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A Day in the Life of TIFF – Day 3: Lion, A Monster Calls

Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara at Lion

Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara at Lion

It wouldn’t be TIFF without a little rain.  However, it didn’t seem to dampen spirits along Festival Street.  Today, as well as the requisite premieres, there was also a special performance by Pharrell, who was in town promoting the upcoming Hidden Figures.  It made for an extra crowded downtown area (add a Toronto Blue Jays game in there for 47,000 extra bodies in the core), but despite the colliding umbrellas, the rush of the festival still hasn’t worn off.

The afternoon premiere Saturday was for J.A Bayona‘s A Monster Calls.  Based on the novel by Patrick Ness, the story follows a young boy (Lewis MacDougall) who while facing the loss of his mother (Felicity Jones) calls upon a monster (voiced by Liam Neeson) to help him cope.  The film was well received, also creating the need for lots of tissues in the theatre.  At its end, the cast, including also Sigourney Weaver, enjoyed a standing ovation and praised MacDougall for his work.

Roy Thomson Hall continued the premieres with Disney’s Queen of Katwe (with Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo in attendance) and Natalie Portman‘s newest (one of two at the festival), Planetarium.  Portman is already garnering buzz for an Oscar this year… However not for this film, but for Jackie, which premieres

At the Princess of Wales theatre, Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara and Dev Patel were all in attendance for Lion, the true story of a lost Indian boy who managed to find his family decades later through the magic of Google maps.  The film enjoyed a lengthy standing ovation at the end, visibly moving Patel.  Patel should enjoy his time here at the festival, considering Slumdog Millionaire came to be of note after winning the People’s Choice award at the festival in 2008.

The final premiere of the night went to The Bleeder, a biographical sports film telling the story of Chuck Wepner (Liev Schreiber) and his boxing match with champion Muhammad Ali (Pooch Hall).  The film also stars Elisabeth Moss and Naomi Watts, both of whom were in attendance.

Sunday looks to be a busy red carpet day, with the premiere of Sing expected to bring Matthew McConaughey, Scarlett Johansson and Reese Witherspoon to town.  Stay tuned!

Check out all of our TIFF coverage.

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