Books on Film at TIFF 2018

September 6, 2018 | Viveca

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The Toronto International Film Festival is on from September 6 - 16.  Torontonians are avid readers - and fierce filmgoers.  Check out the best of both worlds with these great reads available at the Toronto Public Library - and a sneak peek at their film adaptations now premiering at TIFF.   

Updated:  Creators of Three Films Discuss the Challenges of Putting a Book on Screen

The Hate U Give / Directed by George Tillmann Jr. / Starring Amandla Stenberg, Lamar Johnson, Common


The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Black Lives Matter, Tupac, and the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air focus heavily in this powerful coming of age story. Starr, a black teenager from a tough neighbourhood marred by gang violence and drugs, attends an affluent, predominately white high school. The delicate balance between her two worlds is shaken when her friend is shot by the police during a traffic stop. This award-winning young adult novel will also appeal to adult readers. Amandla Stenberg (Rue from the The Hunger Games) stars in the film adaptation.  

Beautiful Boy / Directed by Felix van Groeningen / Starring Timothée Chalamet, Steve Carell, Amy Ryan


Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction by David Sheff

This memoir chronicles a father's journey dealing with his young son's addiction to methamphetamines. Steve Carell (in another non-comedic role) and Timothée Chalamet star as father and son in the film, Beautiful Boy, based on his memoir of a family in crisis.  Chalamet was the young breakout star of Call Me By Your Name.


Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines by Nic Sheff

This is the companion memoir for Beautiful Boy - but chronicled from the son's point of view. 


Boy Erased / Directed by Joel Edgerton / Starring Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, Lucas Hedges

Boy Erased

Boy Erased:  A Memior by Garrard Conley

A survivor of religious sexual-orientation conversion "therapy" recounts his harrowing experiences in this heartbreaking autobiography. 


Widows / Directed by Steve McQueen / Starring Viola Davis, Daniel Kaluuya, Liam Neeson, Jacki Weaver, Colin Farrell, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo


Widows by Lynda La Plante

A gang of criminals are killed during an armed-robbery.  Their widows plot to carry out the heist, taking sisters doing it for themselves to a new level.   There was a British television series based on La Plante's book - currently unavailable on DVD. 


Galveston / Directed by Mélanie Laurent / Starring Elle Fanning, Ben Foster, Lili Reinhart, María Valverde 

Late-breaking news:  all screenings of Galveston have been cancelled at TIFF.  According to organizers, it is because the director and cast are unable to attend the screening which is a requirement for participants.  


Galveston by Nic Pizzolatto

Roy, a dying ex-con, and Rocky, a young prostitute, end up on the run from New Orleans to Texas in this noir western.  Ben Foster, with his award-winning role in Hell or High Water, is becoming the darling of this genre. 


Old Man and The Gun / Directed by David Lowery / Starring Robert Redford, Sissy Spacek, Danny Glover, Tom Waits, Elisabeth Moss, Casey Affleck


The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Madness, Murder and Obsession by David Grann

The Old Man and the Gun is based on an essay about bank robber and career criminal, Forest Tucker, who escaped over 18 times from prison after being incarcerated at the age of 15. The old man is played by vintage old man, Robert Redford. 


If Beale Street Could Talk / Directed by Barry Jenkins / Starring Kiki Lane, Stephen James, Regina King, Colman Domingo


If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin

Set in Harlem in the 1970s, a pregnant woman fights to free her husband from jail after he is falsely accused of rape in this novel by literary giant, James Baldwin.  Watch for the talented Canadian actor, Stephen James, who starred in the film, Race.  The title is taken from W.C. Handy's song Beale Street Blues, performed best by Armstrong. 


 The Sisters Brothers / Directed by Jacques Audiard / Starring Joaquin Phoenix, John C. Reilly, Jake Gyllenhaal, Riz Ahmed 

Sisters Brothers

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt

This darkly comic western set in 1851 follows the travels of Eli and Charlie Sisters, two assassins hired to murder Hermann Warm, a gold prospector. This Canadian bestseller won the Governor General's Award and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Scotiabank Giller Prize. 


Can You Ever Forgive Me? / Directed by Marielle Heller  / Starring Melissa McCarthy, Richard E. Grant, Jane Curtain


Can You Ever Forgive Me? Memoirs of a Literary Forger by Lee Israel

Lee Israel's memoir chronicles her life as a literary forger and thief. She fabricated celebrity letters (shocking) and stole and resold valuable documents from libraries (gasp) and archives. 


First Man / Directed by Damien Chazelle / Starring Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Lukas Haas, Cory Stoll


First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong by James R. Hansen 

This authorized biography covers the life of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon.  Ryan "Hey, Girl" Gosling plays Armstrong.  Watch for Her Majesty, Claire Foy, from the television series The Crown as Armstrong's wife.   


 Hold the Dark / Directed by Jeremy Saulnier / Starring Jeffrey Wright, Alexander Skarsgård, Riley Keough (Elvis Presley's grandchild)


Hold the Dark by William Giraldi

Wolf expert Russell Core has been called in to assist with the investigation into the disappearance of children from a remote town in Alaska.  Please consult this handy Guide to the Skarsgård Clan if you are not sure which Skarsgård is in this film.  


 The Front Runner / Directed by Jason Reitman / Starring Hugh Jackman, Vera Farmiga, J.K Simmons


All the Truth is Out: The Week Politics Went Tabloid by Matt Bai

Written by a former New York Times Magazine chief political correspondent, this book covers the rise and spectacular fall of Colorado Senator Gary Hart, who in 1988 was poised to win the Democrat party’s presidential nomination before he was derailed by a sex scandal.  


Wildlife / Directed by Paul Dano / Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Carey Mulligan, Ed Oxenbould


Wildlife by Richard Ford

Set in the 1960s, 16-year-old, Joe Brinson watches his family unravel after a big move to Montana where his mother falls in love with another man. Director Paul Dano is a talented young actor that you may remember from Little Miss Sunshine. 


Out of Blue / Directed by Carol Morley / Starring Patricia Clarkson, James Caan, Toby Jones, Mamie Gummer. [no trailer available yet]

Night Train

Night Train by Martin Amis

Mike Hoolihan, a female detective struggling with alcoholism and a traumatic past, is tasked with investigating the suicide of a female astrophysicist. The film adaptation has been renamed Out of Blue. 


A Million Little Pieces / Directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson / Starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Billy Bob Thornton, Odessa Young [no trailer available yet]


A Million Little Pieces by James Frey

Frey's memoir about his addiction to crack was mired in controversy. The accuracy of certain events in his story was challenged, sparking discussions about the shifting lines between fact and fiction in biographical writing.  This book was an Oprah Book Club selection - she publicly flattened Frey after the controversy surfaced.  One does not simply upset Oprah. 


While it's not based on a book, we cannot omit mention of Emilio Estevez' TIFF premiere, The Public about a sit-in at a public library.

It stars Estevez, Alec Baldwin, Taylor Schilling, Jeffrey Wright, Jena Malone, Gabrielle Union, Christian Slater, and Michael K. Williams (Omar, from The Wire



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