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The 10 best cosy autumn films

‘Tis the season to cosy down, and these are the best autumnal films to get you in the mood
When Harry Met Sally
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Forget comfort food, we are all about comfort films. Here's our pick of the best cosy movies for chilly autumnal evenings. It's time to grab your blanket, press play and hibernate until Christmas. 

RECOMMENDED: The best feelgood films on Netflix

The best autumn movies

1
Fantastic Mr Fox
Film, Animation

Fantastic Mr Fox

Director Wes Anderson

Cast George Clooney, Meryl Streep (voices)

Wes Anderson’s eccentric and slightly stoned adaptation of Roald Dahl’s book about a plucky fox and three bad farmers seems to take place in a land where it’s eternally autumn. Like the foxes themselves, Anderson’s stop-motion animated landscapes are all sunset red and earthy brown, and the effect is like bundling up in a warm blanket.

Most autumnal moment Hard to choose, but the prologue with its bare trees and deep orange skies sets the tone perfectly.

2
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Film, Family and kids

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Director Alfonso Cuarón

Cast Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson

The bleakest, smartest and possibly the best of the Harry Potter franchise, this third film was directed by 'Gravity' filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón. Like all the films it covers one full school year. But it’s the autumn sequences – all glowering skies and creeping frost – that are the dark heart of the film.

Most autumnal moment The Whomping Willow sheds all its leaves like a wet dog giving itself a good shake.

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3
Romantic film: When Harry Met Sally
Film

When Harry Met Sally…

Director Rob Reiner 

Cast Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan, Carrie Fisher

New York covered in crunchy, golden leaves is one of the many settings in which we find Harry and Sally over the years. The pitch-perfect romcom classic – which poses the eternal question, can men and women be just friends – is as cosy as one of Billy Crystal’s chunky ’80s knits.

Most autumnal moment When the will-they-won’t-they pair wander through Central Park under a wave of red leaves.

4
Romance movie: (500) days of summer
Film, Comedy

(500) Days of Summer

Director Marc Webb

Cast Zooey Deschanel, Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Despite its title, ‘500 Days of Summer' movie has very little to do with the seasons. Instead it’s a story of boy meets girl – though any notion of a happy-ever-after is dispelled at the start. Romantic Tom meets and instantly falls for Summer, a cynical young woman who doesn’t believe in true love. Their relationship highs and lows are documented by the illustration of a tree and the changing nature of its leaves.

Most autumnal moment The introduction of a character called Autumn, who embodies that back-to-school feeling of new beginnings and fresh starts.

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5
The Straight Story
Film, Comedy

The Straight Story

Director David Lynch

Cast Richard Farnsworth, Sissy Spacek

David Lynch’s simple, moving, sort-of-true story is the tale of an elderly man who, having been refused a driving licence on account of his eyesight, drives his motorised lawnmower 240 miles to visit his dying brother. His journey takes him across four Midwestern states, as the season turns and the leaves fall.

Most autumnal moment The finale, as Alvin joins his brother on the porch to look at the stars.

6
large_days_of_heaven_blu-ray7x.jpg
Film

Days of Heaven

Director Terrence Malick

Cast Richard Gere, Brooke Adams

A strong contender for the most beautiful film ever made, Terrence Malick’s 1978 poetic story of love in the wheat fields was shot largely at ‘magic hour’, that time just before sunrise or after sunset when the whole sky is suffused with golden light. There’s one shot of Richard Gere at dusk, stranded in an ocean of wheat, that’ll take your breath away.

Most autumnal moment The early scenes of a crowded steam train curving through pale, dry fields.

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7
You've Got Mail
Film

You've Got Mail

Director Nora Ephron

Cast Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan

Romcom ‘You’ve Got Mail’ made internet dating cool way before Tinder was a glint in a tech developer’s eye. Via the medium of online messaging, business rivals Joe and Kathleen slowly, and unwittingly, fall for each other as New York turns from a golden fall to winter and then spring. It’s two hours of comfy, snuggle under the duvet nostalgia.

Most autumnal moment When Joe (aka Tom Hanks) sends this cute email: ‘Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.’

8
rushmore.jpg
Film, Comedy

Rushmore

Director Wes Anderson

Cast Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray

Autumn will forever be linked to that back-to-school feeling of a new pencil case. And no one does school better than Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman). Okay, his grades are crappy but Max is a serious over-achiever in the world of extracurricular activities. ‘Rushmore’ follows Max through autumn terms as he locks horns with wealthy businessman Herman Blume (Bill Murray) for the affections teacher Miss Cross (Olivia Williams).

Most autumnal moment ‘She’s my Rushmore’ – Max and Herman Blume make peace in a cemetery as the last leaves fall from the trees.

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9
Far From Heaven
Film, Drama

Far from Heaven

Director Todd Haynes

Cast Julianne Moore, Dennis Haysbert

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.’ So wrote the French writer and philosopher Albert Camus, who could have been talking about Todd Haynes’s ‘Far from Heaven’. The bursts of beauty as leaves turn golden in Connecticut contrast with the ugly racism experienced by Julianne Moore’s housewife Cathy and the African American gardener, Raymond, she falls in love with, played by Dennis Haysbert.

Most autumnal moment Cathy and Raymond take a stroll under a kaleidoscope of leaves.

10
election.jpg
Film, Comedy

Election

Director Alexander Payne

Cast Reese Witherspoon, Matthew Broderick

A good movie for autumn, and brilliant one for election season. This is the story of ambitious know-it-all high schooler Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon), who discovers what it takes to get ahead in politics when she runs for school president. Before autumn term is out, Tracy resorts to corruption, vandalism and vote rigging. 

Most autumnal moment Little Miss Perfect Tracy does badly in the back-to-school assembly where candidates make their speeches.

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