10 Films to See at the London Film Festival 2018
The 2018 London Film Festival kicks off next Wednesday (10th October) 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.
Director: Steve McQueen
Cast: Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Colin Farrell, Daniel Kaluuya, Robert Duvall, Liam Neeson
Four years after 12 Years A Slave won best picture at the Oscars, Steve McQueen is finally returning to the big screen with Widows, co-written by ‘Gone Girl’ author Gillian Flynn. Adapted from Lynda La Plante’s 1983 TV hit, Widows stars Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, and Cynthia Erivo as four women who decide to finish the heist that killed their four husbands. Its opening gala premiere is invite-only annoyingly, but all further screenings are open to us porpers.
When: Thursday 11th & Friday 12th October
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Director: Coen Brothers
Cast: Tim Blake Nelson, James Franco, Liam Neeson, Tom Waits, Zoe Kazan, Brendan Gleeson
Anything Joel and Ethan put their name to is always going to be on our ‘must watch’ list and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is no different. The film was actually originally meant to be a mini-series for Netflix, telling six offbeat tales from the old American west. But for some reason we’re still not sure of, it’s morphed into one standalone anthology movie. Being the Coens, expect jet black humour and off-beat slapstick.
When: Friday 12th, Saturday 13th & Sunday 21st October
Director: Luca Guadagnino
Cast: Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Mia Goth, Angela Winkler, Ingrid Caven, Chloë Grace Moretz
A remake of the 1977 horror film, Suspiria is Luca Guadagnino’s first film since the brilliant Call Me By Your Name. And it couldn’t be anymore different. Ballerina Susie (50 Shades of Grey’s Dakota Johnson) heads to Berlin to interview for a prestigious dance troupe. But its enigmatic leader Madame Blanc (Tilda Swinton) is harbouring a dark secret. Featuring a disturbing soundtrack from Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and some graphic body horror intertwined throughout, Suspiria isn’t for the faint-hearted.
When: Tuesday 16th, Wednesday 17th & Friday 19th October
Stan & Ollie
Director: Jon S Baird
Cast: Steve Coogan, John C Reilly, Nina Arianda, Shirley Henderson, Danny Huston
Steve Coogan and John C Reilly star as Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy in this biopic of the iconic comedy duo. Once the world’s favourite double act, but now diminished by age, Laurel & Hardy set out on a variety hall tour of Britain in 1953 with disastrous consequences. Of course there’ll be laughs but judging from the trailer, Coogan and Reilly look on real heart-tugging form. The film will be closing the festival this year at Embankment Garden Cinema, for which tickets are restricted to BFI members, but mere mortals can catch it just an hour later at the Curzon Mayfair.
When: Sunday 21st October
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Cast: Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone, Nicholas Hoult, Joe Alwyn, James Smith, Mark Gatiss
If you saw Yorgos Lanthimos’ oddball The Lobster back in 2015, you’ll know not to expect a period drama akin to Downton from his next project. While you will get grand costumes, The Favourite in as an absurdist comedy with a lesbian twist depicting the close relationship between Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) and Sarah Churchill (Rachel Weisz), which is threatened by the arrival of Sarah’s cousin, Abigail Masham (Emma Stone), who also craves the affections of said Queen.
When: Thursday 18th, Friday 19th & Sunday 21st October
The Man Who Killed Don Quixote
Director: Terry Gilliam
Cast: Adam Driver, Jonathan Pryce, Joana Ribeiro, Stellan Skarsgård
If a film takes 25 years to make, it has to be good, right? That’s what we’re hoping anyway when Terry Gilliam’s The Man Who Killed Don Quixote finally hits the big screen at the LFF18. Gilliam stalwart Jonathan Pryce plays a method actor convinced he really is the Man of La Mancha, much to the bewilderment of his director, played by the brilliant Adam Driver. Expect plenty of slapstick and loads of Python-like gags.
When: Tuesday 16th, Wednesday 17th & Saturday 20th October
Director: Felix Van Groeningen
Cast: Steve Carell, Timothée Chalamet, Maura Tierney and Amy Ryan
If you’re after something that will almost certainly be in the fold come awards season, look no further than Felix Van Groeningen’s Beautiful Boy. Starring last year’s breakout performer Timothée Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name, Lady Bird) and Steve Carell, the film tells a true story of drug addiction and a father’s attempt to help the recovery of his son.
When: Saturday 13th, Sunday 14th & Tuesday 16th October
If Beale Street Could Talk
Director: Barry Jenkins
Cast: Kiki Layne, Stephan James, Colman Domingo, Teyonah Parris, Dave Franco, Diego Luna
Another one to watch out for come Oscar night is the latest film from writer-director Barry Jenkins. Following his Academy-winning Moonlight, Jenkins’ next project is an adaptation of James Baldwin’s 1974 novel, which follows the love story following Tish (KiKi Layne) and Fonny (Stephan James), lovers who grew up as childhood friends in Harlem but are torn apart when Fonny is dragged off to prison for a crime he didn’t commit.
When: Saturday 20th & Sunday 21st October
They Shall Not Grow Old
Director: Peter Jackson
Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson brings previously unseen footage from World War I to life in an incredible new documentary, which uses hand-colourised film from the Imperial War Museum. The film will be simultaneously screened at the BFI Southbank, one in 2D and one in 3D.
When: Tuesday 16th October
I Used to Be Normal: A Boyband Fangirl Story
Director: Jessica Leski
For a more irreverent (but no less emotional) documentary, check out Jessica Leski’s I Used to Be Normal which looks back at the history of boyband fandom. The film centres on four fangirls from different generations (aged 14-64), each with diverse backgrounds and each with differing boy band preferences – namely The Beatles, Backstreet Boys, Take That and One Direction. Judging from the trailer, it look like a real crowd-pleaser.
When: Friday 19th & Sunday 21st October
If you’re more of a bar Joe, check out our complete guide for this week’s London Cocktail Festival!