Oliver Stone's Snowden: Toronto Film Festival From Afar

On Friday night, Oliver Stone's new movie, Snowden, premiered at the Toronto Film Festival. Early reviews were embargoed until then. But I can tell you, from the reaction of a tony crowd at a summer screening in East Hampton, let the award season begin with this movie. Peggy Siegal introduced Oliver Stone, providing a bit of the JFK director's resume: the 3 time Oscar winner adapted the script for Midnight Express (1978), and won for Best Picture and Best Director for Platoon (1986). His second Best Director award came for Born on the Fourth of July (1989). Stone makes important films, and his new one addresses and challenges our ideas about national security, and whether or not Edward Snowden is a hero.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the role, and Snowden is his best film. The supporting cast includes Melissa Leo as filmmaker Laura Poitras whose Citizen Four, an interview with the exiled Snowden, won an Academy Award for best documentary. Nicolas Cage is fine as a computer geek, and Shailene Woodley plays Lindsay Mills, Snowden's girlfriend who went to Moscow to live with him. While the film sees Snowden as an American hero, revealing his role in exposing ways in which our rights are threatened, particularly our privacy, many debate his actions.

Christie Brinkley, Robert Wilson, Ed Pressman, Katie Couric were among those sipping margueritas and munching on quesedillas at the Blue Parrot. Oliver Stone said he was having a conversation with a tall gorgeous rich woman who said she did not care about privacy, what did she have to be private about? The director was stunned, but this is the vital question his movie will have us all thinking/ talking about.

Other topics of conversation, excellent movies screening in Toronto: among them Antoine Fugua's The Magnificent Seven, and Maren Ade's Toni Erdmann, Germany's entry for Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.

A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.