Back-To-Back Premieres Of ‘Glass Onion’ & ‘The Fabelmans’ Evoke Best Pre-Covid Memories In Glorious TIFF Night

·4 min read

My favorite Toronto premiere memory was the one where eventual Best Picture winner Spotlight played to a raucous crowd reaction at the Princess of Wales Theatre, the emotion ratcheted up even further when the Boston Globe journalists who cracked the Catholic Church pedophile scandals took the stage and stood next to the actors who played them onscreen. It has been several years since TIFF has been able to show why this is such a special festival, because of the Covid epidemic and Canada’s protective lockdown of its borders. Last night marked a turning point for TIFF as a preeminent showcase for awards season movies, with the back to back Princess of Wales Theatre world premieres of Netflix’s Rian Johnson-directed Knives Out sequel Glass Onion, followed by the premiere of Amblin/Universal’s Steven Spielberg love letter to his family and a movie camera, The Fabelmans. Both of these films land squarely in the awards conversation.

The evening began with Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, a film that fired on all cylinders, and which crackled with a fabulous script and sharp performances. The film stars Daniel Craig, Janelle Monaet, Edward Norton, Leslie Odom Jr., Kate Hudson, Kathryn Hahn, Dave Bautista, Madelyn Cline, Jessica Henwick and Ethan Hawke, and most of them graced the stage for a lively Q&A about what it was like to be quarantined on a deserted island paradise, constructing a meticulous whodunit during the Covid lockdown. When the post-movie chatter is about how Netflix got its money’s worth for the $450 million it paid for two of these sequels, along with guesstimations of the global gross the film might have put up had Netflix given it a full blown theatrical release with a P&A spend before landing on the streamer, you know you’ve done well.

More from Deadline

We cleared out of the theater, got back on line and returned for Spielberg’s movie. After the exhilarating Glass Onion, would it be a disappointment by comparison? No chance. The movie is closer to a subtle Spielberg effort like Bridge of Spies than some of his films. Many filmmakers have tried to convey their love of cinema in movies not about them. Spielberg went right at his personal story with a thinly veiled film autobiography that sketched the complexities of finding his path to an art form at which he became arguably the best of all time. That included family strife, anti-Semitism, a first love and the challenge growing up with a father who was a genius in math and science, and a mother who was wired to be an artist. Paul Dano and Michelle Williams shine as the parents, as do Seth Rogen and Judd Hirsch as formative male influences. Then there is the put-me-on-the-map performance by Gabriel LaBelle. The latter charmed the Q&A audience with the tale of how he got the job playing the younger version of Spielberg: he crushed his audition, and the next thing he knew, he was reading his story break here on Deadline. We have glowing reviews of both of the films, but sometimes it seems worth it to simply note a special night when it happens, when the industry still scarred by the years we spent quarantined is given a chance to recall the special memories of discovering great movies at a great festival.

There have been numerous bright spot films including The Woman King, and more to come — the Jessica Chastain-Eddie Redmayne-starrer The Good Nurse, the Harry Styles drama My Policeman, are all bowing shortly. There might also be some acquisitions of films playing at the festival. But Saturday night was one for the books.

Best of Deadline

Sign up for Deadline's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Click here to read the full article.