It’s that time of year again.
After a stripped down event in 2020, the London Film Festival is returning in 2021 with some massive premieres, including many of the year’s most anticipated films.
This year, some of the biggest films will be screening simultaneously at cinemas across the UK, whilst others in the line-up you’ll be able to watch from the comfort of your own home.
We’ve gone through the stacked programme and picked out the ten films that you need to put on your radar right now.
Last Night In Soho
Edgar Wright is one of Britain’s most famous directors, but this is the first time one of his movies has played the UK’s biggest film festival.
Last Night In Soho is his first foray into full-blooded horror, where an aspiring fashion designer (Thomasin McKenzie, Jojo Rabbit) discovers she’s able to travel back through time to the 1960s, where she meets a glamorous aspiring singer (Anya Taylor-Joy, The Queen’s Gambit).
It promises to be both a love letter to London in the swinging sixties, and a deeply unnerving psychological thriller.
A biopic of Princess Diana might sound like dull, Oscar-baiting viewing, but Spencer promises to be an entirely different beast – less The Crown, more The Shining.
The unconventional film premiered at Venice to rave reviews, with Kristen Stewart’s turn as Diana receiving widespread acclaim.
The movie follows Diana over Christmas 1992, her final Christmas with the Royals before divorcing Charles. Director Pablo Larraín (Jackie) takes this premise and turns it into something deeply unsettling, with many critics agreeing that Sandringham House feels like the Overlook Hotel in his hands.
We’re eager to see if this lives up to the hype.
Is Will Smith about to get his first Oscar? If you’ve heard the advance buzz on King Richard, it seems like this might finally be his year.
Set in the early 1990s, Smith stars as Richard Williams, a man who stopped at nothing to ensure his two daughters (you guessed it, Venus and Serena) could become tennis superstars.
Critics have said this is one of the best sports movies in years, a thrilling underdog tale even as we already know how it ends.
Kenneth Branagh’s latest film in the director’s chair is a semi-autobiographical coming of age story. Set in 1969, the film follows young Buddy (newcomer Jude Hill), whose peaceful life is disrupted by tanks and violence sweeping through the city.
Boasting an all-star cast including Jamie Dornan and Judi Dench, the film has been billed as a return to form for Branagh as a director. With a visual style inspired by Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma, this demands to be seen on the biggest screen possible.
The French Dispatch
Wes Anderson’s latest is his most ambitious film yet – a love letter to journalism that dramatises several news stories published over the years in the fictitious ‘French Dispatch Magazine‘.
In typical Wes style, it looks gorgeous and boasts an all-star cast. Anderson regulars Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton and Owen Wilson are joined by the likes of Timothee Chalamet and Elisabeth Moss in an ensemble too big to list in full here.
The Power Of The Dog
This brooding western is rumoured to feature the best performance of Benedict Cumberbatch’s career to date, as well as a major comeback role for the always excellent Kirsten Dunst.
Cumberbatch stars as rancher Phil Burbank, a cruel, sadistic man who finds his own identity brought into question after meeting his brother’s new family.
It’s the first film from director Jane Campion (The Piano) in 12 years, and seems to have been worth the wait, premiering at Venice to near uniform rave reviews.
This bold horror from the director of Raw won the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival, leaving critics speechless with its transgressive take on the serial killer movie.
After a childhood car accident, Alexia (Agathe Rousselle) has an unusual bond with cars, and a thirst for blood on top of that.
After embarking on a murderous rampage, she disguises herself as a boy, and befriends a brooding firefighter (Vincent Lindon). To say anything else would spoil the ride – but needless to say, this is not one for the faint of heart.
Mamoru Hosoda is one of the most distinctive voices in anime, and his latest film puts a unique spin on one of the most famous stories of all time.
A socially awkward high school student finds her voice via a social media app, where she anonymously uploads clips of herself singing under the username Belle. But as her alter ego becomes more famous, an entity known as Dragon puts her music career to a halt.
It is, in short, the most boldly original adaptation of Beauty And The Beast to date.
Director Paul Verhoeven has never shied away from controversial subject matter – and he has once again returned with what is set to be the year’s most scandalous film.
Set in the 17th century, Benedetta follows the true story of a nun who was charged with heresy after faking various miracles, and having a wild love affair with another woman of the convent.
As you’d expect from the man who gave us Elle and Showgirls, the film is particularly uncompromising on that last part. It’s set to be one of the most talked about movies at the festival.
Finally, one of the year’s weirdest horror movies. Lamb is the tale of two Icelandic sheep farmers who one day wake up to find one of their ewes has given birth to a strange creature, which they decide to raise as their own.
Things do not go as planned.
Browse the full line-up of this year’s London Film Festival here.