I love a good documentary. Not the boring types you used to be forced to watch in school, but ones that really take a topic and allow it come to life. It’s a good break from watching fictional stories (although I love those too) unfold on the screen before you so you can instead take something valuable away from what could otherwise be considered a mindless activity. Here are five of my favorites streaming on Netflix now.
This documentary has been so talked up I’d be surprised if you haven’t seen it already. However, I think it’s important enough to put on the list. Seaworld and its magnificent creatures are not as they appear to be on the surface. It will make you seriously question what we know about “taming” wild animals for human entertainment.
2. On The Way to School
If I could sum up this film in one word it would be – powerful. The film chronicles the journeys of four different children in four foreign countries as they travel to school. I take so much for granted (from running water to public transit) and this film puts so many things into perspective. My favorite part is at the end when the filmmaker interviews each child and asks about their dreams for the future.
3. Little White Lie
This is a coming-of-age story about a girl who grew up with two Jewish parents only to discover (as an adult) that her dark-skinned Sicilian grandfather was not the true reason for her kinky curls and deeper-than-olive complexion. It touches on both race and identity and how to reconcile the two.
4. Lost for Life
This is heavy. This documentary interviews grown men who are serving life sentences without parole after being arrested as juveniles for committing murder. Were they children who got undeserving punishments or teenagers who committed heinous crimes? Very interesting insight into the catalysts behind their crimes and the background of each of the prisoners. The film delves into how someone’s sentence affects not only him, but also his family. In 2012 the Supreme Court ruled mandatory life without parole for juveniles unconstitutional.
5. Dark Girls
This documentary takes a look at colorism (discrimination based on skin color, especially within the same ethnic group) within the African-American community. It’s both enlightening and heartbreaking. Viola Davis (The Help, How To Get Away with Murder) even makes an appearance. She’s just one of the many powerful voices of social commentary in this insightful film.
Are there any documentaries streaming on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon that you have watched and loved? Comment below!