10 popular Amazon Studios original movies ranked from worst to best
Tired of searching for the best Amazon Studios original movies from the seemingly endless category menus?
It makes sense. Amazon has one of the worst interfaces of any streaming service, so knowing exactly what you want really does help. And it’s too bad because there is some seriously fantastic content.
Since Netflix has changed its account-sharing rules in Canada, leaving many to cancel their subscriptions, this might be the perfect time to dive into the Amazon library of movies. 2022 had some amazing movies stream and hit theatres, so at least we will always have that option.
When it comes to movie streaming, especially those with an actual theatrical run, few have done it better than Amazon. A few honourable mentions include Guava Island, I Want You Back, The Map of Tiny Perfect Things, and Somebody That I Used to Know.
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Here are our picks for the best Amazon Studios original movies, ranked from worst to best.
Nanny is one of those elevated horrors that delivers on its promise to use scares and tension to tell a story about something specific and relatable to many.
This psychological horror film is about an illegal Senegalese immigrant in New York City who is a nanny to one child while she tries to make enough money to send for her own. It’s a story of romance, heartache, and terrors, and has a heart-wrenching ending that feels earned and literal.
Air has only been in theatres, so many haven’t seen it, but it’s such a fun ride that we needed to include it. This is a nostalgia-fuelled docudrama with humorous moments and corny monologues, but it all works. Ford vs. Ferrari but with a shoe? This totally works (even if it is mostly a Nike commercial).
8. Uncle Frank
Sadly, like many streamers that just don’t catch the wave at the right time, Uncle Frank flew mostly under the radar.
Movies in which the plot focuses on family members who need to return home and face their pasts are not uncommon, but to have them actually be well made is. It’s a beautiful story about love and the fear that can come along with it, told in flashbacks and intimate conversations.
7. The Lost City of Z
Based on the incredible book by David Grann Killers of the Flower Moon, many were hoping this movie would be an Indiana Jones-esque romp through the jungle, but really what they got was a meditative adventure tale (and true story) about the need for accomplishment even in the face of disappointment, embarrassment, and failure.
The three stars are Charlie Hunnam, Tom Holland, and Robert Pattinson, doing some of their best work, and that alone was enough for us.
6. Cold War
This one isn’t exactly an easy sell. It’s a cold (no pun intended), brutal, stark, black-and-white, subtitled story about a love between two musicians that spans decades.
Made by the incredible Polish director Paweł Pawlikowski (this movie is about his parents), Cold War has a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes with a critical consensus that reads, “With a brilliantly stark visual aesthetic to match its lean narrative, Cold War doesn’t waste a moment of its brief running time — and doesn’t skimp on its bittersweet emotional impact.”
If that doesn’t make it an easier sell…
5. Manchester by the Sea
Kenneth Lonergan, the writer and director of this movie, is known for his award-winning stage plays and his emotionally devastating movies. Casey Affleck won Best Actor at the Oscars for this one, and Michelle Williams is just as incredible. The two play against each other as both lovers and two people who have experienced an unimaginable tragedy.
Lonergan manages to navigate around this tragedy to create a human story that still makes us laugh and feels hopeful.
4. The Big Sick
Another masterful comedy produced by Judd Apatow.
We won’t spoil The Big Sick here, but the entire plot is so unbelievable but also so specific that it has to be a true story…and it is! There are so many spinning plates to this movie…the stand-up comedy scene, going for your dreams, falling in love, having disapproving parents, getting to know your parents, serious health problems…and it all completely flows and works seamlessly.
This movie has so much intensity, comedy, and romance, and it’s just the right amount of all three.
3. The Handmaiden
This psychological thriller film is directed by the legendary Park Chan-wook (Old Boy, Decision to Leave, Snowpiercer), and to many, this is his best film.
The story revolves around a woman hired as a handmaiden to a Japanese heiress but secretly involved in a plot to defraud her. Told in three parts, this movie is a genuine modern masterpiece with a Victorian crime plot and one of the most surprising romantic turns you might not expect from the basic idea of the film.
2. The Vast of Night
The Vast of Night had so many people talking when it came out of absolutely nowhere from the first-time director Andrew Patterson on a budget of less than a million dollars.
The story is incredibly simple but all the better for it. The takes are extremely long, whether it’s from an omniscient point of view floating down the street from one location to another or in a radio interview with someone recounting their experience dealing with something unexplainable. As odd things start happening in this town, the intensity only grows to a remarkable final shot that lives up to the gripping anticipation that came before it.
We can’t wait to see what Patterson’s next movie is going to be.
1. Sound of Metal
And finally, the number one spot goes to Sound of Metal.
CODA won Best Picture at the Academy Awards, but the year before, this movie about deafness won Best Sound and Best Editing and probably should have won Best Picture as well.
The idea is unique and interesting, following a heavy metal drummer who abruptly and unexpectedly loses his hearing. He sees a doctor, and there’s no hope for it to return. An even larger problem is that he’s a former addict, so there’s a worry this will trigger him back into a world of heroin addiction. Luckily, there’s a rehab to check into for the deaf, and this presents a whole new list of problems, like denial and despair.
This is a perfectly paced movie that uses sound to put the audience’s senses into the main characters, whether he’s beating on the drums and destroying his hearing, pounding on a slide to feel the vibrations, or in the perfectly silent movies where there’s a slowness and a peace.
The movie isn’t just a journey of coping and learning to live without a sense…it’s about the understanding that this is not a disability. The movie needs to prove that hard-to-grasp idea to its audience, and it does so with dignity and care in the film’s final moment.
It’s for these reasons and more that we feel it’s the best of all Amazon Studios’ original movies.