on the oft-forgotten Black violinist, to Riceboy Sleeps, a touching Canadian portrait of a Korean family, you can’t miss these five films that spotlight diverse storytelling.
This stunning movie — shot entirely on 16 mm film — is a personal story written and directed by Anthony Shim. Riceboy Sleeps will resonate with anyone who has ever felt othered in Canada, and for any children of immigrants watching this film, it’ll hit very, very close to home. The stunning shots, the beautiful score and the knockout performances will get you — I’ll admit I cried watching this one and it’s stayed with me ever since.
Kelvin Harrison Jr. always delivers a great performance, and he does an excellent job as violinist Joseph Bologne Chevalier de Saint-Georges in this new, if not entirely accurate, biopic. It really explores what it meant to be Black in a very rich, white, 18th-century Parisian society that frowned upon his existence, even in the face of his talent. Although it will appeal to period-piece lovers, at the end of the day it’s a film that really unpacks what it means to love something even when white supremacy discourages you from pursuing it.
This charming coming-of-age film follows the daughter of neurodivergent parents, and the highs and lows she faces while trying to help them and searching for her own independence. While it’s not quite a biopic, it’s loosely based on filmmaker Matt Smukler’s niece and his other family members, and holds a magnifying glass up to the unique experiences of big families with different abilities. The entire cast shines, and you’ll smile at times while also getting emotional.
“Decision to Leave”
Director Park Chan-wook knows how to make a bold thriller, and his latest film Decision to Leave is no exception. Tensions build when a man is found dead, and a detective played by Park Hae-il starts to uncover the mystery of how he passed away. Things take a turn when a suspect, the wife of the deceased, catches his eye. It’s very twisty, but the shots are great, and just when you think you’ve maybe got things figured out, there is another mystery to be unravelled.
“On the Come Up”
Hip-hop is historically a boys’ club, so for a film to explore the music industry through the eyes of a teenage girl, it feels like a very special story. Sanaa Lathan made her directorial debut with this film, and she did an excellent job of translating the story of 16-year-old Bri to audiences of all ages. It’s filled with lyrical references spanning Tupac and Solange, so true music fans will fall in love with the poetic flow of this movie.