11 Must-See Films At The Toronto International Film Festival That Put Women First

Aramide Tinubu
How To Build A Girl
Photo: Toronto International Film Festival.

Scroll To See More Images

Fall has arrived, which means we are forging ahead with film season. As we bid adieu to summer–the best in drama, comedy and indie flicks are replacing blockbusters at the box office. Toronto Film Festival 2019’s dates and movie premieres are some of the best ways to get your first glimpse at what will be nominated at the Golden Globes and the Oscars.

Founded way back in 1976–The Toronto International Film Festival is one of the largest and most prestigious film fests on the planet. Its mission is “to transform the way people see the world through film.” Basically, if you’re a film geek or a cinephile like we are–it’s heaven. From Sept. 5-15 this year, everything from the star-studded Hustlers to the Harriet Tubman biopicHarriet, to Renée Zellweger’s portrayal of Judy Garland in Judy will be shown for the very first time.

STYLECASTER is on the ground running. We’re sliding into things like AT&T On Location that has the Friends Central Park couch to the various cocktail receptions and of course–movie premieres. Check out our curated must-see list of films that we don’t want to miss.

Even if you can’t make it out to TIFF–these films should certainly be on your radar when they hit the theaters.

hustlers 11 Must See Films At The Toronto International Film Festival That Put Women First

Image: STX.


Inspired by a 2015 New York Magazine article and directed by Lorene Scafaria, Hustlers is a dazzling story. It follows a group of fed-up exotic dancers who decide to scam their wealthy Wall Street clients, following the financial crash of 2008. Destiny (Constance Wu) is still trying to figure out her place in the club while barely scraping by when Romona (Jennifer Lopez) takes her under her wing. Together the women plan, plot and come up with a Robin Hood-like scheme to take their clients for everything they’ve got. Julia Stiles, Cardi B, Lizzo, Keke Palmer and Lili Reinhart also star.


Image: Focus Features.


We all know the story of freedom fighter, Harriet Tubman–but we’ve never seen it like this before. Eve’s Bayou director Kasi Lemmons takes us back in time to the 1840s. An enslaved woman named Minty (Cynthia Erivo) decides to risk it all one day and walk 100 miles North from her Maryland plantation to Philadelphia. However, once she has her freedom, it’s not enough. Inspired by a vision from God–Minty–now called Harriet Tubman goes against all advice and reasoning to return South for her loved ones. Amid the Fugitive Slave Law Act–Harriet would become the most dangerous woman in America.

clifton hill 11 Must See Films At The Toronto International Film Festival That Put Women First

Image: Toronto International Film Festival

Clifton Hill

We stan a psychological thriller. Tuppence Middleton stars as Abby–a young woman who returns to her hometown of Niagara Falls following the death of her mother. However, upon her arrival–a long-buried childhood memory begins to haunt her. She believes she witnessed a kidnapping all of those years ago. As Abby reunites with her younger sister, Laure (Hannah Gross), a compulsion to find out what really happened begins to take over.


Image: Toronto International Film Festival.

How To Build A Girl

Booksmart actress Beanie Feldstein stars in this quirky ’90s set film. How To Build A Girl follows Johanna Morrigan (Feldstein) who is dissatisfied with her home life. She decides to respond to a London magazine’s call for new writers and reinvent herself as Dolly Wilde. The unconventional coming-of-age story shows that sometimes getting everything you ever wished for doesn’t mean anything at all. Coky Giedroyc directed the film.

endings beginnings 11 Must See Films At The Toronto International Film Festival That Put Women First

Image: Toronto International FIlm Festival.

Endings, Beginnings 

Who doesn’t love a good love story? Endings, Beginnings centers Daphne (Shailene Woodley) a young woman slowly becoming disillusioned with finding love. However, she is determined to get her life back on track financially and romantically. Daphne meets Frank (Sebastian Stan) and Jack (Jamie Dornan)– two men she’s attracted to in wildly different ways. Frank is a bad boy while Jack seems more stable and scholarly. Though she enjoys the company of both men for a time–fate will make her choose in the end.

lucy in the sky 11 Must See Films At The Toronto International Film Festival That Put Women First

Image: Fox Searchlight.

Lucy in the Sky

Natalie Portman stars as astronaut Lucy Cola who upon returning to Earth can’t seem to stop fantasizing and obsessing about space. Her family life including her husband, Drew (Dan Stevens) are increasingly less appealing, and she finds herself drawn to the company of fellow astronaut, Mark (Jon Hamm)–a handsome divorcee. As Lucy continues to question her place in the universe–her obsessive nature begins to spiral out of control.


Image: Toronto International Film Festival.


Feminist director Sarah Gavron turns her lens on Shola (Bukky Bakray) aka Rocks. Rocks lives in London’s government housing with her little brother, Emmanuel and their single mother. She is suddenly yanked away from her girlhood when she comes home to find her mother MIA. Gavron paints a portrait of resilience in a young girl determined to do what’s best for her little brother.

atlantics 11 Must See Films At The Toronto International Film Festival That Put Women First

Image: Toronto International Film Festival.


Mati Diop’s Cannes Grand Prix–winning feature debut Atlantics tells the story of two young Senegalese lovers who are determined to seek a better life, no matter what the costs are. Ada (newcomer Mama Sané) is about to be wed to a wealthy man who doesn’t have her best interests at heart while Souleiman (first-time actor Ibrahima Traoré) is forced to set sail to find work.

abominable 11 Must See Films At The Toronto International Film Festival That Put Women First

Image: Universal.


This animated film follows a teenage girl named Yi living in Shanghai who meets a yeti named Everest. The lonely yeti has been separated from his friends. Yi embarks on an adventure to help Everest reunite with his loved ones on top of the highest mountain in the world.

However, their plan falls short when a wealthy businessman decides to kidnap Everest to make money off the yeti. The film is voiced by Chloe Bennet, Sarah Paulson, and Eddie Izzard. It took almost eight years for it to be made and it is a passion project for the director, Jill Culton, who co-wrote Monsters, Inc.


Image: Toronto International Film Festival.


Jorunn Myklebust Syversen’s second feature is a disturbing look at a Christan cult from the eyes of teenage Mirjam (Josefine Frida Pettersen). When her family begins to question her faith, Mirjam takes matters into her own hands. Disco is about what happens when you lose confidence and control and what you’re willing to do to get it back.


Image: Toronto International Film Festival.

I Am Woman 

Based on the true story of Helen Reddy whose 1971 hit single “I Am Woman” became the anthem for the woman’s movement. Directed by Unjoo Moon the film begins in 1966–following 24-year-old Helen (Cobham-Hervey) as she travels from Melbourne to New York City. However, she soon learns that as a single mother and an outsider, the male gatekeepers of the music industry aren’t about to just let her through the door.