Feel Good Fall Films

For me, November is always a rough month. All the bright promise of October—with its last days of sun and gorgeous foliage—has usually withered away by now and transformed into blustery gloom, cold rain, and threats of snow (or actual snow, depending on the weather), while the holiday season is still an entire month off.

Winter is coming…but Autumn lingers on, reluctant to go, and so November is also the month where I indulge in maximum coziness. To combat the sudden lack of sunlight and the lower temperatures, I dig out my light therapy lamp, my sweaters, and my softest blanket, ready to settle into something warm and comforting. Including regarding my media consumption.

…This may be a result of burnout after a long and hectic year, now that I’m thinking about it, but whatever the cause, I’m happy and ready to be soothed.

On that note, and wonderfully paralleling Alyssia’s post about ‘Over the Garden Wall’, here are some of my favourite movies that strike the perfect balance of autumnal, cozy, a little bit melancholy, and ultimately hopeful.

And though I am an adult, I do enjoy animated kids’ movies both for their own sake and for the nostalgia factor, so there are some recommendations of that nature too!

Cover of Fantastic Mr. Fox

Fantastic Mr. Fox

A wily fox uses his formidable cunning to outsmart three feeble-minded farmers, who resort to extreme tactics to protect their chickens in director Wes Anderson’s animated adaptation of the popular Roald Dahl children’s book.

Why it’s on the list: there is nothing so autumnal as foxes. Also, the colour scheme of the movie is primarily orange, burgundy, brown, and yellow, with some contrast of grim greys and blues, which to me is very October-leading-into-November.

Cover of Midnight in Paris

Midnight in Paris

Gil Pender is a screenwriter and aspiring novelist. Vacationing in Paris with his fiancée, he has taken to touring the city alone. On one such late-night excursion, Gil encounters a group of strange—yet familiar—revelers, who sweep him along, apparently back in time, for a night with some of the Jazz Age’s icons of art and literature. The more time Gil spends with these cultural heroes of the past, the more dissatisfied he becomes with the present.

Why it’s on the list: Where ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’ is a study in oranges, reds, and browns, ‘Midnight in Paris’ is a study in blues and sepia with glimmering yellow. It’s very November themed for this and for the fact that it is (spoiler alert) about endings: of relationships, of your chosen path, of the past…while also being about tentative yet hopeful beginnings. Paris pulls Gil and thus, the viewer, into an embrace that is as cozy as it is magical, whisking us away from our mundane lives and into the shining past for as long as we choose to stay.

Cover of Persuasion


As one of three daughters of the wealthy Sir Walter, Anne is a privileged but lonely member of the English aristocracy. When her father leaves on a trip, he rents out part of his estate to relatives of Anne’s ex-fiancé, Capt. Frederick Wentworth. Though Anne was persuaded to reject his offer of marriage because of Wentworth’s poor social standing and connections, he has since become very successful, and when he visits, Anne must confront the life she left behind.

Possibly my favourite Austen novel, the 1995 adaptation is the best…out of a sad bunch. This version is simply too short to really flourish, but it’s a lovely adaptation nonetheless and the most faithful to the book. (We do not speak of the horrendous 2022 version.) The 2007 version was almost my favourite, but I didn’t like the constant fourth-wall breaking or the (unnecessary) change in the ending. A perfect ‘Persuasion’ film, for me, would be a marriage of the cast and cinematography of the ’07 film with the acting and plot of the ’95 film.

Why it’s on the list: It’s about lost love and loneliness, about patience and perseverance, about wrestling with melancholy and the slowly burgeoning hope that spring (literal and metaphorical) will come after winter. It is peak November!

Cover of Knives Out

Knives Out

When renowned crime novelist Harlan Thrombey is found dead at his estate just after his 85th birthday, the inquisitive and debonair Detective Benoit Blanc is mysteriously enlisted to investigate. From Harlan’s dysfunctional family to his devoted staff, Blanc sifts through a web of red herrings and self-serving lies to uncover the truth behind Harlan’s untimely death.

Why it’s on the list: For many, November is a month spent in the remembrance of the dead. But even if that’s not the case for you, everything in nature is dying or has died off. So of course a movie about murder makes the list. Still, it falls into the ‘comfort’ category for me because good triumphs over evil both murderous and insidiously mundane, and our hero gets a huge house and a fortune to boot. I would love a huge house and a fortune, especially in this grey month.

Cover of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter’s third year at Hogwarts starts off badly when he learns deranged killer Sirius Black has escaped from Azkaban prison and is bent on murdering the teenage wizard. While Hermione’s cat torments Ron’s sickly rat, causing a rift among the trio, a swarm of nasty Dementors is sent to protect the school from Black. A mysterious new teacher helps Harry learn to defend himself, but what is his secret tie to Sirius Black?

Why it’s on the list: Directed by Alphonse Cuarón, this is my favourite of the Harry Potter films, partly because of the gorgeous cinematography, partly because Harry’s hair is perfect (this is a quibble I unashamedly stand by). But the aforementioned cinematography is wonderfully cold and chilly while also being magical and cozy. The Dementors, a representation of depression and despair, also feel seasonally thematic, while the Patronus Charm that repels them reminds us of the power of hope.

Cover of The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride

A kid, home sick from school, grudgingly allows his grandfather to read him a dusty storybook, which is how we meet the innocent Buttercup, about to marry the nefarious Prince Humperdinck though her heart belongs to Westley. A mysterious pirate, a vengeful Spaniard, and a good-natured giant interrupt the wedding plans.

Why it’s on the list: The movie is framed by a sick kid being told a story by his grandpa, and what’s cozier than curling up in bed, feeling awful, and being distracted by a story of romance, adventure, and friendship?

Cover of The Tigger Movie

The Tigger Movie

Tigger is having a hard time finding anyone to play with him, so he decides to track down his family tree and find other Tiggers. Concerned that their friend feels sad, Winnie and his friends dress up like Tiggers so he won’t feel so alone. But once Tigger finds out who they really are, it makes him even more determined to find his real family. As Tigger heads out in search of others like himself, he accidentally makes his way into a snowstorm, and Winnie and friends must find him before he gets lost in the cold. 

Why it’s on the list: Look, I know I cry easily but this movie genuinely made me bawl my eyes out. And sometimes feeling cozy is about having a good cry and then being comforted right after, which is exactly what this movie does. Also, there’s something to be said about the power of nostalgia, which means I must also recommend ‘The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh’.

Cover of Frozen II

Frozen II

Why was Elsa born with magical powers? The answer is calling her and threatening her kingdom. Together with Anna, Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven, she’ll set out on a dangerous but remarkable journey. In the first film, Elsa feared her powers were too much for the world. Now she must hope they are enough.

Why it’s on the list: While the first film was a winter wonderland, the sequel takes place on the cusp of winter and is gorgeously animated. However, it definitely has issues which should not be dismissed, which you can read more about here.

Cover of Thumbelina


Born of a flower and growing to only a couple of inches tall, poor Thumbelina is worried she’ll never meet someone her own size, until she happens to catch the eye of Prince Cornelius of the Fairies. Just as soon as she finds love, however, it’s torn away from her when she is kidnapped by Ms. Toad. Now Thumbelina has to escape Ms. Toad’s grasp and search for Prince Cornelius. Luckily, there’s a whole city of animals willing to help her.

Why it’s on the list: Don Bluth films always, to me, perfectly encapsulate the feeling of oncoming winter, from ‘Thumbelina’ to ‘Anastasia’ to ‘The Secret of NIMH’. When I think of this movie, I think of poor Thumbelina crying because she’s cold and lost and her true love has been frozen in a block of ice (again, this feels peak November) as well as the beautiful scene of the fairies bringing Autumn to the land.

And that’s it for my list! What are your Fall favourites? Comment and let us know!

About Sumayyah

Sumayyah is an Information Assistant at the Vaughan Public Libraries. She's also a bookworm and author, constantly dreaming up a multitude of different stories and wrestling with finishing them.  |  Meet the team

4 thoughts on “Feel Good Fall Films

  1. And now I need to re-watch Fantastic Mr. Fox and the Princess Bride. And to finally get around to watching Knives Out. I don’t know if I have any proper fall favourites, but since Nov 5th is coming up can we count V for Vendetta? Though that movie is anything but cozy . Maybe more on point, but still stretching it a bit would be How to Train Your Dragon? Colourful dragons in place of colourful leaves, and, aside from the occasional dragon raid, Berk seems surprisingly cozy for a Viking village.

    Side note: You never linked directly to TV Tropes but that Frozen 2 Forbes article did so I ended up there anyway. That site is like a black hole.

    1. I actually just re-watched the Princess Bride while I was, ironically, sick and off from work! Knives Out is great but warning, if you have emetophobia like me, it can be a hard watch. Oooh, V for Vendetta is very November although how cozy it is would be a matter of perspective haha. How To Train Your Dragon suits better, but for me feels like an October movie (my rationale being dragons -> Halloween -> October). Definitely very cozy though!

      Ah yes, the wonderful, terrible timesuck that is TV Tropes 😀

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  2. Okay, we’re going to have to have a conversation about the 2022 adaptation of Persuasion. I actually enjoyed it for what it was, a fantasy version of the Regency era. It kind of reminded me of Bridgerton, to be honest.

    That being said, I haven’t read the novel. I think once you form a close connection with a book, you just want to be reminded of that experience while viewing an adaptation. Put another way, it’s like we want to see an adaptation of our experience of reading a book, not the book itself, if that makes sense. I felt that way about the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. That is a great book that was made into a mediocre movie, and it was truly an adaptation. They took the general concept and ran with it in a lot of ways.

    I’m going to rewatch Persuasion (2022) to see if my opinion’s have changed, haha. I’m also going to watch the 1995 version because I didn’t know it existed! Thanks for this post, Sumayyah!

    1. Haha, ok, I will consider the possibility I might have enjoyed Persuasion (2022) more if I wasn’t already familiar with and attached to the book, as I feel exactly as you did with the Guernsey movie. I did enjoy Bridgerton, though! Thanks for commenting and let me know how you find the 1995 version!

Comments are closed.