It’s so easy to get lost in a sea of Amazon Prime content. From their binge-worthy original shows to their riveting movie anthologies (have you seen the Small Axe films?!), it feels impossible to not spend hours scrolling through their list of titles.
I know, I know—the process can feel quite daunting. But fortunately, I’ve scoured the Amazon archives and hand-picked a few standout films that seriously blew me away (which, TBH, doesn’t happen that often). Whether you’re up for an insightful historical drama or a feel-good romance film, here are seven Amazon Prime movies you won’t regret adding to your queue, according to this entertainment editor.
1. ‘One Night In Miami’
Regina King’s directorial debut is nothing short of spectacular. Inspired by Kemp Powers’s 2013 stage play of the same name, this movie follows the fictionalized meeting of four Black American icons in 1964: Muhammad Ali (Eli Goree), Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.) and Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge). Shortly after Ali defeats Sonny Liston and becomes the world heavyweight champion, he invites the other three men to celebrate with him at the Hampton House Motel in Miami.
I could go on and on about the groundbreaking performances and stellar cinematography, but it’s especially fascinating to see these historical characters engage in spirited dialogue about the civil rights movement. It’s raw, it’s gripping and it’s incredibly insightful. Easily one of the best movies you’ll see this year.
2. ‘Sylvie’s Love’
In Sylvie’s Love, we follow an aspiring filmmaker named Sylvie Parker (Tessa Thompson), who falls for a rising musician named Robert Halloway (Nnamdi Asomugha) after meeting him at his father’s record store. As the two lovebirds pursue their separate careers throughout the years, they continue to find their way back to each other.
From the colorful ‘50s attire and jazz tunes to Thompson and Asomugha’s beautiful on-screen chemistry, this film is simply delightful. It’s especially refreshing to see a Black couple develop a relationship that’s not rooted in trauma.
3. ‘Black Box’
The horror film follows Nolan Wright (Mamoudou Athie), a photographer who survives a devastating car accident. He loses his wife and his memories, which makes it difficult for him to care for his daughter. Feeling desperate to regain his memories, he undergoes an experimental treatment to help him remember, but the process winds up raising even more questions.
I’ll spare you the spoilers, but this movie, which is part of the Welcome to the Blumhouse film series, is a touching story that comes with quite a few unexpected twists. Mamoudou Athie, Phylicia Rashad and Amanda Christine are also brilliant in this film.
4. ‘Crown Heights’
It tells the incredibly moving true story of Colin Warner, who was wrongfully convicted of murder when he was just 18 years old. While he spent several years behind bars, his best friend, Carl King, devoted his life to proving Colin’s innocence.
Crown Heights is one of those movies that will leave you feeling heartbroken and inspired at the same time. It’s impossible to not be moved by the outpouring of love and support by Colin’s family, or by the unwavering efforts of his best friend to prove him innocent. And yet, you can’t help but get angry at the injustice of it all—especially since Colin’s experience is so common.
After successfully escaping from her abusive partner with her two daughters, Sandra (Clare Dunne) tries to find a new place to live. But after going back and forth with a broken housing system, Sandra decides to build a new home with the help of a few friends. When things finally start to look up for the mom, however, her ex-husband sues for custody of the children.
While some parts are heart-wrenching, it’s a powerful story of hope. The odds always seem to be stacked against Sandra, but her strength and resilience will inspire anyone who watches this film.
6. ‘Honey Boy’
Based on Shia LaBeouf’s own childhood and his relationship with his father, Honey Boy follows a budding TV star named Otis Lort (Noah Jupe, Lucas Hedges). As he continues to rise to fame, his abusive and alcoholic father takes over as his guardian, leading to a toxic relationship that wreaks havoc on Otis mentally and emotionally.
As evidenced in the trailer alone, LaBeouf has come a very long way since his Even Stevens days. And the movie does an amazing job of addressing issues like PTSD and alcoholism.
This historical drama is based on the true story of the Mangrove Nine—a group of Black British protesters who were falsely charged with inciting a riot during the ‘70s. In the film, we follow Frank Crichlow (Shaun Parkes), a restaurant owner who’s forced to deal with a number of police raids. This inspires him and his community to organize a peaceful march, but it eventually results in multiple arrests and an eight-week long trial.
It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with this film (more on that here). Included as the first installment of Steve McQueen’s Small Axe series, Mangrove is eye-opening, it includes an amazing cast and, more importantly, it tackles issues that are still relevant today. I ought to mention that several parts are very difficult to watch, but I promise, it’s worth your time.
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