The urge to quarantine ourselves due to the public health threat of the COVID-19 virus, has seemingly put the world on hold. With many people having very little to do, what better time to binge some films that might uplift you during a time of emotional and institutional duress? Below are ten films available for free on Amazon Prime that will warm your heart during this chilling time of social distancing and general gloom.
This abstract sci-fi film may bring up some daunting questions associated with existentialism, but, in its finale, will reassure viewers that the world and humanity is truly good. The interestingly shaped narrative follows the mission of one astronaut, Lee Miller, as he is sent to attend to an abandoned space center that is orbiting Earth in 2039. Catastrophic events on Earth lead to Miller being stranded in space, slowly losing his mind over the years he spends in isolation, surely a feeling that those in quarantine can relate to right now.
As he grows more and more tired with his surroundings, he comes into communication with another object in space, and takes its instruction to dock. The object is a large cube, seemingly manmade, which houses an omnipotent computer system. At this point in the narrative, it is unclear whether this entity is real or imagined, as Miller’s sanity is largely questionable. The film ends with a montage featuring the human experience of love and connection. Despite its seemingly bleak contents, Love ends in a way that may lead anyone feeling alone or isolated to rekindle their belief in the emotions that connect us all and find hope in that very connection.
2.) Ghost World
Ghost World is a coming of age film starring two teenage girls, Enid and Rebecca. The summer after graduation the two young women befriend a middle-aged man, Seymour, by responding to a personal ad he puts out. Enid personally takes on the task of finding Seymour the woman he had a missed connection with, while Rebecca attends summer school for a failed art class. The black comedy goes on to follow the two girls’ journey into adulthood.
Ghost World ends rather bleakly, but this is not to say the story isn’t a fun, slightly dark one that many viewers will find entertaining and relatable. Its’ rejection of a happy ending does not necessarily deem the entire film as a sad narrative, but rather an arguably realistic one. This cult classic will catch many viewer’s attention and prove an entertaining watch through the monotony of working or studying from home.
3.) American Ultra
This comedic action film involves the journey of two unexpected heroes who find their strength in their normalcy. Mike and Phoebe are a young couple living in West Virginia and are truly stuck there, as Mike suffers panic attacks every time he tries to leave town. But when their sleepy town is suddenly filled with agents trying to kill Mike, it’s revealed that he has a past and skills completely unknown to him, thanks to some form of amnesia. Both their livelihoods and relationship are put to the test as various governmental operatives take attempts on their lives.
American Ultra is an action film very unique to its genre. With the vibe of an indie film, Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg play a charming, yet mundane pair who are equally charming and deadly. The couple and their plot will catch the attention of most viewers and engage them in an endearing love story framed by the fiery light of explosions and gunfire.
4.) The Big Sick
This romantic comedy follows the budding love formed between an Uber driver/standup comedian, Kumail, and his partner in a one-night stand, Emily. Fearful of his parent’s judgement, he does not tell them of their growing relationship, causing the two to break up. Weeks after, Emily becomes ill and hospitalized, causing Kumail to grow closer with her parents. The rest of the narrative depicts the ups and downs of their estranged relationship.
The Big Sick is a lovable love story that will up your mood without exuding unbearable cheesiness nor embodying the unbearable clichés of the genre. The story is realistic (it was inspired by the real-life romance between Kumail Nanjani and his wife Emily Gordon) and moving in a way that “run-of-the-mill” rom-coms lack.
5.) Guava Island
This bright and colorful musical features a tropical setting that will leave viewers at home feeling optimistic with memories of warmer and sunnier days. It stars Donald Glover and Rihanna, who play a couple in love on the island which the film receives its’ namesake. Glover’s character Deni plans to hold a music festival, a point in the narrative which much of the plot revolves around.
Despite its melancholy ending, Guava Island is artistically beautiful and creative. The music involved will perk the ears of any Childish Gambino fan, featuring iconic tracks such as “This is America” and “Feels Like Summer.” The charming narrative produces a unique movie that is both eye-catching and sweet.
This A24 film, directed by Johan Hill, tells a story about the life of a boy on the edge of his teens with an affinity for skating. Stevie rebelliously starts hanging out with a crew of older boys who also have a vested interest in skateboarding. The edgy, daring group of boys lead Stevie to experiment with sex and drugs at his young age of thirteen. The narrative maps his relationship with these new friends, his family, and himself.
mid90s provides an interesting peak into a very niche lifestyle embodied by Californian, skating teens during the 1990s. Stevie’s role as an angsty thirteen-year-old boy is spot on in its accurate representation of the frustration of growing up and trying to fit in. In the end, the skater groups’ antics seem worthwhile, despite some injuries faced along the way.
7.) The Disaster Artist
The Disaster Artist tells a narrative based on the absurdly true events of Tommy Wiseau’s production of the iconic “so bad it’s amazing” film The Room. After Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) meets Wiseau (James Franco) in an acting class, the two bond and Tommy recruits him to star in a film he’s decided to write and direct. That film, The Room, is considered one of the worst films of all time and The Disaster Artist walks us through the story of its creation and the bizarre background of its creator.
Although definitely a very easy story to catch secondhand embarrassment from, the weird and comical reality that was Tommy Wiseau’s life and acting career is entertaining to watch unfold on-screen. This movie will surely garner many laughs and cringes from viewers, as well as prompting them to look into the real-life events that inspire The Room.
8.) Late Night
Mindy Kaling both wrote and stars in this comedy about the relationship between a television talk show host and her writing room. Katherine Newbery’s (Emma Thompson) late-night talk show has been receiving increasingly poor ratings as time has gone by and is in desperate need of a refresh to her comedy routines. She hires Molly (Kaling) as her sole female writer in an attempt to revamp the energy of the writing, as well as add a new perspective to her jokes.
Despite starting off rough, Molly is able to contribute to Newberry’s show in a meaningful way. Late Night deals with the struggles of celebrity fame and making your way into the work force as a woman and an ethnic minority. The satisfying ending will leave viewers smiling and feeling optimistic about one day returning to the confines of your office building.
9.) Pretty in Pink
An undeniable classic, Pretty in Pink stars Molly Ringwald and touches on concepts such as class divide and social struggle in its coming of age narrative. Her character, Andie, is an outcast at her high school due to her financial struggle. This becomes problematic as Andie grows close to Blane, a popular, rich kid whose friends frequently bully her. The story details Andie’s life as senior prom approaches and social pressure starts effecting her life.
This film is one of the most quintessential coming of age stories and is relatable on many fronts for anyone coming into themselves. With a punchy plot line and quirky characters such as Jon Cryer’s Duckie, Andie’s best friend and admirer, this film will elicit nostalgia for the eighties or for the final semester of one’s high school years.
This film details the story of a family and their ten-year-old son, Auggie, who is born with a physical deformity. He has been homeschooled his whole life, but as he enters fifth grade his parents decide to enroll him in a private middle school. Auggie is largely ostracized by his peers but forms friendships with classmates Jack and Summer during the school year. The story centers around Auggie’s bought with bullying and journey to self-acceptance.
Though Wonder revolves around the story of a young boy, its message transcends age and emphasizes the value of kindness. The theme of social conflict and acceptance will surely resonates with viewers of any age and background. These concepts are sure to warm the hearts of families and individuals alike as they get a small glimpse into Auggie’s coming of age tale.