15 Movies Like Wonka (2023) On Amazon Prime

Staff & contributors

Of all the Christmas-set films to have come out over the last couple of months that were, inexplicably, about grief and regret (you'd be surprised by how many there are), The Holdovers easily outdoes its contemporaries by being confident enough to just sit with its characters. Like the best of director Alexander Payne's other films, there are no melodramatic crescendos or overcomplicated metaphors; there are only flawed individuals going about their lives, occasionally noticing the things that bind them together. Payne's gentle touch means the characters (and the audience) aren't forced to "solve" their grief, but allowed to come to terms with it in their own way, with each other.

Payne evokes the film's 1970s setting through a muted color palette and analog—almost tactile—sound design, giving warmth to this New England despite all its snow and chilly interiors. It's understandable that these characters are similarly cold to each other on the surface at first, but they manage to thaw the ice simply by taking the chance to listen to each other's pain. It's the kind of film in which relationships develop so gradually, that you hardly notice until the end how much mutual respect has formed between them when they return from their dark nights of the soul back to their status quo.

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Actor: Alexander Cook, Andrew Garman, Bill Mootos, Brady Hepner, Carrie Preston, Carter Shimp, Cole Tristan Murphy, Colleen Clinton, Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Dakota Lustick, Dan Aid, Darby Lee-Stack, David J. Curtis, Dominic Sessa, Dustin Tucker, Gillian Vigman, Ian Dolley, Ian Lyons, Jim Kaplan, Joe Howell, Jonathan von Mering, Kelly AuCoin, Kevin Daigneault, Kevin Fennessy, Melissa McMeekin, Michael Malvesti, Michael Provost, Naheem Garcia, Oscar Wahlberg, Osmani Rodriguez, Pamela Jayne Morgan, Paul Giamatti, Rena Maliszewski, Stephen Thorne, Tate Donovan

Director: Alexander Payne

Rating: R

Georgian dance has cut-throat competition: the art form is dying even within Gerogia, and to make it, dancers compete to join the one duo that represents the country. The chance finally comes and the spot opens up, igniting the hopes of performers from around the country. Mervan is one of them, a young dancer from a poor background who takes food from his restaurant job to feed his family. His main competition is a newcomer, Irakli, who also comes from a difficult background and hopes to secure the spot to provide for his ill father.

When their lives hang on them competing against one another, Mervan and Irakli fall for each other.

And Then We Danced is full of incredible dance sequences that add to the beauty of the romance at its center; but it's also a heartbreaking exploration of unfulfilled ambition.

Genre: Drama, Romance

Actor: Aleko Begalishvili, Ana Javakishvili, Bachi Valishvili, Giorgi Tsereteli, Mate Khidasheli, Ninutsa Gabisonia, Tamar Bukhnikashvili

Director: Levan Akin

Rating: 12

Oscar-winner Emerald Fennell got a lot of free reign with her debut, Promising Young Woman, which was a slightly modest ordeal even with a lead of Carrey Mulligan's calibre. But now, with her sophomore film, she go to have some fun. Assembling a devout cast of particularly skilled actors—Barry Keoghan, Jacob Elordi, Rosamund Pike, and Mulligan again—seems like an obvious decision, but the mix of them all is unlike anything we've seen before. A class satire, a psychological thriller, and a psychosexual drama, Saltburn is high class entertainment, with a snappy script, and many tricks up its sleeve. Brace yourselves for some bath-action, grave-action, and full-moon-menstrual-action and many other scenes you may have not ever pictured shown on the screen. Actually, it's impossible to prepare for a film like this one, but being open certainly helps digest the shock and provocations that are there for you to behold.

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Thriller

Actor: Alison Oliver, Andy Brady, Archie Madekwe, Barry Keoghan, Carey Mulligan, Dorothy Atkinson, Ewan Mitchell, Glyn Grimstead, Jacob Elordi, Joshua McGuire, Lolly Adefope, Matthew Carver, Paul Rhys, Reece Shearsmith, Richard E. Grant, Rosamund Pike, Sadie Soverall, Seth MacFarlane, Shaun Dooley

Director: Emerald Fennell

Rating: R

On the one hand, American Fiction is a razor-sharp satire that pokes fun at the hypocrisy of the literary and entertainment industry. It's only when Monk (Wright), a genius but esoteric writer, decides to pander and give in to what publishers have come to expect from Black authors (that is: trauma porn) that he is finally celebrated for his work. But on the other hand, the film is also a tender family drama. Monk sells out, as it were, partly because he’s fascinated by the stupidity of decision-makers and supposed intellectuals, but mostly because he needs to pay for his ailing mother’s care. His relationship with his siblings and deceased father likewise informs much of his character, and they complicate what could’ve been just an intellectual approach to a social issue. This is an educational and entertaining film, yes, one that looks at the complex intersection between identity, craft, and profit. But it’s also an empathetic film, told with a big heart and a surprisingly light touch.

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Actor: Adam Brody, Alexander Pobutsky, Bates Wilder, Celeste Oliva, David De Beck, Dustin Tucker, Erika Alexander, Greta Quispe, Issa Rae, J. C. MacKenzie, Jeffrey Wright, Jenn Harris, John Ales, John Ortiz, Kate Avallone, Keith David, Leslie Uggams, Michael Cyril Creighton, Michael Jibrin, Michael Malvesti, Miriam Shor, Myra Lucretia Taylor, Neal Lerner, Okieriete Onaodowan, Patrick Fischler, Raymond Anthony Thomas, Skyler Wright, Sterling K. Brown, Tracee Ellis Ross

Director: Cord Jefferson

Rating: R

, 2024

Frida Kahlo is an iconic Mexican painter, not just because of her outstanding art, but also because of her outlook in life, despite her ill health and tragic accident. Because of this, she has been talked about in multiple books, movies, and exhibitions, but a new documentary has popped up, this time from her own words. Carla Gutierrez’s directorial debut is a revelation, voiced primarily in Frida’s native Spanish and paired with key archival footage, vivid animations of her paintings, and an excellent acoustic score plucked from classical guitar. Being a biographical documentary, fans of the artist would, of course, be familiar with her life events, but Gutierrez’s approach is still worth watching, mostly because it’s Frida’s own words driving the film.

Genre: Documentary

Actor: Fernanda Echevarría del Rivero, Frida Kahlo

Director: Carla Gutierrez

Rating: R

Giannis Antetokounmpo's rags-to-riches life story is the stuff of movies, and indeed it’s been told many times on print and screen. But this is the first time he and his family are telling it themselves, which is a big deal since Antetokounmpo, as it turns out, is inseparable from his family. Their revealing interviews about how they struggled as undocumented immigrants from Nigeria in Greece add a new, moving depth to a well-known journey, which Director Kristen Lappas wisely divides into chapters named after Greek ideals Antetokounmpo represents. Despite Lappas’ background (she is Greek-American), she makes sure to balance Antetokounmpo's heroic moments with the Greek government’s at-times unfair treatment of the athlete and other immigrants in the country. She also puts a spotlight on the pressures Antetokounmpo is going through as one of the youngest champs in NBA history. After all, at just 29 years old, he’s already a two-time MVP and playoff winner. This doc proves that the story of how he got there is no less remarkable.

Genre: Documentary

Actor: Alex Antetokounmpo, Ernie Johnson, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jason Kidd, Kenny Smith, Kostas Antetokounmpo, Marques Johnson, Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Veronica Antetokounmpo

Director: Kristen Lappas

For a romantic comedy with a fairy tale premise (a star falls in love with a regular person, and a much older one at that), The Idea of You is surprisingly relevant. It interweaves its romance with discussions of ageism and sexism, making it more self-aware than other movies in the same genre. But with that relevance comes a certain dryness; The Idea of You, for all its steamy scenes, lacks the sensuality and charm of a legitimate romcom. Solene is overly cautious, which doesn’t give much way to mystery and mistakes. She makes for a wise role model sure, but not necessarily a rootable heroine. If you like your romcoms to be more on the smart and predictable side, then you’ll enjoy The Idea of You. But if you prefer more hearty laughs and big gestures, then you’re better off looking for another title to stream.

Genre: Comedy, Music, Romance

Actor: Angela Davis, Anne Hathaway, Annie Mumolo, Bethany Brown, Brent Bailey, Chandler Lovelle, Cheech Manohar, Demi Castro, Dustin Lewis, Ella Rubin, Grace Junot, Graham Norton, Hedy Nasser, Holly Morris, Jon Levine, Jordan Aaron Hall, Lauren Revard, Mathilda Gianopoulos, Meg Millidge, Melanie Kiran, Nicholas Galitzine, Nina Bloomgarden, Perry Mattfeld, Rashal James, Raymond Cham Jr., Reid Scott, Roxy Rivera, Tiffany Morgan, Trevor David

Director: Michael Showalter

Rating: R

Champions is as formulaic as it gets, but it’s impossible not to smile watching it. It’s based on a 2018 Spanish movie of the same name, but it feels a lot like the 2023 Korean movie Dream too. In both (and indeed a lot of other) films, we follow a sad sack antihero who, by virtue of being exposed to less fortunate people, is magically transformed into a good guy who gets all the glory he wished for by the end of the story. You know where it’s headed and you even know how it gets there, so it’s devoid of genuine twists and thrills. But the ways in which it gets there, however familiar, are sometimes funny and heartwarming. If you can stomach the cheesiness and predictability of it all, then Champions comes as an effectively hopeful and feel-good film that’s worth tuning into if you want a light laugh. Otherwise, it's all familiar fluff you can skip for better fare.

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Actor: Aaron Hughes, Alex Hintz, Alexandra Castillo, Alicia Johnston, Ashton Gunning, Barbara Pollard, Champ Pederson, Cheech Marin, Clint Allen, Cory Wojcik, Eddy Norman, Ernie Hudson, Heath Vermette, Jacob Blair, Jalen Rose, Jean-Jacques Javier, Joshua Felder, Kaitlin Olson, Kevin Iannucci, Lauren Cochrane, Lois Brothers, Madison Tevlin, Matt Cook, Mike Smith, Ryan DeLong, Ryder Dueck, Scott Van Pelt, Seán Cullen, Stephanie Sy, Vance Halldorson, Woody Harrelson

Director: Bobby Farrelly

Rating: PG-13

While this documentary may not provide the level of insight or as cohesive a narrative as other films from recent years about children's entertainment, Hot Potato benefits from the sheer charm and approachability of The Wiggles themselves. It's inspiring to see these men and women be perfectly ordinary people who just patiently put in the work to get to where they are today. The film doesn't necessarily find a central idea or philosophy behind The Wiggles' music, but their creativity and enthusiasm for performing manages to turn the simplest things (like fruit salad) into a celebration of life. The documentary isn't particularly good at balancing its tones, especially when it deals with the struggles that various Wiggles have faced in their personal lives, but it remains likable and wholesome all the same.

Genre: Documentary

Actor: Anthony Field, Bindi Irwin, Caterina Mete, Emma Watkins, Evie Ferris, Greg Page, Jeff Fatt, John Travolta, Lachlan Gillespie, Lucia Field, Matthew Broderick, Murray Cook, Paul Field, Paul Paddick, Robert De Niro, Sam Moran, Sarah Jessica Parker, Simon Pryce, Steve Irwin, Terri Irwin, Tsehay Hawkins

Director: Sally Aitken

Proof that even the most tired tropes (which the holiday genre is arguably entirely made up of at this point) can still be warm and enjoyable with above-average craft and a fun cast, Candy Cane Lane avoids the monotony that tends to plague other Christmas movies. Which isn't to say that the film is a new classic—it still concludes too easily and doesn't give its more emotional side the space to breathe. But with an entertaining fantasy premise (specifically, a sort of scavenger hunt based on The Twelve Days of Christmas) bolstered by strong visual effects and supporting actors who have been given free rein to improvise, the movie stays dynamic and lightly humorous, if a little lacking in substance.

Genre: Comedy, Family, Fantasy

Actor: Aidan Kennedy, Ali Astin, Amanda Schoonover, Amy Johnston, Anjelah Johnson-Reyes, Catherine Dent, Chris Redd, D.C. Young Fly, Danielle Pinnock, David Alan Grier, Eddie Murphy, Genneya Walton, Iman Benson, James DuMont, Jenly Crespo, Jillian Bell, Kelly Younger, Ken Marino, Kevin Olusola, Kimberly Christian, Kirstin Maldonado, Lombardo Boyar, Madison Thomas, Matthew Sallee, Mitch Grassi, Nick Offerman, Preston Galli, Reginald Hudlin, Riki Lindhome, Robin Thede, Scott Hoying, Stephen Tobolowsky, Tallie Brinson, Thaddeus J. Mixson, Tiago Roberts, Timothy Simons, Tracee Ellis Ross, Trevante Rhodes

Director: Reginald Hudlin

Rating: PG

Centered on a unique marriage, Satyaprem Ki Katha could have reinvented the romance genre with its depiction of women’s trauma. The film does care about the issue, as it sides with the victim in this regard, and there’s a certain sweetness in the relationship being portrayed. Kiara Advani’s performance feels believable and she clearly makes the best of her existing scenes. However, the film is too afraid to be critical of the men in this film, especially as it’s too concerned with Sattu as a savior. On top of this, it relies too much on the standard Indian song-and-dance, which, while spectacular, takes away too much time from the issue at hand. Because of this, Satyaprem Ki Katha feels like a missed opportunity.

Genre: Drama, Romance

Actor: Anuradha Patel, Gajraj Rao, Kartik Aaryan, Kiara Advani, Nirmiti Sawant, Rajpal Yadav, Shikha Talsania, Siddharth Randeria, Supriya Pathak

Director: Sameer Vidwans

It’s surreal to watch Congrats My Ex, because the Thai production feels inspired by Indian romance films, with its musical numbers, elaborate dance sequences, and maximalist sets and costumes. With both India and Thailand culturally linked for centuries, it’s interesting to see how this film celebrates their commonalities. That being said, this film isn’t too focused on this, on the difficulties of having an intercultural, long distance relationship– it knows that it wants to be an over-the-top wedding rom com. It does overly rely on the standard rom-com tropes, with a dash of slapstick shenanigans, over-the-top wedding dramatics, and one too many reckless driving accidents. It’s still a fun watch for fans of Bella and Bright though, but it’s nothing new.

Genre: Comedy, Romance

Actor: Anahita Bhooshan, Anjana Ghogar, Darina Boonchu, Mahir Pandhi, Passakorn Ponlaboon, Ranee Campen, Thongchai Thongkanthom, Vachirawit Chivaaree

Director: Prueksa Amaruji

Playing the lead in an addiction drama has long been shorthand for “I’m a serious actor,” but that’s not something Florence Pugh needs to convince us of, especially not when the drama is as contrived as A Good Person is. Though it has a solid foundation from which to explore worthy subjects — Pugh’s character Allison begins abusing painkillers after accidentally causing the death of two people in a car accident —  writer-director Zach Braff overstuffs the film with too many distractingly histrionic happenings for a compelling reflection on guilt and forgiveness to really emerge.

What’s more, any potential A Good Person has is squandered by the film’s frequent and bizarre tonal swerves from tearjerking sincerity to generational comedy, a jarring effect mimicked by the soundtrack’s wild veering from moody melodies to bright piano music in a single cut. Though Pugh does her customary excellent work here, she’s ultimately undermined by all the overlong, transparently manufactured, and downright whiplash-inducing melodrama around her.

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Actor: Alex Wolff, Brian Rojas, Celeste O'Connor, Chinaza Uche, Drew Gehling, Florence Pugh, Ignacio Diaz-Silverio, Jackie Hoffman, Jessie Mueller, Lauren Yaffe, Molly Shannon, Morgan Freeman, Nichelle Hines, Oli Green, Ryann Redmond, Sydney Morton, Toby Onwumere, Victor Cruz, Zoe Lister-Jones

Director: Zach Braff

It isn't even just because it's a sequel, but every bit of Your Christmas or Mine 2 seems like it was sourced from other films with more personality, resulting in a stew of holiday tropes driven entirely by contrivances and conflicts that should be more easily resolved. And yet there's something that keeps the film far more tolerable than insufferable, as both Asa Butterfield and Cora Kirk compensate for the artificiality of the drama with authentic emotion. There are funny moments throughout and a decent supporting cast (who are given precious little to do), but all this adds up to a film that still feels like it was meant to be played in the background.

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Actor: Alex Jennings, Angela Griffin, Anna Behne, Asa Butterfield, Christopher Sherwood, Cora Kirk, Daniel Mays, David Bradley, Jane Krakowski, Karl Markovics, Natalie Gumede, Ram John Holder, Rhea Norwood, Simon Hatzl

Director: Jim O'Hanlon

Rating: PG-13

There's a novel idea at the center of World's First Christmas, but the film's unfortunately takes it through the least interesting route available. There's a rich opportunity here to unpack what the holiday season really means to people, or to poke fun at how this occasion for togetherness and celebration has been co-opted by corporations trying to make a buck. But the film never gets there, running through a series of occasionally funny scenarios only to end up becoming an unconvincing advertisement for Christmas as a consumer holiday. The main gag here is that everyone has been left miserable by the absence of Christmas, which is an idea that falls apart immediately once you start asking even the simplest questions about it.

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Family, Fantasy

Actor: Fabiana Karla, Ígor Jansen, Ingrid Guimarães, Lázaro Ramos, Rafael Infante, Theo Mattos, Wilson Rabelo

Director: Gigi Soares, Susana Garcia