Photo Credit: University of St.Michael’s College
Non-autumn films for your autumn watchlist
Lois Lee, Contributor
Autumn is a season known for colourful leaves, sweater weather, and spooky celebrations. At this time of year, we’re typically drawn to horror and/or fantasy films as a prerequisite for Halloween, or an adventure film with an autumn backdrop to help us ease into the cold weather. Although these films are unarguably suitable for the current season, autumn does not always have to be about witchcraft or harvesting pumpkins; it can also symbolize gratitude and new beginnings. Here, then, are three film recommendations that are not all thematically about the autumn season, and may not include explicit fall imagery, but still hold unique qualities that align with our experiences at this time of year.
Dead Poets Society (1989)
Set in 1959 at an elite all-boys boarding school, this renowned film is about a group of students who are inspired by their English teacher’s unconventional teaching methods to take risks beyond the strict academy and live their lives as they please. The film opens at the start of a new school year, right at the cusp of autumn; a time and season that many of us can resonate with as we begin our new academic adventures in early September. As this time of year signals the potential for a fresh start, seeing the students’ reckless adventures in this film will hopefully inspire you to “seize the day” even as the months get colder.
Inspired by the Mexican Holiday, Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), this Pixar film follows a young musician, Miguel, who accidentally transports himself to the Land of the Dead after his family continuously forbids him from pursuing music. This film feels a bit more seasonal, as Día de Los Muertos takes place in early November, and many of the holiday’s festivities align with autumn. As we follow Miguel’s journey to reconnect with his ancestors and his living family, this film reminds us that autumn is a season of gratitude. So as we showcase appreciation for our families and the memories we create with them all year round, we also should not take these days of celebration for granted.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019)
Based on true events, this wholesome film is about the ensuing friendship between Fred Rogers, the television host of an educational children’s program, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, and Lloyd Vogel, an Esquire journalist who has been assigned to write a profile about Rogers. There is very little depiction of the autumn season in this film, besides the cool, breezy days of New York City and Pittsburgh. Nevertheless, the calm outdoors complements the sense of tranquillity and reassurance that radiates from Rogers and his gentle teachings about coping with our negative emotions. The subtle backdrop of the transitioning season symbolizes opportunities for second chances and our ability to grow alongside each season.