Tag Archives: Cozy

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!

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Some Cozy Fantasy for the Soul

May is peak cottagecore vibes for me: the nascent blooms, the birdsong, the feel of sun on your skin. It’s all very life-affirming after the cold dregs of winter. Cottagecore, like spring, is pleasant. Pretty. Unchallenging. And above all, a fantasy. So what better time of year than May to dip into some cozy fantasy? 

I was first made aware of this niche genre by a friend of mine, a fellow cozy enjoyer, my Stardew Valley compatriot. While discussing our current reads, she turned to me and said, “Okay, don’t judge me, but…” and then described Legends and Lattes to me, essentially a story about an orc running a coffee shop. Far from judging, I thought it sounded lovely. I looked it up and had a chuckle at the novel’s subtitle: “A Novel of High Fantasy and Low Stakes”. Because that’s cozy fantasy in a nutshell. The fantasy doesn’t necessarily need to be high, but the stakes must be low. Sometimes you want to just chill with some elves without it becoming a whole thing. 

Typically, the markings of high fantasy involve (per Masterclass) “a setting very unlike Earth”, “world threatening forces”, and “fantastic creatures, historic or unusual technologies, magical elements, and other unearthly elements”. We’re talking Lord of the Rings, A Song of Ice and Fire, The Fifth Season territory: maybe based somewhat on the real world (Tolkien and Martin based their continents on Earth’s recognizable geography), but populated with fantastical creatures and shaped by a need to vanquish a world-shattering foe (or foes). Cozy fantasy, on the other hand, can feature the trappings of high fantasy (creatures, magic, etc.) without the hassle of saving the world. Everyone’s definitions of what counts as “cozy” seems to differ slightly, but I like the way Book Riot puts it: “Cozy is an emotive modifier like horror or thriller, where the category informs readers what emotional effect the book builds.” It’s a rejection of the cynical, grimdark facets of some modern fantasy (like the Game of Thrones HBO series) which can sometimes seem dark for dark’s sake. This is fantasy, people! We don’t always have to base it on some pseudo-medieval brutality!  

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The Art of Getting Cozy

“In November, the trees are standing all sticks and bones. Without their leaves, how lovely they are, spreading their arms like dancers. They know it is time to be still.”

— Cynthia Rylant, In November

Here November is, a precursor to the long hard slog of a Canadian winter, and what a chilled November it is. It’s a month of in-betweens and a month of rushing: to get out of the cold, to enjoy what daylight there is, to get our shopping done or take advantage of the sales, to hurry toward our still-far-off holidays and the new year, anything to distract us from right here, right now.

It is, in short, a month that threatens misery and exhaustion…unless you decide to make like the clever creatures of the wild and get cozy. Unfortunately, we live in a society where human hibernation is not really viable (although maybe it could be one day), but that doesn’t mean we can’t get into the spirit of settling in somewhere warm and indulging in comfort.

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