Fall has been officially upon us since late September, but it’s finally starting to feel like it. As we prepare to turn the clocks back and Boston’s weather becomes pleasantly brisk, here are seven classic “sweater weather” movies based in New England to curl up to this weekend.
“Knives Out” (2019)
Famed crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plumber) is murdered during his 85th birthday party at his cavernous Massachusetts estate (partially filmed at North Easton’s Ames Mansion). The killer’s identity is uncertain, but what’s clear is that every family member is guilty of something. The film’s star-studded cast — Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Toni Collette, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Ana de Armas to name a few — untangle the mystery (and shield secrets of their own) against misty New England skies and the burnt reds and oranges of fall foliage. Rian Johnson’s comical whodunit is full of misdirects and mishaps, but Evans’s cream cable-knit sweater — which he sports for part of the film — is as coveted as it is cozy.
“Good Will Hunting” (1997)
Matt Damon (Will Hunting), Ben Affleck (Chuckie Sullivan), and Robin Williams (Dr. Sean Maguire) star in this award-winning drama that is set in more than a few familiar places. Hunting is a Massachusetts Institute of Technology janitor, a Southie native, and a math genius. Chuckie is his childhood friend. When opportunity (and an MIT professor) knock on Hunting’s door, his old relationships and old habits are called into question and he solves for the ultimate equation: What’s worth holding onto and what’s worth the risk?
“Little Women” (2019)
For those seeking period pieces and fall flicks, Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women” fits both bills. Set (and filmed) in Concord, the movie follows the four iconic March sisters — played by Saoirse Ronan as Jo, Florence Pugh as Amy, Emma Watson as Meg, and Eliza Scanlen as Beth. While the story spans all four seasons, the film’s autumnal color palette is aesthetically pleasing and an ode to New England’s vibrantly colored changing leaves. The movie magic doesn’t have to end there: Trek to the historic Massachusetts town and Orchard House, where Louisa May Alcott penned the classic novel, to experience the foliage frolicking for yourself.
“Practical Magic” (1998)
A cult classic based on Alice Hoffman’s novel of the same name, this romance-drama follows sisters (and witches), Sally and Gillian Owens (Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman respectively) as they learn about love, loss, and magic of all kinds. Set in a fictional Massachusetts coastal town (but mostly filmed in Coupeville, Wash.), the film follows a family that must unite to use their powers against a beau-gone-bad while trying to keep another alive, defying the family curse. The curse? That any man an Owens woman loves is condemned.
“Dead Poets Society” (1989)
John Keating (Robin Williams) is one of the most unique professors the fictional New England Welton Academy has ever seen. By emphasizing the emotion in poetry rather than the form, Keating teaches a group of teenage boys constricted by the restraints and expectations of their elite boarding school to be bold, expressive, and unafraid. Even if your days in a classroom are long behind you, one stream of this beloved back-to-school film will have you exclaiming, “O Captain! My Captain!” in no time.
When Kat (Christina Ricci) moves into a haunted mansion in Friendship, Maine, to rid the house of its pesky spirits with her “ghost psychiatrist” father (Bill Pullman), she doesn’t expect to meet Casper (Malachi Pearson). Casper is a ghost who is sweet rather than scary. He is also a lovestruck, romantic soul: One night, he takes Kat to the top of a lighthouse overlooking the chilly Maine waters to talk about their childhood memories. The setting is dark, but their friendship is heartwarming, making this lighthearted film the perfect family feature.
“The Witches of Eastwick” (1987)
Covens become something cozy in George Miller’s spooky comedy about three frustrated witches — played by Cher, Susan Sarandon, and Michelle Pfeiffer — searching for change (at any cost). After the mysterious Daryl Van Horne (Jack Nicholson) arrives in town and becomes intertwined in their lives, the trio take hold of their powers, both magic and metaphorical. Based on John Updike’s novel of the same name, the quiet, bay-side town of Eastwick is loosely based on Wickford, R.I.