Listening Recommendations to Pair with 2020 Prime Film Releases

There's no shortage of exciting films being released by Amazon Studios this year—and we've found just the listens to pair with them while you wait, based on your favorite genres. Whether you're on the lookout for a new listen to add to your library or a new movie to add to your watchlist, we've compiled a handy guide sure to help you find just what you're looking for.

This year held a slate of truly excellent film releases: from big-budget superhero epics and spy flicks to chilling, inventive horror, there was no shortage of cinema to look forward to. But as COVID-19 concerns mounted, the film industry had to delay its theatrical releases and forego scheduled filming and production. In place of a typical night at the movies, we turned to streaming films and microwave popcorn for an approximation of those big screen thrills.

In difficult times, it’s more important than ever to give ourselves little things to look forward to—hopeful and fun moments we can mark on our calendars. And while you might not be able to see every film you were anticipating in 2020, there’s no shortage of exciting new movies releasing this year. If you’re looking for something new to watch, Prime Video is dropping some exciting releases over the next five months, with something for everyone to stream. If you’re looking for a Prime Video recommendation—or a new listen to get lost in!—check out our list below.

 

If you like morbid comedies with horror elements...

Listen to John Dies at the End: There's something effortlessly enjoyable about stories that weave the best of horror and comedy into one plot. David Wong’s raucous, spooky tale does just that, pitting a group of delinquents against a terrifying supernatural threat.

John Dies at the End

STOP. You should not have touched this flyer with your bare hands. NO, don't put it down. It's too late. They're watching you. My name is David Wong. My best friend is John....

John Dies at the End

STOP. You should not have touched this flyer with your bare hands. NO, don't put it down. It's too late. They're watching you. My name is David Wong. My best friend is John....

Then watch Get Duked (Aug. 28, 2020): Exceptionally funny and full of twists, this movie is bound to keep you on the edge of your seat. Slackers Dean, Duncan, and DJ Beatroot set out on a character-building camping trip sponsored by the Duke of Edinburg. But the gang is in for more than they bargained for when they're hunted down by a mysterious group of masked figures. (Oh, and did we mention it stars Eddie Izzard?)

 

If you like political nonfic that exposes deep-rooted inequities...

Listen to Our Time Is Now: As we settle in for another presidential election, it’s an especially apt time to examine the increasingly evident issue of voter suppression. Be sure to check out Stacey Abrams's guide that offers actionable steps to eliminating disenfranchisement and creating a just democracy.

Our Time Is Now

Celebrated national leader and best-selling author Stacey Abrams offers a blueprint to end voter suppression, empower our citizens, and take back our country....

Our Time Is Now

Celebrated national leader and best-selling author Stacey Abrams offers a blueprint to end voter suppression, empower our citizens, and take back our country....

Then watch All In: The Fight for Democracy (Sept. 18, 2020): Abrams, who gained a national profile as an outspoken proponent of reforming the electoral process to guarantee fair elections following a contentious gubernatorial run in Georgia, also lends her insight to this upcoming Prime documentary. A must-watch event directed by Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning filmmaker Liz Garbus and Oscar-nominated filmmaker Lisa Cortés, this film unearths the systems that prevent Americans from partaking in their right to vote and, in cases such as gerrymandering, undermine the value of the process entirely.

 

If you like dark, speculative fiction that draws on themes of gender...

Listen to The Female of the Species: Sometimes, there’s nothing quite like sinking into a grim, gritty story marked by ferocity and bite. Check out Mindy McGinnis's blistering YA tale of guilt and revenge that takes on the lasting effects of grief, sexual assault, and violence.

The Female of the Species

Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn't feel bad about it....

The Female of the Species

Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn't feel bad about it....

Then watch Nocturne (Oct. 9, 2020): This chilling film begins by exploring the relationship between Juliet and Vi, sisters who both attend a prestigious music school where they study violin. The pair grows increasingly competitive, one constantly striving to outperform the other—and tensions only rise when the sisters are pitted against each other in the school’s annual concerto competition. But they're drawn together by a dark force and a violent act when a supernatural entity drives the siblings to take vengeance on their sexually abusive violin instructor.

 

If you like thrillers that focus on memory and identity...

Listen to The Adoration of Jenna Fox: One of the most intriguing narrative devices is hearing events unfold from the perspective of a protagonist who's left to put the pieces of their life back together with no memories of their past. Try this YA listen about a teen who awakes from a coma only to question whether burgeoning memories are even hers.

The Adoration of Jenna Fox

Who is Jenna Fox? Seventeen-year-old Jenna has been told that is her name....

The Adoration of Jenna Fox

Who is Jenna Fox? Seventeen-year-old Jenna has been told that is her name....

Then watch Black Box (Oct. 9, 2020): Driven by suspense, this upcoming film opens on a man desperate to recover from a traumatic brain injury that rendered him amnesiac. As the layers of this mystery unfold, the man finds that perhaps the memories he has regained don’t belong to him at all—a horror that becomes all the more real when he’s face-to-face with a shadowy figure known as the Backwards Man.

 

If you like family dramas built on a shocking crime...

Listen to The Dinner: How far would you go to protect your friends and family? It’s a difficult and often painful question to consider—especially if the one you love most has done the unthinkable. Brace yourself for this tense listen from Herman Koch in which two couples meet at a restaurant to discuss what to do next after learning that their sons have committed a truly horrific crime.

The Dinner

It's a summer's evening in Amsterdam, and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. Between mouthfuls of food and over the polite scrapings of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse....

The Dinner

It's a summer's evening in Amsterdam, and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. Between mouthfuls of food and over the polite scrapings of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse....

Then watch The Lie (Oct. 16, 2020): Rebecca and Jay, an antagonistic former couple, are trying their best to co-parent their teenage daughter, Kayla. When Jay finds an inconsolable Kayla who, between sobs, reveals that she has murdered her best friend, he and his ex-wife are forced to lie and hide evidence in attempt to keep the crime buried. But one way or another, the truth has a way of coming out...

 

If you like memoirs that explore systemic racism from a personal perspective...

Listen to A Question of Freedom: The conversation around entrenched racism and bias in our justice system—from mass incarceration to police violence—has been rightfully amplified in 2020, and it is imperative that we continue to amplify the lived realities of Black Americans. Listening to Reginald Dwayne Betts reflect on the nine years he spent in some of Virginia’s worst prisons—after being arrested and then charged, convicted, and sentenced as an adult at only 16—will tear at your heart as it opens your eyes to the effects of racism and a broken criminal justice system.

A Question of Freedom

At the age of 16, R. Dwayne Betts carjacked a man with a friend. A Question of Freedom chronicles Betts's years in prison, reflecting back on his crime, and looking ahead to how his experiences and the books he discovered while incarcerated would define him....

A Question of Freedom

At the age of 16, R. Dwayne Betts carjacked a man with a friend. A Question of Freedom chronicles Betts's years in prison, reflecting back on his crime, and looking ahead to how his experiences and the books he discovered while incarcerated would define him....

Then watch Time (Oct. 23, 2020): This Prime Video doc is a highly intimate account in which author and entrepreneur Fox Rich vigilantly outlines the fight for her husband Rob’s release from prison decades after his incarceration. After Rob was sentenced to 60 years in prison for a failed bank robbery in which no injuries were sustained, Fox became a fierce advocate for criminal justice reform, painfully detailing the ways in which the prison system continues slavery’s legacy of tearing Black families apart.

 

If you like mysteries that challenge your perception of reality...

Listen to Shutter Island: Sometimes a mystery is so all-consuming that it carries over into your own life: one minute you’re listening with rapt attention and just a few hours later, you’re skeptically eyeing everything around you. If you love twisty storytelling, get lost in Dennis Lehane’s thriller that follows a US Marshal as he uncovers endless conspiracies at a psychiatric hospital.

Shutter Island

Summer, 1954. U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels has come to Shutter Island, home of Ashecliffe Hospital for the criminally insane....

Shutter Island

Summer, 1954. U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels has come to Shutter Island, home of Ashecliffe Hospital for the criminally insane....

Then watch Crones (Oct. 23, 2020): The paranoia that can set in while you’re in a healthcare facility—having to rely on others for your meals, your well-being, and even your news of the outside world—is bound to make anyone a little suspicious. Judith is confined to an assisted living facility after suffering a stroke. But the home’s staff is not who they seem. As they begin to gaslight Judith into believing that she has dementia and her terrifying discoveries are nothing but dreams, she begins to question her own sanity.

 

If you like musical fiction that pulls on your heartstrings...

Listen to Impossible Music: Dive into the blended worlds of music and Deaf culture with this well-researched young adult title that follows a young musician struggling to cope after suffering a stroke that costs him his hearing.

Impossible Music

Music is Simon’s life - which is why he is devastated when a stroke destroys his hearing. He resists attempts to help him adjust to his new state, refusing to be counseled, refusing to learn sign language....

Impossible Music

Music is Simon’s life - which is why he is devastated when a stroke destroys his hearing. He resists attempts to help him adjust to his new state, refusing to be counseled, refusing to learn sign language....

Then watch The Sound of Metal (Nov. 24, 2020): Exquisitely capturing both the gutting grief of losing your passion and the deep sorrow that precedes rebuilding your life, this film follows Ruben—a hardcore drummer and recovering drug addict—as he unexpectedly loses his hearing while touring and struggles to address his loss without succumbing to toxic habits of the past. But when he winds up in a rehabilitation home for Deaf addicts, Ruben finds a sense of community that he never expected and is faced with a choice: either pursue medical treatments to regain his hearing or forge a new identity separate from one defined by sound.

 

If you like listens that get to the heart of LGBTQIA+ identity...

Listen to City Boy: Consuming a more diverse range of stories that don't focus on heteronormative characters and relationships can both heighten visibility and build stronger, more understanding communities. Learn a bit more about gay life in the 70s with Edmund White's memoir that zeroes in on identity and sexual liberation in the budding post-Stonewall gay scene.

City Boy

In the New York of the 1970s, in the wake of Stonewall and in the midst of economic collapse, you might find the likes of Jasper Johns and William Burroughs at the next cocktail party....

City Boy

In the New York of the 1970s, in the wake of Stonewall and in the midst of economic collapse, you might find the likes of Jasper Johns and William Burroughs at the next cocktail party....

Then watch Uncle Frank (Nov. 25, 2020): Written and directed by American Beauty’s Alan Ball, this is a remarkable, heartfelt 1970s-set dramedy that follows Beth, a teenager just starting out at NYU, who reconnects with Frank, her beloved uncle, upon her arrival. While Frank has kept his longtime relationship with his partner Wally hidden from his homophobic family for quite some time, he must face his demons when his father dies, and he’s forced to return home.

 

If you like romantic tales of life, love, loss, and music...

Listen to Nocturnes: Music has a way of reflecting emotion: the rising swell that gets your heartbeat racing, the crescendo of a grazed hand or first kiss, the falling note echoing the feeling of something slipping through your fingers. Sway along to Nobel winner Kazuo Ishiguro's short story collection that follows a set of musicians overcoming the sting of unfulfilled potential and regret.

Nocturnes

One of the most celebrated writers of our time gives us his first cycle of short fiction: five brilliantly etched, interconnected stories in which music is a vivid and essential character....

Nocturnes

One of the most celebrated writers of our time gives us his first cycle of short fiction: five brilliantly etched, interconnected stories in which music is a vivid and essential character....

Then watch Sylvie's Love (Dec. 18, 2020): Prime's gorgeous upcoming film opens in 1957 and follows the titular character (portrayed by the phenomenal Tessa Thompson) as she works at her father’s record store while awaiting her fiancé’s return from war. Her patience falters when aspiring saxophonist Robert walks into the shop looking for a job, sparking the kind of romance that comes once in a lifetime. As the music on the radio shifts from jazz to Motown, the couple occasionally falls out of step—but they never fall out of love.

 

If you like fiction about motherhood, survival, and found family...

Listen to Black and Blue: There are few bonds stronger—or more fiercely protective—than the one between a mother and her child. If you want a listen with heart and hope that muses on that connection, listen in to Anna Quindlen's contemporary novel, which follows domestic abuse survivor Fran as she makes the difficult decision to go on the run with her son.

Black and Blue

When 19-year-old Fran married Bobby Benedetto, she never dreamed that she would find herself in an abusive relationship....

Black and Blue

When 19-year-old Fran married Bobby Benedetto, she never dreamed that she would find herself in an abusive relationship....

Then watch I’m Your Woman (Dec. 25, 2020): Starring Rachel Brosnahan of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, this film follows Jean as she’s forced to go on the run with her child in tow after her husband’s crimes threaten their well-being. But even in the most isolating of times, Jean finds solace in Cal and Teri, two people she meets along the way, who give her so much more than just the promise of survival.

 

If you like autobiographies that explore Hollywood life...

Listen to I'm Your Huckleberry: Val Kilmer was an icon of 80s cinema—from Top Gun to Real Genius—not to mention one of the stars who took up the cowl as Batman (in 1993’s Batman Forever). If you're a fan of the Iceman, check out this candid memoir that details his career, upbringing, star-studded romances, and battle with cancer.

I'm Your Huckleberry

Legendary actor Val Kilmer shares the stories behind his most beloved roles, reminisces about his star-studded career and love life, and reveals the truth behind his recent health struggles in a remarkably candid autobiography....

I'm Your Huckleberry

Legendary actor Val Kilmer shares the stories behind his most beloved roles, reminisces about his star-studded career and love life, and reveals the truth behind his recent health struggles in a remarkably candid autobiography....

Then watch Prime's upcoming Val Kilmer doc (Dec. 2020): The film, produced by Ben Cotner, who also worked on the acclaimed documentaries 13th and Gaga: Five Foot Two, blends behind-the-scenes footage of Kilmer’s career on set with more intimate moments that were captured by the actor at home for an all-access look that holds absolutely nothing back.

 

And if you prefer to listen before you watch…

It’s no secret that some of our favorite films and television shows are based on some truly extraordinary listens. There’s just something so fun about listening before you watch and then enjoying the film: maybe it’s the joy of seeing how something you had imagined so vividly in your head comes to life before your eyes…or maybe it’s the unique pleasure of keeping score of the differences between the book and the movie. Either way, here are three 2020 Prime Video releases that were adapted from audiobooks.

Radioactive

Adaptation release date: Jul. 24, 2020

Now a streaming film on Prime Video, this new audio edition of Lauren Redniss’s celebrated 2010 graphic novel offers a fresh, vivid biography of groundbreaking Polish-born French scientist Marie Curie. Redniss not only unearths the critical breakthroughs Curie made in the fields of physics and chemistry—in particular, her monumental research on radioactivity—but also the highs and lows of her personal life, including her marriage to fellow scientist Pierre and her multiple Nobel Prize wins. An incredibly human look at one of history’s most notable pioneers, this listen (voiced in the crisp English accent of Audie winner Nicola Barber) is an excellent pairing for the film it inspired, which stars Rosamund Pike and was directed by Persepolis author Marjane Satrapi.

Our Chemical Hearts

Adaptation release date: Aug. 21, 2020

A YA debut that encapsulates teenage life—the butterflies of first love, the agony of first heartbreak—Krystal Sutherland’s Our Chemical Hearts is a listen packed with all of the elements that make it a great choice for a teen drama. While you wait for the highly anticipated adaptation starring Riverdale’s Lili Reinhart and Euphoria’s Austin Abrams, check out the novel that inspired it. Narrator Robbie Daymond brings to life the hope (and trepidation) that hopeless romantic Henry Page feels as he begins to fall for fellow school newspaper editor Grace Town. Grace’s style, quick-witted attitude, and guarded demeanor grab Henry’s attention—but is Henry falling in love with Grace, or with the idea of the mysterious girl he has concocted? Authentic and fresh in a way that will appeal to modern teens, this dive into young love and loss is a good choice for fans of John Green, Rainbow Rowell, and Jennifer Niven.

Evil Eye

Adaptation release date: Oct. 13, 2020

Where to begin with Madhuri Shekar’s Evil Eye? The Audible Original drama won an Audie Award for Original Work last year, has a rating of 4.5 with nearly 25,000 reviews, and has listeners and editors alike raving, calling it 'unique and surprising' and 'an unexpected treasure.' One thing’s for certain: this listen will defy your every expectation. Pallavi’s mother, Usha, constantly pesters her about her lack of romantic prospects, even going as far as to set her up on blind dates. While waiting on one of her mother’s proposed suitors, Pallavi meets Sandeep, a charming, handsome young entrepreneur who instantly steals her heart. But over time, Usha grows more and more suspicious of her daughter’s beau’s intentions…and his true identity. With an extremely talented full cast and superb audio production, the genre-shifting listen that inspired the upcoming film is one you won’t want to miss.

Radioactive

Adaptation release date: Jul. 24, 2020

Now a streaming film on Prime Video, this new audio edition of Lauren Redniss’s celebrated 2010 graphic novel offers a fresh, vivid biography of groundbreaking Polish-born French scientist Marie Curie. Redniss not only unearths the critical breakthroughs Curie made in the fields of physics and chemistry—in particular, her monumental research on radioactivity—but also the highs and lows of her personal life, including her marriage to fellow scientist Pierre and her multiple Nobel Prize wins. An incredibly human look at one of history’s most notable pioneers, this listen (voiced in the crisp English accent of Audie winner Nicola Barber) is an excellent pairing for the film it inspired, which stars Rosamund Pike and was directed by Persepolis author Marjane Satrapi.

Our Chemical Hearts

Adaptation release date: Aug. 21, 2020

A YA debut that encapsulates teenage life—the butterflies of first love, the agony of first heartbreak—Krystal Sutherland’s Our Chemical Hearts is a listen packed with all of the elements that make it a great choice for a teen drama. While you wait for the highly anticipated adaptation starring Riverdale’s Lili Reinhart and Euphoria’s Austin Abrams, check out the novel that inspired it. Narrator Robbie Daymond brings to life the hope (and trepidation) that hopeless romantic Henry Page feels as he begins to fall for fellow school newspaper editor Grace Town. Grace’s style, quick-witted attitude, and guarded demeanor grab Henry’s attention—but is Henry falling in love with Grace, or with the idea of the mysterious girl he has concocted? Authentic and fresh in a way that will appeal to modern teens, this dive into young love and loss is a good choice for fans of John Green, Rainbow Rowell, and Jennifer Niven.

Evil Eye

Adaptation release date: Oct. 13, 2020

Where to begin with Madhuri Shekar’s Evil Eye? The Audible Original drama won an Audie Award for Original Work last year, has a rating of 4.5 with nearly 25,000 reviews, and has listeners and editors alike raving, calling it 'unique and surprising' and 'an unexpected treasure.' One thing’s for certain: this listen will defy your every expectation. Pallavi’s mother, Usha, constantly pesters her about her lack of romantic prospects, even going as far as to set her up on blind dates. While waiting on one of her mother’s proposed suitors, Pallavi meets Sandeep, a charming, handsome young entrepreneur who instantly steals her heart. But over time, Usha grows more and more suspicious of her daughter’s beau’s intentions…and his true identity. With an extremely talented full cast and superb audio production, the genre-shifting listen that inspired the upcoming film is one you won’t want to miss.

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