TIFF 2017 Day 1: “Call Me By Your Name,” “The Killing of a Sacred Deer,” “Borg/McEnroe,” “Loveless,” “Bodied”

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The 42nd Toronto International Film Festival has finally arrived! I’ll be posting here daily all my thoughts on the films that I see here at TIFF. Let’s kick things off with the five films that I saw today which include Luca Guadagnino’s “Call Me By Your Name,” Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Killing of a Sacred Deer,” Janus Metz’s “Borg/McEnroe,” Andrey Zvyagintsev’s “Loveless,” and Joseph Kahn’s “Bodied.”

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“Call Me By Your Name,” Luca Guadagnino

Elio Perlman is spending the summer with his family at their vacation home in Lombardy, Italy. When his father hires a handsome doctoral student, the curious 17-year-old finds himself developing a growing attraction to the young man.

As gorgeous as it is emotionally rich, “Call Me By Your Name” is filled with passion thanks to Luca Guadagnino’s detailed direction and layered performances from Timothée Chalamet, Armie Hammer, and Michael Stuhlbarg. I dare you not to tear up by the end of this movie.

4.5/5

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“The Killing of a Sacred Deer,” Yorgos Lanthimos

A teenager’s attempts to bring a brilliant surgeon into his dysfunctional family take an unexpected turn.

Yorgos Lanthimos follows up his darkly hilarious romance, “The Lobster,” with a film far more mean spirited and cold hearted. “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” is absolutely draining and while it’s not without its moments of well executed tension and the cast all give committed performances, I found myself growing more and more detached as the film went on. I’m very disappointed.

2/5

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“Borg/McEnroe,” Janus Metz

“Borg/McEnroe” is a film about one of the world’s greatest icons Björn Borg and his biggest rival, the young and talented John McEnroe and their legendary duel during the 1980’s Wimbledon tournament. It’s a story about two men that became legends and the price they had to pay.

“Borg/McEnroe” is a fairly standard sports film elevated by really solid performances, particularly from Shia LaBeouf. Tennis matches are sloppily edited, though.

2.5/5

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“Loveless,” Andrey Zvyagintsev

Zhenya and Boris are going through a vicious divorce marked by resentment, frustration and recriminations. Already embarking on new lives, each with a new partner, they are impatient to start again, to turn the page – even if it means threatening to abandon their 12-year-old son Alyosha. Until, after witnessing one of their fights, Alyosha disappears…

Bleak, tragic, and emotionally draining, “Loveless” is definitely engaging, but I can’t help but feel like there was a more interesting story involving the child.

3/5

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“Bodied,” Joseph Kahn

A progressive graduate student finds success and sparks outrage when his interest in battle rap as a thesis subject becomes a competitive obsession.

While I admittedly had a good amount of fun with the battle raps, “Bodied” is way too long and a tonal mess that would have worked better as a Funny or Die sketch.

2.5/5

If you want to stay updated with all my reviews at TIFF as I see the films, follow me on my Letterboxd.

See ya tomorrow!

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