21 best movies to stream on Amazon Prime Video

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Slyvie’s Love, starring Tessa Thompson and Nnamdi Asomugha.


Amazon Studios

While clicking through Amazon Prime Video, you’ve probably come across a handful of Amazon original movies. They can be hit and miss, but some of them are surprising gems. Amazon snaps up movies like Manchester by the Sea to show in the US, but it also nabs worldwide rights to originals perfect for a night in with a smaller screen. Hopefully you’ll find something to your taste (and available in your country) below.

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Read more: The 19 best TV shows to watch on Amazon Prime Video

Small Axe

Amazon

A sublime anthology that doesn’t drop the ball across its five films. Small Axe is a collection of distinct stories about the lives of West Indian immigrants in London from the ’60s to the ’80s. They’re all directed by Steve McQueen, who’s working at his exquisite best (when doesn’t he?), crafting stories such as courtroom drama Mangrove, based on the 1971 trial of the Mangrove Nine and starring Black Panther’s Letitia Wright. Take a seat and devour this massive achievement.

Sylvie’s Love

Amazon

While Sylvie’s Love is, at its core, an old-fashioned love story, its dewy romance is remarkably refreshing: A period drama centered on Black people that isn’t dominated by issues of race and bigotry. Set in an aesthetically-enchanting ’60s New York City, it follows Sylvie and Robert, who have a chance to reconnect after a summer romance five years ago. Both work in music and the film’s soundtrack, featuring Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson and more, helps transport you to this glowing place.

I’m Your Woman

Amazon

Not your usual crime thriller, I’m Your Woman follows the perspective of a mobster’s wife, played by The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s Rachel Brosnahan. A betrayal forces Jean to go on the run with a newborn baby and a bodyguard, her husband’s former associate Cal (Arinzé Kene). The ’70s-set neo-noir circles around themes like racial tensions, privilege and survival. It moves along at a surprisingly steady pace, giving you time to absorb the powerful psychological impact of Jean’s new situation.

The 12 Lives of Sissy Carlyle

Amazon

This crowdfunded film is a bundle of quirky, feel-good adventures in a sweet 90-minute hit. After a tragic loss, 27-year-old antique shop owner Sissy Carlyle retreats into her inner world, imagining 11 different, exciting lives that she details in her journals. But eventually she questions whether to shed her fantasy cocoon and face stark realities, which might not be as hopeless as they once seemed. Uplifting is the word to describe Sissy’s ultimate adventure in The 12 Lives of Sissy Carlyle.

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Amazon Prime Video

Nearly 15 years after Kazakh journalist and TV personality Borat first graced our big screens, he’s back playing pranks on unsuspecting Americans while delivering some incredibly incisive cultural commentary. In Borat 2, or Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, Borat’s on a trip to the US to offer his daughter Tutar (played by a revelatory Maria Bakalova) to Vice President Mike Pence during the 2020 presidential election — and the COVID-19 pandemic. Prepare to cringe at the doubled-down political incorrectness before succumbing to the outrageous laughs.

Selah and the Spades

Amazon

If you’re into the dark-things-happen-at-boarding-schools genre, then Selah and the Spades might be the subject to sign up for. A senior leads a faction called the Spades who sell drugs to other students. But Selah’s about to graduate, so must find the right candidate to carry on her legacy. Shot beautifully and guided by debut director Tayarisha Poe’s unique lens, this is a taste of even greater things to come.

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Amazon Studios

Even if you’ve heard good things about The Handmaiden, nothing can prepare you for the insane twists this exquisite South Korean movie takes. Classed as an erotic psychological thriller, The Handmaiden contains explicit scenes you should probably avoid watching with parents around. It all kicks off with a con man wooing a Japanese heiress with the intention of committing her to an asylum once they’re married. But his pickpocket partner who poses as her maid strays from the plan. If you’ve been getting into South Korean films thanks to Parasite, this is a must watch.

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