The 20 Coziest Movies To Watch When The Temperatures Drop
When the temperatures drop in the late months of the year, there’s no better activity than curling up on the sofa and catching up with all your favorite cozy movies. Whether you’re looking for a sappy romance, a tearjerker that somehow manages to end on a high note, a dark fantasy that lingers on the moodiness of winter, or a Christmas movie that reminds you of the joys (and struggles) of family gatherings, cozy movies come in all genres.
No matter what your plans are for this time of year, chances are you’ll need an escape from reality at some point. Here is the cinematic comfort food that you need to get you through the coldest months until spring makes the outdoors hospitable again. Vote up the films that are perfect for a day on the couch under your fuzziest blanket.
- Photo: New Line Cinema
Holidays are few and far between in Middle-earth, and yet, The Lord of the Rings trilogy is perfect for binge-watching when the cold weather hits. What could be cozier than Hobbits, Elves (not the Santa kind, but still magical), and Wizards? The Fellowship of the Ring is all about the powerful bonds of friendship, a type of connection that is often overlooked during the winter season in favor of family ties, but which is nonetheless an integral part of feeling content and cozy around the holidays. Frodo and Sam, Merry and Pippin, Aragorn and Boromir, Legolas and Gimli all have to set aside their differences and navigate the struggles ahead as a team. Their triumph over evil is a timeless story of loyalty and friendship that never gets old.
The Fellowship of the Ring has something for everyone. There’s romance, action, fantasy, bromance, and the amazing New Zealand scenery. It’s an excellent choice if you’re trying to find a movie that the whole family can enjoy, and since people usually have a little more time on their hands during the winter season, the nine hours (or 12 if you’re watching the extended version) of the trilogy offer a great way to while away the hours.
- 265 VOTES
Live-action movies about anthropomorphized animals don’t always stick the landing (just ask Tom Hooper), but the team behind 2014’s Paddington exceeded expectations by a mile. Based on the beloved children’s story, the movie follows the titular marmalade-crazy bear who travels from the Peruvian wilderness to London. There, he learns a few lessons about city life and is taken in by the Brown family. Full of eccentric characters, a bright color palette, and the dulcet voice of Ben Whishaw as Paddington, this adaptation isn’t just a great kids’ movie, but a great movie, period. The supporting cast includes a who’s-who of British acting greats, from Downton Abbey’s Hugh Bonneville, to Sally Hawkins, to the consummate misanthrope Peter Capaldi. Meanwhile, Nicole Kidman plays a campy villain in the tradition of Cruella de Vil.
Paddington is one of those movies that you can watch again and again and be constantly delighted and uplifted. It’s perfect for the chilly months when the days are shorter and you’d rather spend the evening curled up on the sofa than out at a party. Luckily for Paddington fans, the sequel is, if anything, even better than the first film. With the addition of an evil thespian played by Hugh Grant and Brendan Gleeson’s prison chef named Knuckles McGinty, it’s the perfect follow-up. Make yourself a marmalade sandwich and a cup of tea and make it a double bill.
- 383 VOTESPhoto: Lionsgate
Just when it seemed like cozy murder mysteries were, well, dead, Rian Johnson came to the rescue with the quintessential Agatha Christie-style whodunit for the 21st century, Knives Out. When a successful novelist dies under mysterious circumstances in his palatial manor house, his horde of money-grasping offspring become the prime suspects, and an eccentric detective is on the case.
With a star-studded cast including Ana de Armas, Christopher Plummer, Jamie Lee Curtis, Lakeith Stanfield, and Michael Shannon, Johnson had a lot going for him from the start, but the biting social satire, lush countryside, and perfectly other-the-top performances make for a final product that’s even more than the sum of its parts. Daniel Craig’s central performance as the detective in question is delightfully anti-Bond, thanks in large part to an off-the-scale Southern-ish accent, while a spooky manor house, piles of autumn leaves, and Chris Evans in a cable-knit sweater conspire to make this one of the best cozy murder mysteries to hit movie screens in recent memory. In fact, Johnson’s foray into the genre was so successful that he re-teamed with Craig for a sequel, Glass Onion, in 2022.
- 474 VOTESPhoto: Columbia Pictures
Screenwriter Nora Ephron penned one of the most beloved and timeless romantic comedies with 1989’s When Harry Met Sally… It’s perfect viewing for any time of the year, but there is something particularly special about watching it when the chill starts to set in. Harry (Billy Crystal) and Sally (Meg Ryan) meet just after college, but their friendship spans years (and endless amounts of affectionate bickering) before they realize what the audience has known all along: they are made for each other.
Whether you're watching it for the debate about male and female friendship, the immortal diner scene, Carrie Fisher’s stellar supporting performance, or the most romantic monologue ever shouted over the din of a New Year’s Eve party, even the most cynical and romance-phobic person will be won over by this movie. It's one of the few holiday-adjacent films that doesn't center around Christmas, and as such is the perfect option for those who love the winter months but have a serious case of holiday fatigue. It can be enjoyed at any time of the year, but the scene in which the friends stroll through a blaze of fall colors in Central Park will transport you straight to autumn and melt even the chilliest of winter hearts.
- Photo: Warner Bros.
There aren’t many people who claim that the first Harry Potter movie is the best in the franchise, but when it comes to feeling warm and fuzzy about characters you love, it doesn’t get much better than this. Seeing Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint as adorable 11- and 12-year-olds is enough to melt the heart of any Potter fan, and no matter how many times you’ve seen the movie, it’s impossible to resist feeling a rush of excitement when Hogwarts appears on screen for the first time or the Sorting Hat starts calling out houses.
In the first movie, Harry learns that he’s a wizard and discovers the truth behind his parents’ death. He boards the Hogwarts Express, forms life-long friendships with Ron and Hermione, and confronts Lord Voldemort for the first time since the fateful night he became an orphan. Columbus’s adaptation of JK Rowling’s first book is much lighter in tone than what future directors would do with the franchise, but it’s a perfect starting point for the young characters and their entry into the magical world. The spell of the Harry Potter franchise is unshakeable for generations of kids and adults, and there are few better ways of bringing the family together during the winter months than gathering around the TV to watch where it all began.
- 681 VOTES
The nostalgia is in full force in Gus Van Sant’s 1989 tearjerker Dead Poets Society. The late Robin Williams stars as a radical English teacher at a repressive boy’s school in New England in the 1950s. His unusual teaching methods and directive to “seize the day” inspire his students to celebrate their individuality and rebel against their strict families and teachers, all while embracing a love of poetry. Filmed on the stately grounds of St. Andrews School in Middletown, Delaware, the movie is steeped in sentimentality for the past which is only compounded by the '50s setting and the chance to see a young Ethan Hawke in one of his earliest roles.
If crying softly into your mug of apple cider is how you like to spend your winter evenings, Dead Poets Society will make you shed tears of sadness and joy in equal measure, all while making you want to stand on the nearest table and shout, “O Captain! My Captain!” when Robin Williams enters the frame.