If we’re all being honest, fall is undeniably the best season. The weather is amazing, the seasonal drinks are delicious, and there is nothing more enthralling than the sound of leaves crunching underfoot. So, to celebrate the arrival of my favorite time of year, I thought it was only right to compile a list of eight movies that embody all things sweet, spooky, and cozy.
Little Women: Streaming on Starz Rating: 5/5
A never ending barrage of tears, tenderness, and ruminations on the importance of familial love, Little Women is arguably a perfect watch for any season. The story follows the four March sisters throughout the ups and downs of their adolescence as they experience love, loss, and the pain of growing up. Little Women is an ideal fall film because it explores difficult seasons of change then basks you in a radiant glow of comfort. Everytime I watch this movie, I experience the uncontrollable urge to hunt down each of my sisters and give them a good, long hug. Perfect for a family movie night or if you’re in the mood to shed some tears in solitude, Little Women is a movie that radiates love and will leave you feeling as warm and toasty as a cup of hot chocolate.
We Have Always Lived in the Castle: Streaming on Netflix Rating: 4/5
We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a cinematic crockpot that simmers with suspense until it boils over into a shocking conclusion. After a family tragedy, sisters Mary and Constance live in isolation on a lonely estate, safely sheltered from the outside world. Mary and Constance’s existence is peaceful and dull, until the arrival of their cunning cousin Charles unearths long-buried family secrets and causes their peaceful life to spiral into a nightmare. The elegant estate is the perfect backdrop for the calamity that unfolds, and the unsettling series of events will make you guffaw, shiver, and screech in delight. For the full effect, I highly recommend viewing this right before Thanksgiving dinner so that you can gaze suspiciously across the table at each of your family members and ponder what they might be hiding.
Pride and Prejudice: Streaming on Cinemax Rating 100/5
I blame Pride and Prejudice for single-handedly giving me impossibly high expectations of romance, but I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. In a time when young women are supposed to be docile, demure, and eager to marry, Elizabeth Bennet is anything but. She can’t stand the silly, frivolous business of romantic courtship, and most of all, she can’t stand Fitzwilliam Darcy, a proud, aloof man who never ceases to get under her skin. Enemies to lovers is an endlessly satisfying trope, and I think it’s safe to say that Pride and Prejudice does it best. The soundtrack is soaring, the 18th century fashion is a feast for the eyes, and the line, “I love you, most ardently,” is simply unmatched in its goosebump-inducing power. I wish I could put into words how much I love this movie, but I simply cannot, so you’ll just have to watch it yourself.
The Invitation: Streaming on Tubi Rating: 4/5
I adore movies about dinner parties gone-wrong, and The Invitation is truly one for the books. Still reeling from the death of his son, Will is none too eager to accept when his ex-wife invites him to a dinner party in the very home where the tragedy occured. The evening is uncomfortable from the get-go, but before long, things shift from awkward to weird, and what transpires will change the course of Will’s life, if he can survive the evening, that is. By the time the credits roll, you’ll feel like your nerves have been ground to pulp with a cheese grater, but I mean that as a compliment of the highest degree. If you’re in the mood for something slow-burning, dread-inducing, and truly freaky, The Invitation is definitely worth accepting.
A Ghost Story: Streaming on Netflix Rating 4/5
As chilling as it is, A Ghost Story is not a horror film but a creative exploration of the nature of grief. After dying in a violent car crash, a man aimlessly haunts his home, unseen by his grieving young wife. There’s something equally tragic and sweet about the image of the white sheet, standing quietly in corners, lingering in shadows, and at one point, silently watching his wife tearfully consume an entire pie. A Ghost Story is eerily slow and quiet, to the point that we ourselves often feel like a ghostly observer. The film’s greatest strength is its ability to find emotional significance in the most mundane of moments. Intimate, unsettling, and extremely unique, A Ghost Story remains evocative and haunting long after the credits roll.
Rebecca: Streaming on Netflix Rating: 4/5
Fittingly titled, Rebecca is a film that demonstrates how deeply past relationships can haunt us, no matter how hard we struggle to forgive and forget. After a whirlwind romance and hasty marriage to handsome aristocrat Maxim, young Mrs De Winter can’t believe her luck. But after moving to his sprawling, isolated estate, the idealistic fairytale swiftly starts to crumble. The staff are hostile, Maxim grows distant, and it becomes clear that sinister secrets are lurking beneath the sophisticated surface of Cornwall manor. Rebecca is an eerie, elegant mystery that unfolds with Jane Eyre-esque suspense. I could watch this movie again and again just because of how visually appealing it is. Creepy, stylish, and entrancing, Rebecca is the perfect movie to watch on a stormy night while clutching a cup of hot tea.
Night Hunter: Streaming on Amazon Prime Rating: 5/5
Evil likes to hide in the dark, and as is revealed by the harrowing events in Night Hunter, sometimes the greatest evil hides in ordinary people. Police detective Marshall has seen it all. He is no stranger to the horrifying things that humans are capable of. But when the reappearance of a missing girl sets off a disturbing chain of events, Marshall must face his most harrowing case yet, and this time it’s deeply personal. Night Hunter sports one of the most fascinating villains that I’ve seen in a long time and will give you whiplash (in the best way possible) from all the thrilling twists and turns. The perfect watch for a spooky fall evening, Night Hunter is a high stakes, spine-tingling game of cat and mouse that will dissuade you from ever walking alone at night again.
Marriage Story: Streaming on Netflix Rating 5/5
In a lot of ways, Marriage Story is a love story just as much as it is the story of a love coming to an end. Charlie and Nicole are getting a divorce. Unfortunately, they’re still in love, which makes the whole affair so much more unpleasant than it already is. Interestingly enough, the saddest moments in Marriage Story are not in the venom and conflict of the divorce but in fond, intimate moments that Charlie and Nicole share, even as they work through the process of ending their marriage. The writing is genius, the acting is superb, (I firmly believe that Adam Driver was robbed of an Oscar) and the conclusion is equal parts tear-jerking and tender. Excruciatingly sad but stubbornly hopeful, Marriage Story is a raw, poignant portrait of marriage, family, and the difficult nature of love.
So whip out your flannels and fuzzy blankets, heat up a mug of apple cider, and prepare to shiver, sigh wistfully, or gaze mysteriously out your window while watching one of these fall favorites.
All featured images courtesy of IMDB.com