When Amazon debuted Amazon Prime more than a decade ago, CEO Jeff Bezos and company simply wanted to give their loyal customers a chance to save some money on shipping costs. As the service gained a massive subscription base, the company continued adding a slew of incredible perks, such as access to Prime Pantry, same-day delivery, and Amazon Prime Instant Video.
Now, anyone with an Amazon Prime subscription has easy access to thousands of hit movies and TV shows, all with the simple click of a mouse. To help subscribers sift through Amazon’s sizable library, we’ve taken up the task of finding the best movies currently available on the service.
A Ghost Story
David Lowery’s A Ghost Story takes a simple — some might even say silly — premise as its foundation and builds atop it a beautiful, mournful film about death and the passage of time. The film begins with a man, C (Casey Affleck), and a woman, M (Rooney Mara). C dies in a car crash early on, but his soul continues to wander, draped in a hospital sheet under which he spends the rest of the film. C returns to the house he shared with M, watching as she grieves and eventually moves on. He remains, watching as the house changes hands, and the world changes entirely. A Ghost Story is light on plot and even dialogue, with Lowery using thoughtful shots and beautiful scene compositions to convey emotion.
Manchester by the Sea
This bleak drama, directed by playwright Kenneth Lonergan, is set in the titular town of Manchester, a town Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) would prefer never to return to. Chandler lives out his days working as a janitor in Quincy, away from any connections to his past. Tragedy brings him home; his brother, Joe (Kyle Chandler), dies, leaving behind a teenage son, Patrick (Lucas Hedges), and a will asking Lee to take care of him. Manchester by the Sea is a deeply personal drama, examining the ways tragedy can wear away at a person’s soul, and whether it is possible to come back from the brink. Despite the premise, the movie is not gloomy from start to end; the script allows for plenty of humor and warmth throughout, making for a film that captures the complexity of life.
Inside Llewyn Davis
In the soft shadows of The Gaslight Cafe, folk singer Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) croons that he “wouldn’t mind the hanging.” Leave it to the Coen Brothers to oblige him. Two of America’s most mercurial filmmakers, the Coens have approached both grim tragedy and madcap comedy in their films, sometimes at the same time. Inside Llewyn Davis falls on the bleaker end of the spectrum, following Davis as he attempts to get his music career on track in the wake of his musical partner’s suicide. His finances are not the only part of his life falling apart; his former lover, Jean (Carey Mulligan), pregnant with a child that is likely his, wants nothing to do with him. Davis’ struggle, set against the frost-glazed backdrop of New York, is a tragic one, but the film is not without humor, black though it may be. The characters surrounding Llewyn are as vibrant as he is cold … particularly Justin Timberlake as Jane’s new boyfriend.