Spice Up Your Fall Movie Nights With These Beloved Films
Cozy, creative, and colorful movies for autumn
Fall is here. The air is crisp, the leaves are falling, and we're ready to pull out the blankets and curl up to watch our favorite fall films.
What makes a film perfect for fall is up to you. For some, it’s a color palette of browns, golds, and reds; some want films that embody the reflective nature of the season; and others are content with coziness.
No matter where you stand, here are four films that capture the moods of autumn.
Far From Heaven
In Far From Heaven, Todd Haynes uses the vibrant autumn colors of 1950s Connecticut to set the tone for his modern melodrama. Stuck in a loveless marriage with a closeted husband (Dennis Quaid), Cathy Whitaker (Julianne Moore) finds herself secretly attracted to Raymond (Dennis Haysbert), a local gardener. By spotlighting the topics of racism, homophobia, and class struggle that were often coded into the invisible context of classic Hollywood, Far From Heaven provides an opulent reimagining of classic 50s dramas like Douglas Sirk’s All That Heaven Allows. The New York Times writes, “It rediscovers the aching, desiring humanity in a genre—and a period—too often subjected to easy parody or ironic appropriation.”
In Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson creates a magical tale of two kids–Suzy (Kara Hayward) and Sam (Jared Gilman), who run away to a secret cove on the island of New Penzance in 1965. While the community of adults—played by Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, and Tilda Swinton, among others—recapture the young pair, their summer love lasts long into autumn. Indeed, the film’s color palette replicates, writes analyst Patrick Ford, “...the vibrancy of early autumn, creating a nurturing environment backed by earthy tones and textures,” a look that suggests the imagination of nostalgia. “With bright, saturated colors and idealized storytelling, Moonrise Kingdom feels like a childhood memory,” Screenrant writes.
In Armageddon Time, writer-director James Gray uses his personal memories of growing up in 1980s Queens, New York, to explore a complex story of friendship and family. Supported by a remarkable cast including Anne Hathaway, Jeremy Strong, and Anthony Hopkins, two young actors—Banks Repeta and Jaylin Webb—play friends forced to make very adult decisions. For York Dispatch, “The look and feel of autumn, on treeless Flushing streets and in wallpapered interiors, hangs in the air in every scene.” In so precisely recapturing the world of his past, Gray, according to AV Club, “offers a coming-of-age tale that’s both timeless and timely.”
Pride & Prejudice
Joe Wright’s Pride & Prejudice is a cozy period piece that’s literate, witty, and utterly charming. Ranked by Collider as the best Jane Austen film adaptation, the famed romance casts Keira Knightley as the beloved Elizabeth Bennett and Matthew Macfadyen as her unexpected love, Mr. Darcy. Bringing new energy to the story, Wright, Entertainment Weekly notes, “makes the past feel as swirling and alive as the present.” Yet as dynamic and lush as Wright’s adaptation is with its swooning cinematography, dance number, and remarkable supporting cast (including Judi Dench, Carey Mulligan, and Donald Sutherland), it preserves what we love about the novel. As The San Francisco Chronicle writes, “Sink down into your seat and enmesh yourself in the richness before you, much as you would with a good book.”