As the temperature starts to plummet and the sun makes fewer appearances, our days of park lunches, beer garden rosés and countless barbecues are about to come to an end *sigh*. Yes, the summer is officially over.
But rather than reminisce wistfully over rooftop bars and swimming pools, let's grab autumn by the horns and make the best of it. It's all about crisp morning walks, snuggling into a soft jumper, hot chocolate, new coats, the falling leaves and spending an evening at the cinema, where it's warm and cosy.
So, to prepare you well for next season’s activities, here are ten must-watch films this autumn. Popcorn at the ready.
Released 12th September
Pride is the story of how a group of lesbian and gay activists lent their support to a small Welsh mining community during 1984-85, spurred on by their mutual disdain for the Thatcher administration. The film from Matthew Warchus is based on a true story, which is brought to life by the outstanding performances from the stellar cast, including Imelda Staunton, Bill Nighy, Paddy Considine and Dominic West. Pride is an uplifting, charming and incredibly humorous film about humanity, self-respect and kindness, reminiscent of Brit-film favourites Billy Elliot and The Full Monty.
The Imitation Game
Released 14th September
In The Imitation Game, Benedict Cumberbatch takes on the role of yet another exceptionally brilliant problem solver, but this time he leaves 221B Baker Street behind, and instead becomes the genius yet troubled mathematician, Alan Turing. This intelligent and fast-paced biopic (which has already caused quite a stir in the simmering awards season chatter) focuses around Turing’s race to crack the German Enigma code during World War II, while battling with his hidden homosexuality which ultimately leads to his prosecution. Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode and Mark Strong also co-star, with Norwegian director Morten Tyldum making his English language film directional debut.
Magic in the Moonlight
Released 19th September
Woody Allen’s latest comedic offering stars Colin Firth as a professional magician, who onstage styles himself as the mystic Wei Ling Soo from the Orient, yet offstage is set on exposing charlatans who claim their tricks are the real thing. Also starring is Emma Stone, who plays a young American girl with supposed telepathic powers that entrance the high society circles of the 1930s French Riviera. The charming film is soft and sweet, visually stunning, with Firth giving us highly appreciated flickers of a certain Mr. Darcy in his performance.
Maps to the Stars
Released 26th September
David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars is a gripping satire on Hollywood and an assault on modern culture. Julianne Moore stars as a washed-up actress desperate to get the lead in a film about her movie-star mother, whilst Mia Wasikowska plays Moore’s troubled assistant, who has returned to Los Angeles following a stint in a mental health institute in the hopes of reconnecting with her estranged Hollywood family. Darkly compelling, this is a blunt and honest depiction of the movie industry’s ambitious, greedy and destructive tendencies and the dangerous rollercoaster of ‘making it’ and then ‘losing it’.
Released 3rd October
The highly-anticipated David Fincher adaption of the bestselling thriller by Gillian Flynn tells the story of a man whose wife suddenly disappears on their anniversary. He then becomes the main suspect in the investigation, with the media circus around him transforming from sympathetic to accusatory. Ben Affleck stars as the grieving husband, with Rosamund Pike playing his missing wife. There have been reports that the film’s storyline varies from the plot found in the book, but with Flynn writing both novel and screenplay, it is sure to be a shocking thriller full of twists and turns.
Released 17th October
The Judge sees Robert Downey Jr hang up his Iron Man tights to take the lead as big city lawyer Hank Palmer, who is forced to return to his childhood home when his mother dies. Here he finds that his estranged father, the town’s judge played by Robert Duvall, is the main suspect in a murder investigation. The film’s focus on broken familial relationships and moral responsibility strikes home to anyone who has found themselves in the position of choosing between what is right and what is best.
This Is Where I Leave You
Released 24th October
This Is Where I Leave You marks Jonathan Trotter’s first film adaption of one his novels about family dysfunction. Jane Fonda stars as the grieving widow who gathers her adult children together at home to sit shiva (a Jewish ritual to mourn loved ones) for a week after their father’s funeral. The children, played by comedy stars Tina Fey, Jason Bateman and Adam Driver, present a hyperbolic yet honest depiction of family tensions and melodrama, where secrets are let slip and catty remarks are exchanged, all accompanied by a dose of slapstick comedy and heart-warming moments.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
Released 20th November
The hotly anticipated third instalment of The Hunger Games franchise is set to hit our screens near the end of November, continuing on from the shocking cliff-hanger we were left with at the end of the second film, Catching Fire. Jennifer Lawrence as the protagonist Katniss is empowering and mesmerising, and with actors such as Julianne Moore joining the already star-studded cast, the film is set to be explosive, thrilling and intense as we watch the dystopian world of Panem begin to crumble.
Released 26th December
Unbroken is the extraordinary story of Olympic long-distance runner Louis Zamperini, who fought in World War II as a bombardier. When his plane was shot down over the Pacific Ocean, he survived 47 days adrift at sea before being taken prisoner by the Japanese. Unbroken sees Angelina Jolie present her second film as director, with the Coen brothers working their magic on Zamperini’s biography and turning it into a classy, patriotic screenplay. You may recognise the star Jack O’Connell (who plays Zamperini) as Cooke from the teen drama Skins, and his breakout performance could help lead the film towards some serious Oscar considerations. We see Zamperini overcome bullying, become a champion athlete, survive the war and endure torture.
Released 26th December
The remake of this classic 1970s musical is set in a contemporary New York, with Beats of the Southern Wilds actress Quvenzhané Wallis taking on the lead as the plucky orphan Annie. With Cameron Diaz playing the evil Miss Hannigan and Jamie Foxx as the millionaire philanthropist who takes Annie in, the modern reboot and high-profile cast is sure to draw in a lot of family attention. The songs are of course are sugary and cheesy, but we know that if we go and see the film, we and the rest of the cinema audience will be singing along to all of the songs. We won’t be able to escape the festive spirit and holiday mood after watching this film.
Words: Natalie Clark