BFI London Film Festival 2019: Must-See Movies

It’s that time of year again, the BFI London Film Festival is approaching and here at Zavvi HQ we are buzzing with excitement.

This morning the full programme was announced and with over 345 films showing, we are in for an epic fortnight of incredible and diverse cinema.

There is plenty to see and difficult choices will have to be made, so to help you out here is Zavvi’s guide to the must-see movies at this year’s event.

The Irishman


Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci in a Martin Scorsese directed gangster epic, sign us up!

Although concerns have been raised about the lengthy run-time, we will be there eagerly watching all 210 minutes of the upcoming Netflix crime drama.

It will surely close this year’s festival with a bang!

Knives Out


Rian Johnson’s fifth feature film is a modernised whodunit tale following an unexpected murder mystery during a family gathering.

While the concept initially appears rather banal, beloved stars such as Daniel Craig and Chris Evans are billed to guarantee an entertaining take on the genre.

Possibly his next masterpiece, this new movie is a long-time passion project for Johnson, with ideas being held since the making of Looper.

A Beautiful Day In The Neighbourhood

Sony Pictures Releasing

This biopic about beloved television icon Fred Rogers, starring the ever charming Tom Hanks in the lead role, is sure to be one of the most wholesome and heartfelt movies ever made.

Director Marielle Heller was behind one of this year’s best films, Can You Ever Forgive Me, and Hanks is a treasure, so we know the story is in safe hands.

Rogers helped young people tackle problems saying ‘anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable’, a motto which will surely help us during these uneasy times.

Jojo Rabbit

Walt Disney Studios

Taika Waititi’s directorial style is instantly recognisable, and only he would make an anti-hate satire about a lonely German boy whose imaginary friend is an idiotic version of Hitler.

The BFI hints that Jojo Rabbit might just be the best yet from the man behind Thor: Ragnarok and Hunt for the Wilderpeople, which has only just made us more excited for it!

Le Mans ’66

Walt Disney Studios

Director James Mangold blew us away with the phenomenal Logan, and so we were always going to be excited about his next project, but Le Mans ’66 really does look like something special.

Matt Damon and Christian Bale star in this study of a friendship that shaped the world of motor racing in the 1960’s, so you can expect fantastic drama and a masterclass in acting.

Marriage Story


From Noah Baumbach, the director of Frances Ha and The Meyerowitz Stories, comes a film that is his most personal yet.

Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver star as a couple who are going through a gruelling coast-to-coast divorce.



Chilean director Pablo Larraín’s Ema will be showing at this year’s festival, his follow-up to the brilliant Jackie and No.

The drama will follow a couple as they deal with the aftermath of an adoption of a troubled child that goes awry.


Globo Filmes

This Brazilian weird western film stormed Cannes Film Festival taking home the Jury Prize, and now it is set to blow audiences away at this year’s London Film Festival.

Described as ‘darkly sardonic and pleasurably complex’ by the BFI, we have also been promised the movie will keep us at the edge of our seats.

The Lighthouse

Focus Features

Robert Eggers, director of The Witch, is returning to the festival this year to once again terrorise audiences.

His maritime shocker The Lighthouse will follow Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe’s lighthouse keepers as they start to lose their sanity and become threatened by their worst nightmares.

Judy and Punch

Samuel Goldwyn Films

This audacious fairytale with a feminist twists stars Mia Wasikowska as Judy, a woman who finds out just how powerful she can be.

Inspired by the puppet show, the film asks the question what would have happened if Judy didn’t take Punch’s battery quite so sheepishly?

The Two Popes


Jonathan Pryce and Anthony Hopkins tussling over the future of the Catholic Church, you don’t really need to say any more.

This film is definitely going to be one to watch.

Bad Education


Thoroughbreds was a delightful surprise for us in 2017, and we have been eagerly awaiting to see what director Cory Finley would do next.

The answer is Bad Education, a comedy-drama inspired by real events which stars Hugh Jackman as New York’s star school superintendent Frank Tassone, dealing with the single largest public school embezzlement scandal in history.

Portrait Of A Lady On Fire

Pyramide Films

BFI Flare’s Special Presentation this year is Portrait of a Lady on Fire, the next film from Girlhood director Céline Sciamma.

Described as ‘a film about the unique, secret codes of female-only spaces’, the French historical drama became the first movie directed by a woman to win the Queer Palm award at Cannes.

The Report

Amazon Studios

We can’t get enough of Adam Driver at this year’s festival as he also stars in The Report, a film based on more than a decade’s worth of real-life political intrigue.

Driver plays a journalist who is attempting to piece together facts about the CIA’s approach to torture following 9/11. The trailer is certainly giving off Spotlight vibes.

Rare Beasts

Western Edge Pictures

The directorial debut from actor and singer Billie Piper, Rare Beasts is an anti-romcom with a difference, following Piper’s single mother Mandy as she explores her self-worth.

I would get the tissues out ready if I were you!

Little Monsters


Lupita Nyong’o stars in this wild and wacky zombie-comedy. I really don’t need to say any more to have you on board.

The Perfect Candidate

Razor Film

Playing as part of this year’s Official Competition, Haifaa Al Mansour’s The Perfect Candidate analyses the power of local politics.

The Saudi director previously made waves at 2012’s festival with the brilliant Wadjda.

London Film Festival 2019 will be held from 2nd October to 13th October. For the full programme and ticket information, visit the BFI website.

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Emily Murray

Emily Murray


Emily is a journalist and film critic who unashamedly cries at most movies having got too emotionally attached. When not at the cinema, she is at home cuddling her cat Holmes, whilst binge watching New Girl. She can be found on Twitter @emilyvmurray