With festival news breaking daily, this is the cinephile’s favorite time of year. There has been considerable news about the Venice Film Festival, with several films already announced. London Film Festival announced its opening film is “Widows.” New York Film Festival’s been busy grabbing “ROMA” and “The Favourite” as well. Now, Toronto Film Festival is starting to get in the game with “Ben is Back” announcing the World Premiere.
“Ben is Back” is the first film to make its official Toronto Film Festival announcement. The film stars the very busy Lucas Hedges, who will also appear in “Boy Erased” and “Mid90s” this year. Julia Roberts and Courtney B. Vance play Hedges parents. Peter Hedges, Lucas’ father, directs the film. Peter Hedges worked on the screenplays for “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” and “About a Boy,” which earned him an Oscar nomination. He also has directed a few films, with “Pieces of April” as his biggest film. With a Toronto debut, the film positions itself as an Oscar player.
Lionsgate released an official synopsis.
19-year-old Ben Burns (Lucas Hedges) unexpectedly returns home to his family’s suburban home on Christmas Eve morning. Ben’s mother, Holly (Julia Roberts), is relieved and welcoming but wary of her son staying clean. Over a turbulent 24 hours, new truths are revealed, and a mother’s undying love for her son is tested as she does everything in her power to keep him safe. “Ben is Back” also stars Courtney B. Vance (The People V. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story) and Kathryn Newton (Lady Bird).