Here’s the ultimate autumn watchlist to distract you from the realities of first term!

Ah yes nothing says free therapy like watching movies to romanticise every aspect of Autumn ever like the excitement of the fall of the first orange leaf by Cam River…


With Michaelmas fast approaching, it is necessary to start romanticising Cambridge as a place to live out our quote unquote ‘Rory Gilmore’ dreams, rather than the venue for our impending doom as we face the begrudging workload ahead.

Autumn: the dark academic, sweater-wearing, chai latte-indulging season. Once I listen to The Smiths as I trudge through the heaps of orange leaves, I know I’ve made it to October. And what better way to channel the season than to watch these recommendations, and delude yourself into thinking that Cambridge is ultimately just aesthetics.

If you want to feel like you’re wandering the halls of Hogwarts, when in reality you’re just lost in the corridors of the UL, then read on!

The Dead Poets Society

I think this movie singlehandedly inspired generations of Oxbridge applicants (myself included) with its  cinematography that feels very Donna Tartt-esque, and dark academia backdrop. Unfortunately, it perhaps reflects Cambridge life too well as it follows a group of young men who choose to abandon their artistic passions in favour of living up to the academic validations of their parents.

Warning: There is a slight slandering of STEM pursuits in favour of the humanities. The film’s depiction of friendship and camaraderie will set off the waterworks and remind you that you should probably recite ‘O Captain, My Captain’ in the lecture hall.  A must-watch!

Image credits: Author’s own screenshot from Disney Plus (Dead Poets Society)

The Harry Potter Series (specifically The Prisoner of Azkaban)

An obvious but classic shout, and 100 per cent the reason why Cambridge adapted gowns in formals and matriculation ceremonies. While also being the epitome of nostalgia,  Harry Potter must also be looked to for autumn style inspiration because that Ravenclaw scarf and Harry/Ron knitted sweater is such a sickening serve (sidge girlies take note!).

The Prisoner of Azkaban (the third film in the series) is the most autumn-y feeling as it highlights the landscapes of the Scottish Highlands (like in the scene when Harry rides Buckbeak), creating a beautiful autumnal palette.

The series as a whole is undoubtedly the perfect way to romanticise your Cambridge experience across your whole degree but the Prisoner of Azkaban is my personal fave!

Fantastic Mr. Fox

This movie is an excellent example of Wes Anderson’s beautiful and unique cinematography. The earthy orange and yellow colour palette, along with the charming dialogue, makes it an almost perfect movie, and  a perfect representation of the fuzzy feeling of fall (sorry, autumn).

A heart-warming story about appreciating one’s features and imperfections is always a hit with me (God knows I live for cartoons with important messages almost as if I’m their target audience).

Image credits: author’s own screenshot from Youtube (Fantastic Mr Fox- Official Theatrical Trailer)

Little Women

Ok, I know what you’re thinking, the Engling just had to include some kind of melodramatic, feminist classic into the roster. And, yes, I did. This is a story of four sisters who live, grow and learn from each other, an incredibly beautiful and inspiring tale.

Whether you prefer Christian Bale or Timothée Chalamet, I can assure you that you will not be disappointed. With the 2019 version in mind, Chalamet’s Laurie acts as a very strong inspiration to anyone channelling an Oscar Wilde-esque autumn (aka nestling with some Marxist books in some obscure café).

Image credits: author’s own screenshot from YouTube (Little Women Official Trailer- Sony Pictures India)

500 Days of Summer

Oh, how I love irony and puns.  This movie follows Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character, Tom, in his pursuit of Summer (Zooey Deschanel), and serves as a perfect reminder that ideals of love are interpreted in many different ways. (Author note: please do not look to this movie as an accurate representation of love or how to deal with your Snapchat talking stage).


This one borders into Halloween territory but, nevertheless, is a top-tier movie with a star-studded cast with the likes of Claire Danes, Michelle Pfeiffer, and (even stranger) Robert De Niro. The movie is a fantastical overload of witches, kings and  pirates (played by De Niro). It follows a quest to capture the fallen star Yvaine (Danes) and follows her adventure with Tristan (Charlie Cox) as her guide. At times, there were some quite dramatic embellishments of the plot that could make you wonder whether some of the writers were on some kind of hallucinogenic drug but, on the whole, a very cosy type of movie for autumn.

When Harry Met Sally

No autumn movie list would be complete without this classic. The plot follows the titular characters Harry and Sally reconnecting various times across the years, as they maintain a friendship riddled with sexual tension. The movie poses perhaps the most important question to ever be asked in the existence of humanity: ‘Can men and women ever be just friends?’ With the short answer (according to this movie) being: probably not.  There is one particular scene when Harry and Sally are walking through Central Park that springs to mind in relation to the autumn feels. Feel free to recreate this on the backs with a potential fling!

Image credits: author’s own screenshot from YouTube (When Harry met Sally… (1989) – Trailer HD Remastered)

But on a real note: live, laugh, love, Cambridge.

Feature image credits: Trinity Newton Appletree by Jess Marais

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