The 39th Toronto International Film Festival is due to begin later today with Robert Downey Jr film The Judge opening proceedings. More than 20 British films are being screened as part of the festivities featuring the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Kate Winslet and Timothy Spall. There’s also a host of other British talent appearing at the festival, in front of the camera and behind it. Here is a look at some of the British films likely to create a buzz in the Canadian city.
The Imitation Game – Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Alan Turing in the drama which follows how the British computing pioneer cracked the German Enigma codes during World War Two. After opening last year’s festival with the critically panned WikiLeaks film The Fifth Estate, the Sherlock actor will be hoping his latest film is better received. Keira Knightly co-stars as Turing’s friend and fellow codebreaker Joan Clarke. The film will also open the London Film Festival in October.
The Theory of Everything – The life of celebrated physicist Stephen Hawking is told in The Theory of Everything, based on the memoir by his wife Jane. Les Miserables star Eddie Redmayne stars as Hawking opposite Felicity Jones, beginning with their meeting at Cambridge University before the scientist was diagnosed with motor neurone disease. Benedict Cumberbatch also starred as Hawking in a 2004 BBC film which saw Bafta TV nominations for both the drama and the actor. Redmayne’s performance could also see him highly recognised when the major award nominations are announced next year.
The Riot Club – A big screen adaptation of the hit West End play Posh, The Riot Club is a fictionalised version of Oxford University’s Bullingdon Club – the exclusive society known for its boisterous behaviour. Max Irons (son of Jeremy), Hunger Games’ Sam Claflin and Romeo and Juliet’s Douglas Booth star as some of the students selected to join the elite dining club full of Hooray Henrys. British Prime Minister David Cameron and London Mayor Boris Johnson are noted as previous members of the real club – although whether the activities back in their day were as riotous as their fictional counterparts remains to be seen.
Mr Turner – Mike Leigh’s biopic about the celebrated painter JMW Turner was met with acclaim when it screened in Cannes earlier this year. Star Timothy Spall told the BBC News website he was “very pleased” the movie was showing in Toronto. “I’m obviously very apprehensive about how it’s going to go down to a new audience, but I’m absolutely delighted with what people are saying about the film,” he said. Spall’s son Rafe will also be attending the festival with his own film, X+Y. “We often meet at places like [festivals]. We had a lovely time when we worked together in Florence – we went out to dinner every night,” the elder Spall said.
X+Y – Rafe Spall stars as an anarchic maths teacher in this film about an autistic maths prodigy played by Ender’s Game star Asa Butterfield (pictured above). Inspired by the 2007 BBC documentary Beautiful Young Minds, it follows socially awkward teen Nathan as he competes on the British team at the International Mathematics Olympiad. It is the fiction feature debut from Bafta-winning film-maker Morgan Matthews, who also directed the original documentary. Sally Hawkins and Eddie Marsan also star.
A Little Chaos – This period drama has been given the honour of closing the festival. It sees Alan Rickman make his second directorial effort while also starring in front of the camera as King Louis XIV. It also stars Oscar winner Kate Winslet as a landscaper invited to design one of the fountains at the Palace of Versailles, with support from The Devil Wears Prada actor Stanley Tucci. It’s due for release in the UK in February 2015.