Documentaries have grown increasingly popular over the years, as people look for ways to expand their knowledge, explore different perspectives, and stay entertained. Whether you’re interested in learning about current events, discovering the stories of ordinary people, or simply delving into new subjects, documentaries offer a unique and engaging way to do so. In this article, we’ll explore some of the best documentaries currently available, covering everything from social issues to personal growth.
The Best Documentaries to Watch Right Now
If you’re looking for some engaging documentaries to watch, there are plenty of options to choose from on popular streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu. Here are a few of our top picks:
1. My Octopus Teacher
This Netflix original documentary follows the story of filmmaker Craig Foster, who forms a unique bond with an octopus while diving off the coast of South Africa. As he spends more time with the creature, he learns valuable lessons about the natural world and the importance of connecting with other living beings.
Why it’s worth watching: My Octopus Teacher offers a beautiful and heartwarming look into the underwater world, while also touching on themes of connection and empathy.
2. The Social Dilemma
This documentary explores the dark side of social media, examining how tech companies manipulate users’ behavior to maximize their profits while also creating negative consequences for society.
Why it’s worth watching: The Social Dilemma sheds light on important issues surrounding technology and the ways in which it can be both helpful and harmful. It highlights the need for greater awareness and critical thinking when it comes to our technological use.
3. Athlete A
This Netflix original documentary exposes the rampant abuse and cover-up of sexual assault within the world of gymnastics, shedding light on the trauma experienced by the young athletes involved and the ways in which justice was denied for many years.
Why it’s worth watching: Athlete A provides a sobering look into the dark side of the sports industry and highlights the need for greater accountability and support for victims of abuse.
5 Must-See Documentaries That Will Change Your Perspective
While many documentaries offer interesting insights and entertainment, there are a select few that can truly transform your worldview. Here are five documentaries that offer unique and transformative experiences:
This powerful documentary explores the ways in which the US criminal justice system has perpetuated racial inequality, tracing the legacy of slavery to modern-day systems of mass incarceration.
Why it’s worth watching: 13th is a powerful and deeply moving documentary that exposes the injustices of the criminal justice system, while also highlighting the resilience of Black communities in the face of systemic oppression.
2. The Brainwashing of My Dad
This documentary follows a daughter’s quest to understand how her father became increasingly radicalized by right-wing media, and the devastating impact this had on her family.
Why it’s worth watching: The Brainwashing of My Dad offers a sobering look into the ways in which media can distort reality and radicalize individuals, while also providing hope and inspiration for those seeking to bridge political divides and heal relationships.
3. The Mask You Live In
This documentary explores the harmful effects of toxic masculinity on young boys and men, highlighting the need for greater emotional intelligence and empathy in our society.
Why it’s worth watching: The Mask You Live In offers a thought-provoking and nuanced look into the ways in which gender and society intersect, while also offering practical solutions for how we can create a healthier and more inclusive future for everyone.
This documentary investigates the environmental impact of animal agriculture, shedding light on the devastating effects of factory farming on our planet.
Why it’s worth watching: Cowspiracy offers a powerful and eye-opening look into the ways in which our food choices impact the world around us, and highlights the need for more sustainable and ethical practices in the animal agriculture industry.
This documentary exposes the dark side of the captive dolphin and whale industry, highlighting the physical and psychological harm that these animals experience when kept in captivity.
Why it’s worth watching: Blackfish offers a powerful and moving look into the ways in which humans have exploited and mistreated marine animals, while also offering hope and inspiration for those seeking to create a better future for these creatures.
From Environmentalism to Politics: A List of Eye-Opening Documentaries
If you’re interested in exploring important topics related to society and current affairs, there are plenty of documentaries that can provide valuable insight. Here are a few of our top picks:
1. Before the Flood
This documentary follows actor and activist Leonardo DiCaprio as he travels the world to explore the effects of climate change and promote solutions for a sustainable future.
Why it’s worth watching: Before the Flood offers a sobering look into the ways in which climate change is impacting our planet, while also highlighting the crucial role that individuals and governments can play in mitigating its effects.
2. Knock Down the House
This documentary follows the campaigns of four women running for office in the 2018 midterm elections, highlighting the power of grassroots movements and the importance of diverse representation in politics.
Why it’s worth watching: Knock Down the House offers a hopeful and inspiring look into the ways in which individuals can make a difference in the political sphere, while also pushing for greater inclusivity and diversity.
3. The White Helmets
This documentary follows a group of volunteers in Syria who work to rescue civilians from the country’s ongoing civil war, often risking their own lives in the process.
Why it’s worth watching: The White Helmets offers a sobering and inspiring look into the ways in which ordinary people can make a difference in the face of war and adversity, while also highlighting the importance of human rights and humanitarian efforts.
Documentaries to Educate and Inspire: Our Top Picks
If you’re looking for documentaries that can both educate and inspire you, there are plenty of options to choose from. Here are a few of our top picks:
1. Jiro Dreams of Sushi
This documentary follows the story of Jiro Ono, an 85-year-old sushi master who has dedicated his life to perfecting the art of sushi-making.
Why it’s worth watching: Jiro Dreams of Sushi offers a fascinating and beautiful look into the world of Japanese cuisine, while also highlighting the role of craftsmanship and dedication in achieving mastery.
2. Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
This documentary explores the life and legacy of Fred Rogers, the beloved host of the children’s show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.
Why it’s worth watching: Won’t You Be My Neighbor? offers a heartwarming and touching look into the legacy of one of America’s most beloved figures, while also tackling important issues related to childhood development, empathy, and community building.
This documentary explores the life and career of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, showcasing her groundbreaking achievements in the realm of gender equality and social justice.
Why it’s worth watching: RBG offers a fascinating and inspiring look into the life of one of America’s most influential legal minds, while also highlighting the importance of female leadership and representation in all fields.
Behind the Lens: Documentaries That Capture the Human Experience
Documentaries can offer a unique and intimate perspective on the lives of others, exploring the wonders and complexities of the human experience. Here are a few of our top picks for documentaries that take you behind the scenes:
1. Grey Gardens
This classic documentary follows the story of two eccentric socialites, Edith Bouvier Beale and her daughter, who live in a decaying mansion filled with cats, raccoons, and other animals.
Why it’s worth watching: Grey Gardens offers a fascinating and sometimes disturbing glimpse into the lives of two unconventional and fascinating women, showcasing their quirks, passions, and sorrows.
2. The Act of Killing
This documentary explores the 1965 Indonesian genocide through the eyes of its perpetrators, allowing them to reenact their crimes and confront the moral implications of their actions.
Why it’s worth watching: The Act of Killing offers a chilling and thought-provoking look into the nature of evil and the ways in which trauma can manifest across generations and cultures.
3. The Thin Blue Line
This documentary re-investigates the case of Randall Adams, a man who was wrongly convicted of murder in Texas in the 1970s.
Why it’s worth watching: The Thin Blue Line offers a gripping and suspenseful look into the often-flawed nature of the criminal justice system, and highlights the perseverance and courage of those seeking to uncover the truth.
Documentaries That Made Headlines: A Look at the Most Controversial Films
Finally, there are some documentaries that have made headlines for their provocative or controversial subject matter. Here are a few of our top picks for documentaries that pushed the envelope:
1. The Hunting Ground
This documentary investigates the issue of sexual assault on college campuses, exposing the ways in which institutions have failed to adequately address this issue and support survivors.
Why it’s worth watching: The Hunting Ground offers a powerful and emotional look into the toll of sexual assault and the need for greater awareness and action when it comes to addressing this issue.
2. The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst
This documentary follows the story of millionaire Robert Durst, who was suspected of multiple murders but never convicted.
Why it’s worth watching: The Jinx is a gripping and suspenseful look into the world of crime and wealth, offering insights into human psychology and the ways in which law and justice can be elusive and complex.
3. Fahrenheit 9/11
This documentary explores the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the Bush administration’s response to the crisis.
Why it’s worth watching: Fahrenheit 9/11 is a controversial and thought-provoking look into the nature of power, politics, and propaganda, offering a searing critique of American foreign policy and media coverage.
Documentaries offer a wealth of knowledge, inspiration, and entertainment. From exploring social issues to delving into personal growth, there are endless options to choose from when it comes to documentary viewing. Whether you’re looking to learn something new, be inspired by the lives of others, or simply satisfy your curiosity, documentaries provide a unique and powerful lens through which to view the world.