10 Films to See at the London Film Festival 2017
The 2017 London Film Festival kicks off today with the 12-day festival filled to the brim with dramas, documentaries and everything else in between from all around the globe. But with so much to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start. That’s where we come in! Here’s our rundown of 10 films you won’t want to miss at the London Film Festival.
Battle of the Sexes
Director: Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris
Cast: Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Andrea Riseborough
They may not be the most prolific of directors in the business but duo Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris will always draw attention thanks to their brilliant debut film Little Miss Sunshine. For LFF, they’re offering up Battle of the Sexes, a comedy-drama starring Emma Stone and Steve Carell. Based on a stranger-than-fiction true story, the film follows showman Bobby Riggs (Carell) as he challenges tennis champ Billy Jean King (Stone) to a televised match believing men are better than women. As well as dealing with misogyny, King is must also deal with her sexuality as she becomes closer to the always brilliant Andrea Riseborough.
When: Saturday 7th, Monday 9th & Saturday 14th October
Call Me By Your Name
Director: Luca Guadagnino
Cast: Armie Hammer, Timothée Chalamet
One of the films heading into Oscar season with some real hype, Call Me By Your Name is an absolute must-see this LFF. Set in the summer of 1983, 17-year-old Elio (Timothée Chalamet) is spending the holidays with his family at their 17th-century villa in northern Italy. He soon meets Oliver (Armie Hammer), a doctoral student who’s working as an intern for Elio’s father. The pair soon embark on a discovery of sexual awakening. Luca Guadagnino’s film was a gigantic hit at the Sundance Festival 2017 with both leads’ performances being lauded.
When: Monday 9th, Tuesday 10th & Wednesday 11th October
Director: Andy Serkis
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Claire Foy, Hugh Bonneville, Tom Hollander
Andy Serkis’ directorial debut comes in the form of Breathe, a drama which follows the true story of Robin Cavendish (Garfield). Having embarked on a whirlwind romance with Diana (Foy), Robin and his new wife set out for Nairobi where he works as a tea broker. Soon their new life is turned upside down when he contracts polio and is given only weeks to live. Determined that her husband’s life should not be restricted by medical and social prejudice, Diana ignores all advice and breaks him out of hospital, creating an environment in which Robin can thrive and he goes on to lead a long and full life.
When: Wednesday 5th & Thursday 6th October
Director: Alexander Payne
Cast: Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig, Christophe Waltz
The issue of overpopulation on Earth is a very real one and something future generations may have to actually deal with. But Alexander Payne’s (Sideways, Nebraska) new film Downsizing deals with it in a very novel way – by simply shrinking humans down to 0364% of their normal mass and thereby using less resources and taking up much less space. Matt Damon plays Paul Safranek, an everyman who decides to abandon his stress-filled life in Omaha to get involved with a new downsized community who may be small in stature but high in riches. Joined by his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig), Paul is promised a better quality of life, but such a life is not without its challenges, and the procedure is irreversible.
When: Friday 13th, Saturday 14th & Sunday 15th October
Director: Paddy Considine
Cast: Paddy Considine, Jodie Whittaker, Tony Pitts
Having made his directorial debut in the hard-hitting Tyrannosaur, Paddy Considine is back with boxing flick Journeyman. Considine not only writes and directs the film, he also plays the film’s lead, Matty Burton, a boxing champion approaching the end of his career, who suffers a serious head injury during his last fight. After waking up from a coma, with memory loss and personality changes, Matty tries to pull his life together with the help of his partner, played by the new Doctor Who Jodie Whittaker. We expect this one to pack a real emotional punch.
When: Thursday 12th, Friday 13th & Saturday 14th October
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Director: Martin McDonagh
Cast: Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is British-Irish playwright Martin McDonagh’s third film following Seven Psychopaths and the brilliant In Bruges. Like the other two films, Three Billboards looks set to revel in sharp, jet black comedy with the film following a grieving mother (Frances McDormand) as she deals with the murder of her daughter. With the case still unsolved, she places three billboards outside her small Missouri town to catch the attention of local cops, played by Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell.
When: Sunday 15th October
The Shape of Water
Director: Guillermo Del Toro
Cast: Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Octavia Spencer
Guillermo Del Toro will always draw in the crowds, and we expect nothing less at the LFF with his new fantasy sci-fi epic, The Shape of Water. The brilliant Sally Hawkins plays Elisa, a mute woman who befriends a strange aquatic creature while working as a cleaning lady at a secret US lab. As Elisa develops a unique bond with her new friend, she soon learns that its fate and very survival lies in the hands of a hostile government agent and a marine biologist. This film has ‘cult classic’ written all over it.
When: Tuesday 10th, Wednesday 11th & Friday 13th October
The Florida Project
Director: Sean Baker
Cast: Willem Dafoe, Brooklynn Kimberly Prince, Bria Vinaite
One of this year’s Cannes Film Festival hits, The Florida Project is set entirely in and around a motel in the shadow of Disney World. It follows six-year-old Moonee (Brooklynn Kimberly Prince) as she makes the most of her tiny universe, while her mother (Bria Vinaite) finds herself exploring increasingly dangerous options as a way to keep them both alive.
When: Friday 13 & Saturday 14th October
The Final Year
Director: Greg Barker
Cast: Barrack Obama, John Kerry
HBO’s fly-on-the wall documentary about the last 12 months of the Obama administration is bound to provoke some political debate if nothing else. Director Greg Barker gained some rare access to members of Obama’s foreign policy team during their final year as they set out to define their legacy, promote diplomacy – and react to the unexpected rise of Donald Trump.
When: Wednesday 5th & Thursday 6th October
Director: Toa Fraser
Cast: Jamie Bell, Mark Strong, Abbie Cornish
Set in 1980, this London-set terrorism thriller has plenty of relevance today despite its true story origins. 6 Days stars Mark Strong as the hostage negotiator brought in when six gunmen take control of the Iranian Embassy, while Jamie Bell heads up the SAS team drafted in to deal with the assailants.
When: Tuesday 10th, Thursday 12th & Sunday 15th October
For the full London Film Festival schedule and info on how to get tickets, head over to the BFI Website.