It’s the time of year in which the ailments of the heart can only be cured by hot soup and perfect fall movies.
A “perfect fall movie” cannot be characterized in terms of genre or trope. It is an indescribable subset of cinema that can only be determined by a vibe you get while watching a movie. For instance, if a film makes you equal parts nostalgic, inspired, depressed and desperate to visit New England, it is a perfect fall movie. If it makes you desperate to ransack the thrift store for sensible cable-knit sweaters, it is a perfect fall movie. If it makes you sigh, open Hinge and immediately close it again, it is a perfect fall movie. If it gives you the urge to climb a tree, call your sisters or brew a potion, it is a perfect fall movie.
It’s easy to get led astray by movies that want to be perfect fall movies, but cannot capture the necessary vibe. So, to make sure you don’t waste your time, here are five of the best to get you started.
- When Harry Met Sally
- I mean, obviously. It’s Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal, it was written by Nora Ephron and there are literally autumnal trees in the cover picture. When Harry Met Sally is a cozy, chemistry-packed friends-to-lovers comedy with the perfect ratio of cynicism to sentimentality. And it is easily one of the most quotable rom-coms of all time.
- Mystic Pizza
- Mystic Pizza follows three New England girls in their late teens who work at a pizza shop. There is sisterhood, romance, and the plucky spirit of a mom-and-pop restaurant trying to get a good rating from a food critic. Oh, and it’s Matt Damon’s film debut!
- You’ve Got Mail
- You’ve Got Mail is one of those movies that doesn’t ever seem to get less special even if you’ve seen it a dozen times. Another classic from the dynamic duo (Meg Ryan + Nora Ephron) it is a slow burn love story between two people who are, unbeknownst to each other, both online friends and IRL enemies. It’s autumn in New York, half of the movie happens inside a bookstore, and the chemistry is palpable.
- Practical Magic
- If you didn’t know you needed to see Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman play sisters with the power of witchcraft, you do now. Not only is the spooky plot perfect for this time of year, but the overall aesthetics of the film will also speak to any fall-lover on a deep, spiritual level. The fashion inspiration alone is reason enough to add this to your watchlist.
- That Night
- A precious coming-of-age film, That Night is a total hidden gem. It follows a preteen girl who massively admires the older girl across the street. A mentorship and sisterly friendship forms between the two, while a romance between two other characters carries through. It’s set in 70s Long Island which makes for a cozy, nostalgic setting even as the characters navigate uncomfortable situations. Juliette Lewis has never touched a movie that didn’t turn to gold!
- About Time
- Ugh, I’m already crying. About Time is a time-travel flick, but not in a gimmicky Back To The Future way—it is a romantic comedy that touches on familial love, finding yourself alongside a romantic partner, and the beautiful singularity of everyday life. Also, beautiful British people with beautiful British accents.
Grab your cider, find a cat to snuggle with (preferably a black cat), and tell your roommates you’re going to need the living room TV for a while.
Graphic by: Laura Armbruster