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Autumn Films: What are they and what makes them good?

The time has finally come! The leaves are turning from green to yellow to orange to brown. You can hear the crunch of them under your boots and feel the wind on your face; Autumn has arrived. With the change in weather comes the urge to get comfy under a blanket, sip some hot chocolate and watch autumnal television to match the mood and dusky sky outside. However, the question remains: what makes an autumn film, and what makes them especially good?

Fantastic Mr Fox, directed by the renowned Wes Anderson, is a classic autumnal film. Throughout, there are beautiful picturesque scenes of trees swaying in the wind, the deep orange leaves falling onto grassy hills. The film has the classic Wes Anderson flare, something that arguably in itself has an autumnal and melancholic feel. Although the film is a cartoon and follows a mischievous fox, the film still provides many compelling and thoughtful scenes; ‘I don’t want to live in a hole anymore.’ This also highlights the way that the autumnal weather pushes us to the outdoors to bask in the crisp air. 

Whilst not a film, Gilmore Girls is worth a mention. The show follows the iconic mother-daughter duo, Lorelei and Rory. Whilst trying to keep up with their witty and fast paced conversations, the viewer is engulfed in the small town of Stars Hollow that has an especially autumnal feel. There’s something about a small town that screams cosy and Gilmore Girls does just that. Everyone is kitted out in seasonal clothing; knitted sweaters, plaid shirts, denim skirts and boots. A coffee is constantly in hand as they walk along streets covered in fallen leaves and pumpkins. As Lorelei says, autumn is a time when “the whole world changes colour.” Another thing that Gilmore Girls hits the nail on the head with in autumn (or ‘fall’ as they call it) is the smell of the air. The infamous Taylor Doose says, “Breathe in folks! Smells like fall.” 

There is no specific quota that autumn films must hit in order to be considered as such. For example, Fantastic Mr. Fox is so clearly autumnal in its nature, the colour, the soundtrack and the melancholic voice of George Clooney. It almost doesn’t need to mention its autumnal feel. Gilmore Girls on the other hand likes to show that it knows it is a seasonal show, changing along with the weather. Therefore, the characters make it known that right now, in the town of Stars Hollow, fall has arrived. Both of these styles work in their own way to make autumn films ‘good.’

Other classic autumn films might include When Harry Met Sally (an 80’s ‘will they won’t they’ romance), Little Women (the story of four sisters who are coming of age during the American Civil War) and any/all of the Harry Potter films. 

It would be slightly disappointing and simply a bit too obvious if a fall film was classified as such purely on the premise that it is set during the autumn months. Sure, it certainly helps with the overall fall feeling, but this cannot be all that makes an autumn film good. Each of these films is filled with orange hues, pale blue skies, rosy cheeks and scarfs. I think that a fall film has to do more than look Autumnal to be classified as a ‘good’ autumn film.

Image ‘Dresden‘ by Bert Kaufmann is licensed under CC-BY-2.0.