“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” This quote from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off describes perfectly what this poignant film from Portugal is all about. Autumn is a misnomer. The movie actually takes place from one Autumn to the next in the life of a very close-knit Portuguese family whose offspring are on the verge of adulthood. This entry from this year’s Austin Film Festival delivers a slice-of-life glimpse into a family that is eventually about to become an empty nest for a pair of loving and imperfect parents.
From writer/director, António Sequeira comes a very subtle but ultimately moving glimpse into the life of a humble Portuguese family whose son (Salvador Gil) is about to leave home for the first time to study abroad at the collegiate level. The film follows the family as they adjust to these new changes as one son goes through his first year at a university, while the parents (Elsa Valentim, Miguel Frazão) and younger daughter (Beatriz Frazão) experience their lives through the four seasons following the young man’s departure and his seasonal visits at home.
While this movie doesn’t make any overtly powerful statements about the world, the writing, direction, and acting make Autumn very engaging and moving as this simple Portuguese family learns to adapt to the inevitable changes in the family. Everything plays out so beautifully and naturally that the experience feels genuine and authentic. While Autumn isn’t exactly the best movie I have seen this year, it will always hold a special place in my heart. Cinema like this feels so real and organic and is exceptional for that reason. António Sequeira has the talent to translate these simple ideas and feelings into something that reflects the human condition.