More prestigious and established than the “cooler” Tribeca Film Festival, which was co-founded by Robert De Niro in the early aughts, the New York Film Festival is just about to kick off.
The 60th iteration of the movie fête, presented by Film at Lincoln Center, will take over theaters in the five boroughs from September 30 through October 16.
There’s loads to see—which is why we’ve broken it all down for you.
Here are the 18 must-see films at this year’s New York Film Festival.
Noah Baumbach adapts Don DeLillo’s eponymous 1985 novel for the big screen, casting Adam Driver as Jack Gladney, a “Hitler studies” professor and father of four married to the secretive Babette, an impeccable Greta Gerwig. Following a toxic accident that may lead to an ecological catastrophe, the Gladney family scrambles to find peace in this oddly funny exploration of the horrors of consumerism.
All the Beauty and the Bloodshed
This documentary by the Academy Award-winning Laura Poitras of Citizenfour fame explores both the downfall of the Sackler family, founders of the pharmaceutical companies that many associate with the opiod epidemic, and the life and career of artist Nan Goldin, who fought against said companies.
In his first cinematic starring role, actor Jeremy Pope takes on the part of Ellis French, a gay Marine Corp in a boot camp on Parris Island in South Carolina who becomes the target of hazing practices from training instructor Leland Laws (Bokeem Woodbine) and recruit Laurence Harvey (Raúl Castillo) because of his sexual orientation. Gabrielle Union stars as Ellis’ mother, Inez French.
Armageddon Time is set in Queens in 1980, when sixth grader Paul Graff (Banks Repeta) dreams of becoming an artist while striking a friendship with his Black classmate Johnny (Jaylin Webb), who is dealing with a racist teacher. Jeremy Strong and Anne Hathaway star as Graff’s parents, worried about their son while trying to navigate their Jewish-American identities in New York. The great Anthony Hopkins plays Graff’s grandfather, whom he shares a very close bond with.
Scottish director Charlotte Wells’ debut is inspired by her own beautiful relationship with her father. The entire film takes place at a coastal resort in Turkey, where a divorced father and his daughter spend an entire weekend and where they are often mistaken for siblings.
Although inspired by a true story, A Couple is a work of fiction based on countess Sophia Behrs’ own diaries and her husband Leo Tolstoy’s letters to his beloved. Structured as a series of monologues, the piece focuses on the couple’s 48-year-long marriage, which kicked off when he was 34 and she was 18, their 13 children and Behrs’ own identity as an artist.
Decision to Leave
When a middle-aged businessman mysteriously falls to his death during a rock climbing expedition, Busan detective Hae-joon can’t seem to shake off the case. Add to it all the fact that the detective starts falling for the businessman’s abused wife, a Chinese national, and you’ve got yourself a can’t-look-away-from-this thriller.
Joel Edgerton is Narvel Roth, the head horticulturist at Gracewood Gardens, the historic estate of one Norma Haverhill (a great Sigourney Weaver). When Haverhill’s grand-niece, Maya (Quintessa Swindell), shows up, though, the balance between the two characters shifts, potentially affecting the future of Gracewood Gardens.
One Fine Morning
One Fine Morning follows the lives of single mother and professional translator Sandra (Léa Seydoux), who cares for her aging father (Pascal Greggory) while romantically linked to a clearly unavailable married dad (Melvil Poupaud).
Michelle Williams makes her return to the big screen as Lizzy Carr, a sculptor on the verge of an artistic breakthrough while working on her latest gallery show and dealing with her job at an art school, a fragmented family and more. This is the fourth collaboration between Williams and director Kelly Reichardt. The two previously worked together on Wendy and Lucy, Meek’s Cutoff and Certain Women.
Cate Blanchett astounds in this portrayal of the fictional Lydia Tár, one of the most renowned conductors in the world and the first-ever female chief conductor of a major German orchestra. Noémie Merlant stars as Tár’s assistant while Nina Hoss plays concertmaster Sharon Goodnow, also Tár’s wife.
Triangle of Sadness
This pretty funny movie earned Swedish director Ruben Östlund his second Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and for good reason: the movie follows two good looking young models as they embark on a a satirical romance that eventually leads them on a cruise for the super-rich. The movie is also Östlund’s English-language feature film debut.
Bones and All
Call Me by Your Name director Luca Guadagnino reunites with Timothée Chamalet in this adaptation of the eponymous novel by Camille DeAngelis. The film also stars Taylor Russell as Maren, a teenager who moves to a small town in Virginia with her father (André Holland) but soon runs away again by herself.
Personality Crisis: One Night Only
Martin Scorsese does it again, this time focusing his camera on iconic American singer-songwriter David Johansen, the leader of the 1970s punk band The New York Dolls. But there’s much more to Johansen than his music—as made clear by the first few minutes of Scorsese’s documentary, which features new and archival interviews, concert recordings and more.
Chronicling what many deem to be the kickoff to the #MeToo movement, She Said stars Zoe Kazan and Carey Mulligan as New York Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, who broke the story for the paper back in 2017. Based on the best-selling book written by the journalists themselves, the film looks at the decades of sexual harassment and assault that have defined the Hollywood industry.
The New York Film Festival is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the legendary science fiction film Solaris with a special screening featuring live musical accompaniment. Expect a newly created score that was specifically commissioned for the event. As a refresher, the film focuses on scientist Chris Kelvin (Donatas Banionis) as he travels to a space station “whose inhabitants have been attempting to make contact with the mysterious planet Solaris,” reads an official synopsis.
Nigerian-American Chinonye Chukwu directs this heartbreaking film that tells the real-life story of Mamie Till-Mobley (Danielle Deadwyler), the American activist and educator that fought for justice following the 1955 lynching of her 14-year-old son Emmett Till (Jalyn Hall). Whoopi Goldberg, Frankie Faison and Haley Bennett round out the cast.
Among the plenty of standout aspects characterizing Sarah Polley’s film Women Talking is the excellent cast, which includes Jessie Buckley, Claire Foy, Rooney Mara and Frances McDormand, among others. The movie is an adaptation of Miriam Toews’ novel of the same name about a group of women that are part of a remote religious community dealing with the consequences of sexual assaults carried forward by the group’s men.
Ex-Brit turned Manhattan resident since 2008.