By Michele Yeo
It’s creeping up on cozy season when many of us officially start wearing more and going out less. And what better way to pass all that indoor time than with comfort movies that will bring some serious Autumnal vibes and provide a perfect pairing for that steamed cider, mulled wine, or hot toddy? Here, in no particular order, are 12 movies that will have you feeling pumpkin spice and everything nice about Fall.
Chris Evans’ chunky cozy cable knit sweater alone earns Knives Out a place on a list of comfort movies for Fall. This whodunit features an impressive ensemble cast including Daniel Craig as detective Benoit Blanc who is summoned to a wealthy family’s home after the clan’s patriarch, played by Christopher Plummer, ends up mysteriously dead. Set in Massachusetts in the Fall, the film also features an array of enviable autumnal outerwear.
When Harry Met Sally
Another sweater weather classic. This time it’s Billy Crystal in a mock neck cable fisherman sweater. Written by romcom queen Nora Ephron, the movie is widely regarded as one of the best films of the genre and traces the 12-year journey of the titular characters as they navigate relationships, debate whether heterosexual men and women can truly be friends, and eventually come together with the stunning colours of Autumn in New York often providing the backdrop. What better way to spend cuffing season than with one of the best romantic comedies of our time?
Okay so this might not qualify as a feel good film (someone does die, afterall) but it will get you in your feels this Fall. After a painful divorce, a mother-of-two played by Susan Sarandon struggles to accept her ex-husband’s new girlfriend and the new GF, played by Julia Roberts, struggles to adjust to her new role as a quasi stepmother. The colour scheme of the poster alone will have you falling for Fall and the plot will tug at your heartstrings and have you reaching for the tissue box whilst curled up on the couch under that weighted blanket.
Planes Trains and Automobiles
This 1987 John Hughes classic follows a man, played by Steve Martin, desperate to get out of New York and home to Chicago in time for Thanksgiving with his wife and kids. Everything that can go wrong does go wrong when he encounters a fellow commuter played by John Candy. The chemistry between the two comedy icons is nothing short of legendary as they go from strangers to friends to foes and back to friends. John Candy’s performance in particular will have you both laughing and crying and Steve Martin going absolutely berserk at a car rental company will have you howling.
Home for the Holidays
Another film set around the Thanksgiving holiday. This Jodie Foster-directed comedy from 1995 has everything: an floundering single mom, an eccentric aunt, a flamboyant gay brother, a super uptight sister and a Thanksgiving turkey that ends up in someone’s lap. Holly Hunter and Robert Downey Jr play siblings.
A spooky season staple, this film features future Oscar winners Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock as witchy sisters dealing with a family curse which leads to all of their male romantic interests ending up dead (I’m not seeing the problem here?) The movie was anything but a box office blockbuster when it was released in 1998 but went on to bewitch audiences in subsequent years and become a cult classic.
You’ve Got Mail
Another Meg Ryan classic and another Nora Ephron entry. While the technology of this 1998 romantic comedy may be outdated, the warm fuzzy feelings you’ll get from it are timeless. The unbeatable duo of Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks play bitter rivals in the book business who knowingly have been flirtily chatting online. Hijinks ensue while New York provides the backdrop. “Don’t you love New York in the Fall?” asks Tom Hanks’ character, Joe Fox. Yes, we do Mr. Fox. Yes we do.
Autumn in New York
I mean, it’s right there in the title. This romantic drama features Richard Gere as a confirmed bachelor and rampant womanizer who falls for a young woman played by Winona Ryder. The beautiful fall foliage, including several stunning strolls through Central Park, might provide enough of a distraction from the ick of watching a 50-something man fall for a 21-year-old woman. Why do I feel like this movie is on Dane Cook’s list of fave films?
Dead Poets Society
Few things quite feel as Autumnal as being on campus during the Fall and Dead Poets Society certainly delivers. There are blazers as far as the eye can see and Robin Williams’ performance as an unconventional teacher at a stuffy private school where tradition, honour, and discipline rule will make you want to carpe diem and have standing up on your couch saying, “Oh captain, my captain.”
Good Will Hunting
Another collegiate film starring Robin Williams. What better season to answer the question, “How you like them apples?” than during apple picking season? Matt Damon stars as a troubled janitor at MIT who just also happens to be a mathematical genius. Few settings are as autumnal as New England in the fall and Good Will Hunting delivers.
Mona Lisa Smile
Another campus set film and the second Julia Roberts entry on our list. This one is set in the 1950s with Julia playing an art history professor at Wellesley College who tries to inspire her students to aim for goals outside of being wives and mothers. The costuming on the film is absolutely autumnal with lots of hats, coats, plaids and tweeds that will have you exciting for the changing season and nostalgic for the ’50s – for the fashion, not so much the gender roles, although hey, we seem to be turning back the clock so maybe we’ll get there.
Fantastic Mr. Fox
This flick may be animated but it’s still giving autumnal realness. Mr. Fox’s corduroy suit alone has us wanting to curl up with a stiff cocktail near a fireplace. Fantastic Mr. Fox is based on the 1970 children’s book of the same name and features the dulcet tones of George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman, and Bill Murray. While it didn’t exactly set the box office on fire, it was nominated for a Best Animated Feature Academy Award – no surprise with a staked cast like that and with West Anderson and Noah Baumbach sharing writing duties.