London Film Festival: 10 must-see films from the 2014 selection

The 2014 London Film Festival is one of the world's oldest festivals, and falls right at the beginning of the autumn, when awards contenders begin to premiere their new films and hope for buzz, good reviews, and the ultimate accolade - an Academy Award.

This year, the festival will see stars such as Brad Pitt, Steve Carell, Reese Witherspoon, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Kiera Knightley walk the red carpets, and to celebrate the rich and diverse selection, HELLO! have picked ten of the must-see films of this year's festival.

You can buy tickets for the festival from Priority booking for BFI members opens on 11 September.

Opening Night Gala: The Imitation Game, Wednesday 8th October

See for yourself on opening night why Sherlock's Benedict Cumberbatch has already received Oscar speculation for his role as Alan Turing. The Imitation Game is the true tale of the code-breaker who broke the Enigma code at Bletchley Park during the second World War, helping to bring the conflict to an end and paving the way the for modern computers.

American Express Gala: Foxcatcher, Thursday 16th October

Foxcatcher is the true, and riveting, story of world wrestling champion brothers and their billionaire benefactor. As younger brother Mark (Channing Tatum) attempts to escape his elder brother's success and happy family life, he is won over by the influence and power of John E du Pont (Steve Carell, in a career-changing role), a strange and wealthy man whose mysterious obsession with the team becomes darker and darker. After premiering at this year's Cannes Film Festival, the film is hotly anticipated to be a big winner at the 2015 Academy Awards.

Madame Bovary (love strand), Monday 13th October

Director Sophie Barthes captures both the uncomfortableness of life in the upper class and the thrills and danger of breaking the rules in this fresh retelling of the classic Flaubert tale of loneliness and naiveté. Australian actress Mia Wasikowska, who thrives with strong female characters, stars as the doomed titular character.


Mayfair Hotel Gala: Wild, Monday 13th October

Reese Witherspoon returns to serious drama with Wild, an adaptation of Cheryl Strayed's 2012 memoir, following her journey to walk the 1,100-mile hike across the Pacific Trail. A break-up may be the catalyst for Cheryl's story, but her journey is one of discovery and letting go.

Centrepiece Gala: Testament of Youth, Tuesday 14th October

Based on Vera Brittain's beloved World War I memoir, Testament of Youth is the first film adaptation of the book which followed Vera's life from 1900-1925, through first love and the horror of war. Alicia Vikander and Game of Thrones star Kit Harington star as Vera and her love Roland Leighton, and the film is a moving and timely adaptation, with its release set to coincide with the centenary celebrations.

Serena (love strand), Monday 13th October

Serena is the third film featuring Oscar favourites Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, but was actually the second feature filmed. An adaptation of Ron Rash's novel, it follows the troubled life of Serena and George Pemberton, a husband-and-wife duo in the timber business in the 1930s. Serena has been sat in post-production for quite some time so there will be a lot of interest in this one.


The Drop (thrill strand), Saturday 11th October

An adaptation of acclaimed author Dennis Lahane's novel, The Drop is a tense piece of film noir, starring Tom Hardy as Bob, a man who's happy with his lot but gets caught up with local gangsters after discovering a lost puppy and meeting Noomi Rapace's Nadia. Also starring The Sopranos actor James Gandolfini in his final role, The Drop is directed by Michaël R Roskam whose Bullhead was critically acclaimed.

Festival Gala: Mr Turner, Saturday 10th October

Mike Leigh's Cannes-winning film Mr Turner stars Timothy Spall as the acclaimed eccentric English painter J. M. W. Turner. Following the later years of the artist's life, through the death of his beloved father to illness and celebration and scorn from the public and royalty, Mr Turner is a visually gorgeous, genuinely funny, masterpiece.

The Face of an Angel (debate strand), Saturday 18th October

Cara Delevingne makes one of her first major starring roles in The Face of an Angel, a story of a director (Daniel Bruhl) who moves to Italy to study the true story of Amanda Knox, the American college student who was jailed in Italy for the murder of her British roommate Meredith Kercher. There, he meets another British student (Cara) and what emerges is a tale of responsibility by story makers to tell the truth.


Closing Night Gala: Fury, Sunday 19th October

Set in the final months of World War II, Fury follows Brad's battle-weary sergeant Wardaddy and his tank which often goes behind enemy lines for the Allies. It's poised to be a potential awards contender, and as director David Ayer (End of Watch) is never one to lean on sentiment, we can expect a graphic and honest portrayal of life on the frontline.

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