Four law-themed movies at TIFF // City Brief

The Judge at TIFF
TIFF starts tomorrow, and four of the best films feature lawyers. Here's what you need to know

By Breann Kirincich

On Wednesday September 3rd, 2014

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It’s that time of year again, when the red carpets get rolled out, champagne flows like water and A-List celebrities fill the streets of Toronto. TIFF, the Toronto International Film Festival, is back in town.

This year’s festival is bigger than ever. And you know what that means: prime opportunities for celebrity stalking. (I’d recommend hitting up the Ritz Carlton or the Shangri-La lobby. You might have to shell out $18 for a cocktail, but that brief glimpse of Brad Pitt’s left sideburn will be totally worth it.)

If, however, you prefer actually watching the films, there are over 300 offerings from over 60 countries. Whether you want an early glimpse at buzz-worthy Oscar contenders or a chance to see an art-house drama, TIFF has something for everyone.

And in keeping with Hollywood’s love affair with (and glamorization of) our humble profession, there are even a few films about lawyers and the law. From high profile criminal cases to international marriage law, here are four flicks with a legal spin to check out this year.

The Judge 

Robert Downey Jr. sheds his Iron Man armour in The Judge and takes on the role of Hank Palmer, a high-powered Chicago defence attorney who returns to his Indiana hometown to defend his estranged father, Judge Joseph Palmer (Robert Duvall), who has been accused of murder.

When it comes to playing lawyers on screen, this is not RDJ’s first rodeo (pour out a little liquor for the late, great Larry Paul), but can the mega star still pull off a modern-day Atticus Finch?

Gett: The Trial of Vivian Amsalem

Set entirely in a small courtroom, Gett is an intense drama that follows an Israeli woman struggling against her cruel husband and rabbinical court judges to obtain a gett — a divorce document only attainable through Israel’s religious courts.

The film, which opened to rave reviews at Cannes, takes place over five years as the woman, Vivian, and her lawyer exhaust every possible legal strategy to persuade the court to grant her a gett. Witnesses are called and the procedure drags on, all while Vivian tries to maintain her dignity.

Black and White

Black and White stars Kevin Costner as Elliot Anderson, a New Orleans attorney raising his bi-racial granddaughter following the deaths of his wife and daughter. Elliot is dealt yet another blow when Eloise’s African-American grandmother, Rowena (Octavia Spencer) brings forth a custody suit to return Eloise to the care of her drug-addicted biological father.  

The film is receiving a lot of advanced buzz and is guaranteed to be a thought-provoking drama. Or, at the very least, better than Waterworld.

The Connection

The Connection stars Academy Award winner Jean Dujardin (The Artist) in a much different role than you’ve probably seen him before: a speaking one.  

Dujardin plays Pierre Michel, a French police magistrate who is tasked with cracking the “French Connection,” a highly organized drug ring controlling Marseille’s underground heroin trade.

Based on a true story, The Connection follows the determined Pierre as he dives deep into a world of danger, drugs and ruthless criminals.

TIFF runs from September 4 to 14, and single tickets went on sale this past weekend


Breann Kirincich is the vice president of legal & compliance at BlackRock who maintains an active blog on the side. She enjoys cereal, Pinot Grigio and making dated SNL references, in that order.