The Philadelphia Film Festival announced its lineup today, including its opening- and closing-night films, both of which veer into black comedy. The 26th annual film fete will take place Oct. 19-29 at the Prince Theater, the Ritz East, and the Ritz Five.
Opening the festival is I, Tonya, a dramedy about the life and times of figure skater Tonya Harding, played by Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street, Suicide Squad). The film is framed as a documentary — think The Office or Best in Show — and follows Harding from the trailer park with her foulmouthed mother (played by Allison Janney, who is already generating Oscar buzz) to the skating arena to the infamous Nancy Kerrigan hit that would define her life from there on out. The film debuted at the Toronto Film Festival where its performances — especially from Janney and Robbie — were given high praise, as well as the way the movie balanced its comedic tone with the way it portrayed the facts and still grounded Harding in humanity.
Closing the festival this year is Martin McDonagh's Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. The writer-director behind In Bruges turns his lens to the American heartland where an angry, grieving mother calls out the cops — via billboard — in her small Missouri town after the investigation into her daughter's rape and murder stalls. The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival, where it was met with a standing ovation.
Other highlights of the festival include three Philadelphia-shot archival screenings from the late, great Jonathan Demme, including, Beloved, Neil Young Trunk Show, and Philadelphia; WWII drama Darkest Hour; Greta Gerwig's coming-of-ager Lady Bird; the much-talked-about The Florida Project; and Todd Haynes reunion with muse Julianne Moore in Wonderstruck.
Tickets to the festival go on sale Friday for Philadelphia Film Festival members. The general public has its shot at screenings starting Monday. Tickets may be purchased through the festival website, www.filmadelphia.org/festival, or in-person at the Main Box Office at the Prince Theater.
The full lineup is below.