Go big or gourd home: TV and film to romanticize fall

Film and television full of autumnal aesthetics for your viewing pleasure

The season of knitted sweaters and pumpkin spice flavours is nearly upon us, and what better way to reacclimate to fall than with some cinema?

While Halloween is one of the major contributors to the autumnal aesthetic and atmosphere, this list provides potential viewers with a diverse range of film and television that does not narrowly fit into the descriptor of Halloween or horror.  Stay tuned for a spookier list in October.

Light some candles, pull out your favourite throws and dive into these haunting, heartbreaking, hilarious and occasionally Halloween-adjacent film and television recommendations. 

Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

In this film, the titular Mr. Fox is drawn back into a life of crime, outwitting and robbing inept farmers despite their attempts at retaliation.

Wes Anderson is a master of the autumnal colour palette. He creates this with an array of yellows, reds, oranges and browns that contribute to an atmosphere so vividly seasonal that one can almost smell the film’s “Red Remarkable” apples from the screen. Fantastic Mr. Fox is a vibrant love letter to the fall season, emphasizing rich scenery, bountiful vegetation and charming characters. 

Dead Poets Society (1989)

This recommendation is a double whammy of fall and dark academia aesthetics. Dead Poets Society is a moving, beautiful and bittersweet film about a teacher who irreversibly changes the lives of his students at a distinguished boarding school. 

While the second half of this film is set in winter, the first half features beautiful academic buildings amid fallen leaves and the setting sun. You can expect plenty of cardigans, sweater vests, plaid and poetry, as well as the urge to cry by the end of the film. 

Knives Out (2019)

Knives Out is a murder mystery revolving around the death of a patriarch from an eccentric family. It is entertaining, hilarious and keeps audiences guessing until the very end, but honestly, Chris Evans in that white cable-knit sweater is the top reason I put it on this list. His character in the film is perfectly smug and stylish, and caused everyone to become infatuated with his gorgeous iconic knit when the film was released. 

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

This visually stunning film is a traditional rewatch for me during this time of year. A hobbit from the Shire sets out with a group of companions on a journey to destroy the One Ring and save Middle-earth. 

While it is equally fitting for summer as it is for autumn, J.R.R. Tolkien’s interpretation of fall leaps from the pages of his novel and onto the screen in Peter Jackson’s film adaptation. Specifically, the film’s depiction of Rivendell comes to mind, with tall trees covered in orange leaves, beautiful arched bridges and architecture providing viewers with a sense of comfort and wonder. 

Twin Peaks (1990-91)

If a list of fictional small-towns that perfectly encapsulate the autumn season exists, the town of Twin Peaks from the television series of the same name would certainly be at the top. With its towering Douglas firs, 90’s saddle shoes and autumn coloured sweaters at their best alongside haunting ambient music by Angelo Badalamenti, Twin Peaks invites you to lose yourself within its scenery and intoxicating mysteries waiting at its centre.

An FBI agent investigates the murder of a popular young woman in Twin Peaks, a small and eccentric town where nothing is what it seems. David Lynch and Mark Frost’s series Twin Peaks changed television. It’s a dreamy, ridiculous, beautiful and horrifying back-to-school drama that is simultaneously serious and absurd. 

Gilmore Girls (2000-07)

Set in Stars Hollow, Conn., Gilmore Girls focuses on a single mother and her relationship with her academically overachieving daughter. The show is something you that can get invested in for the drama, but it is equally excellent background accompaniment while studying, cleaning, putting up Halloween decorations or making a cup of coffee. It’s like a television version of the lo-fi study beats girl. 

The fictional town of Stars Hollow feels like it’s consistently in autumn. The 2000s sweaters, wool skirts and local coffee shops are an homage to autumn nostalgia, providing a backdrop for Rory Gilmore’s adolescent growing pains. Another contestant for media with the best knit sweaters, this series features a lot of fashion inspiration.

Over the Garden Wall (2014)

Two brothers lost in an odd and mysterious land try to find their way home in this riveting miniseries. A vague description for this show is pivotal because going into it without any prior knowledge as possible is the best way to watch it. 

If you’re looking for something with an aesthetically pleasing autumnal atmosphere, a dash of eerie folklore, old time animation inspiration and turn of the 20th century American harvest backdrop, this is it. An absolute must-see in September to get in the mood for fall, and that’s a “rock fact!”