September 26, 2005 12:00 PM

Toronto Film Festival

And the most buzzed-about movies at the annual September fest are:

The Best: Brokeback Mountain. There was widespread critical approval for director Ang Lee’s achingly beautiful look at a long-term love affair between two cowboys (Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal). But are mainstream audiences ready for a gay home on the range?

Major Dud: Elizabethtown. Director Cameron Crowe plans to trim his Orlando Bloom/Kirsten Dunst romantic comedy before its Oct. 14 release, but it’s unlikely snipping can do much to improve this unfocused jumble.

The Real Deal: There were standout performances by actors in biopics, including Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash and Reese Witherspoon as June Carter Cash in Walk the Line, Philip Seymour Hoffman as writer Truman Capote in Capote, and Judi Dench as English theater owner Laura Henderson in Mrs. Henderson Presents.

Girl Power: North Country, Shopgirl, In Her Shoes and a new Pride & Prejudice all spotlight strong female characters.

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