30 TIFF 2019 Rush Line Worthy Films

Looking to discover the best 2019 TIFF rush line worthy films?

Yesterday morning the Toronto International Film Festival launched its 2019 program. This year the TIFF schedule features 333 films from over 80 countries!

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I set my alarm for the crack of dawn, excited to read over the entire TIFF 2019 film schedule from A to Z. What would the world’s finest filmmakers bring to Toronto this awards season?

It took me over 12 hours to read through the synopsis for each film in the TIFF 2019 lineup, so you don’t have to! I crafted a detailed list of my top picks then whittled down 80 promising titles to a shortlist of 30 must-see films at this years Toronto International Film Festival.

Best TIFF Hotels

If you’re visiting Toronto for TIFF here are three hotels within walking distance of the TIFF Bell Lightbox.

You could spend TIFF celeb-spotting but why not find the best rush line worthy films of 2019?
You could spend TIFF celeb-spotting but why not find the best rush line worthy films of 2019?

Guide to TIFF 2019 Rush Lines

I’m always amazed at the misinformed people who say “there’s no way I’m going to be able to purchase a TIFF ticket during the festival they all sell out in advance.” WRONG!

While many of the most buzzed-about films sell out in advance, every day of the TIFF 2019 festival there will be many screenings that have available tickets. Many film companies buy swaths of tickets to entertain guests, offer as prize giveaways and gift to friends and family of the film. The night before a screening batches of tickets can often be released. So don’t give up hope!

If you’re really keen to see a particular film you may have to wait in a TIFF rush line. Arrive to the venue early, 3-4 hours before the film starts. If you’re standing near the front of the line you have a good chance of getting into the screening, but there’s no guarantee.

Films are placed on a TIFF rush line status when there is no inventory left on the day of a screening. If right before the screening, the venue staff determines there are empty seats, they will admit individuals from the rush line to purchase tickets.

Visitors may hold a spot in line, one for themselves and one other person. There is never a guarantee that those waiting in line will get in. TIFF rush lines are first come, first served. If the first person in line does not get into the film they were originally hoping for, they can remain in line and be first in line for the next film. 

There is standard 2019 TIFF rush line pricing for anyone admitted, $25 per ticket for regular screenings and $45 per ticket for premium screenings.

Researching TIFF 2019's Rush Line Worthy Films.
Researching TIFF 2019’s Rush Line Worthy Films.

30 TIFF 2019 Rush Line Worthy Films

Keen to secure the most coveted TIFF 2019 tickets in advance? Or perhaps you identify as last minute shopper happy to wait in rush lines? These 30 films are your best bets at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival!

Read Our Favourite Books On Film…

A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood

A jaded journalist (Matthew Rhys) reluctantly accepts an Esquire assignment to profile the children’s television host Fred Rogers (Tom Hanks), and encounters a profoundly empathetic world view that changes his life forever. Sure to be TIFF 2019’s candidate for feel-good tear jerker.

American Son

Kerry Washington reprises the role she originated on Broadway in Kenny Leon’s adaptation of Christopher Demos-Brown’s play about an interracial couple whose 19-year-old son may have died at the hands of police.


Marginalized young lovers in Senegal desperately seek a better life by any means necessary, in this highly anticipated, Cannes Grand Prix–winning feature debut from Mati Diop. The film landed in Cannes competition and picked up the Jury Grand Prize, making Diop the first Black woman to win an award in the French festival’s 72-year history.


A terminally ill mother (Susan Sarandon) invites her family to their country house for one final gathering, but tensions quickly boil over between her two daughters (Kate Winslet and Mia Wasikowska), in Roger Michell’s remake of the award-winning 2014 Danish film Silent Heart.


A death row prison warden (Alfre Woodard) grapples with the psychological fallout of her job following years of executions, in Chinonye Chukwu’s Sundance Grand Jury Prize–winning drama.

Coming Home Again

A Korean American man cares for his ailing mother while trying to master her traditional cooking in the latest from Wayne Wang (The Joy Luck Club), based on Chang-rae Lee’s New Yorker short story.

Ford v Ferrari

James Mangold directs Matt Damon and Christian Bale in this high-speed biographical drama that pits an underdog team of American automotive engineers against Ferrari in the 1966 “24 Hours of Le Mans” endurance race.


Tony-winning Broadway actor Cynthia Erivo stars in Kasi Lemmons’ inspiring biopic about renowned abolitionist Harriet Tubman, who escaped slavery and risked her life to lead others to freedom through the network of safehouses known as the Underground Railroad.


Inspired by a 2015 New York Magazine article that went viral, Hustlers follows a savvy crew of former strippers who band together to turn the tables on their Wall Street clients. Starring Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Stiles and Cardi B.


Todd Phillips’ standalone origin story of an iconic arch-nemesis stars Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck, a man disregarded by society. Joker is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale. A TIFF 2019 rush line-worthy film for Batman fans!


Oscar winner Renée Zellweger delivers a note-perfect performance as Judy Garland during the last year of her life, in Rupert Goold’s moving adaptation of the stage play End of the Rainbow.

Jojo Rabbit

Taika Waititi directs a riotous cast including Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Johansson and Rebel Wilson in this daring, touching, and comedic satire about a young German boy who discovers a Jewish girl hiding in his home and consults with his imaginary best friend, Adolf Hitler.

Just Mercy

Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, and Brie Larson star in the powerful true story of Harvard-educated lawyer Bryan Stevenson, who goes to Alabama to defend the disenfranchised and wrongly condemned — including Walter McMillian, a man sentenced to death despite evidence proving his innocence. Bryan fights tirelessly for Walter with the system stacked against them.

Knives Out

Director Rian Johnson (Star Wars: The Last JediLooper) assembles an all-star cast — Daniel Craig, Toni Collette, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ana de Armas, Chris Evans, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, and LaKeith Stanfield — in this intelligent whodunit about a famed southern detective (Craig) who joins forces with local police to investigate a group of eccentric suspects following the murder of a wealthy crime novelist (Christopher Plummer).

Lucy in the Sky

After returning to earth, an obsessive astronaut (Natalie Portman) begins to question her place in the universe — including her relationships with her gentle husband (Dan Stevens) and her alluring crewmate (Jon Hamm) — in the debut feature from accomplished television showrunner Noah Hawley (FargoLegion).

Marriage Story

Academy Award nominee Noah Baumbach’s incisive and compassionate portrait of a marriage breaking up, and a family staying together, stars Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver, and co-stars Laura Dern, Alan Alda, and Ray Liotta.

Motherless Brooklyn

Edward Norton wrote, directed, produced and stars in this 1950s-set crime drama, about a private detective living with Tourette syndrome who ventures to solve the murder of his mentor and best friend — a mystery that carries him from the gin-soaked jazz clubs of Harlem to the slums of Brooklyn to the gilded halls of New York’s power brokers.


A family of cunning derelicts scheme to enter a wealthy household’s employ in this genre-bending, Palme d’Or–winning thriller of class struggle from South Korean master Bong Joon-ho (OkjaSnowpiercer).

Pain and Glory

An aging filmmaker (Antonio Banderas) grapples with an uncertain future and the circumstances that shaped his successful but troubled life, in Pedro Almodóvar’s self-reflexive consideration of identity and desire.

37 Seconds

A young Japanese woman with cerebral palsy is torn between her obligations to her family and her dream of becoming a successful manga artist, in director Hikari’s Berlinale Audience Award–winning feature debut.

Sound of Metal

Darius Marder establishes a strong cinematic voice with his debut feature, about a heavy-metal drummer (Riz Ahmed) who starts to lose his hearing and consequently begins to re-evaluate his place in the world.

The Aeronauts

The Theory of Everything costars Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones reunite for Tom Harper’s high-flying tale about a 19th-century scientist and hot-air balloonist making altitudinal and meteorological history.

The Goldfinch

Theo Decker (Ansel Elgort) was only 13 when his mother died in a museum bombing, sending him on an odyssey of grief and guilt, reinvention and redemption. Through it all, he holds on to one tangible piece of hope from that terrible day: a priceless painting of a bird chained to its perch, The Goldfinch. The latest from John Crowley (Brooklyn) is based on Donna Tartt’s bestselling novel and stars Nicole Kidman who dazzled last years festival with performances in Destroyer and Boy Erased.

The Laundromat

Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman, and Antonio Banderas star in Steven Soderbergh’s guided tour through the corrupt and secret world of financial crime that was exposed by the infamous Panama Papers leak.

The Report

In this searing political thriller from screenwriter Scott Z. Burns, Adam Driver stars as a dogged investigator who’s tapped by the US Senate to probe the CIA’s use of torture tactics after 9/11.

The Lighthouse

Shot on 35mm black-and-white film, this psychological thriller from Robert Eggers follows the slow descent into madness of two lighthouse keepers (Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson) on a remote New England island at the turn of the 19th century.

The Obituary of Tunde Johnson

A gay African American teenager is forced to relive, over and over again, the day he is shot and killed at the hands of the police, in Ali LeRoi’s incisive and urgent feature debut. Likely to be one of the best gay TIFF films of 2019, an absolute must-see for fans of Moonlight.

The Two Popes

In 2013, progressive incoming Pope Francis (Jonathan Pryce) and conservative outgoing Pope Benedict (Anthony Hopkins) debate the best path forward for the Catholic Church, in this surprisingly funny chamber piece from Oscar-nominated director Fernando Meirelles (City of God).

Uncut Gems

From acclaimed filmmakers Josh and Benny Safdie comes an electrifying crime thriller about Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler), a charismatic New York City jeweller always on the lookout for the next big score. When he makes a series of high-stakes bets that could lead to the windfall of a lifetime, Howard must perform a precarious high-wire act, balancing business, family, and encroaching adversaries on all sides, in his relentless pursuit of the ultimate win.

Wasp Network

Starring Edgar Ramírez, Penélope Cruz, and Gael García Bernal, this political thriller from Olivier Assayas follows the increasingly complex lives of Cuban dissidents during the country’s 1990s post–Soviet Union economic collapse.

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  1. Great choices. I too have spent 2 days pouring over the films and am proud to say I came up with most of yours..cant wait to see which ones I can get with my package…enjoy.