Streaming platforms have been known to be bringing us amazing original TV series, but many overlook the amazing documentaries on streaming. Watching documentaries is the perfect way to learn something new while still being entertained. Some are inspiring real stories and some are investigative works that will make you rethink everything about the world around you. Here are some of the best documentaries streaming has to offer.
- Disclosure (Netflix)
“Disclosure” brings together trans creatives, including Laverne Cox, MJ Rodriguez and Jamie Clayton, working in Hollywood to discuss the history of trans representation in film and television. The documentary unpacks and dissects some of the most famous films and television shows with trans characters like “Boys Don’t Cry” and “The Crying Game.” Through this documentary, we learn why proper representation is so important from those who have been continuously misrepresented in the media. “Disclosure” celebrates trans voices and urges the audience to do so as well which makes this a must-watch documentary for everyone.
- The Social Dilemma (Netflix)
“The Social Dilemma” is the newest Netflix documentary to grab everyone’s attention and we can’t recommend it enough. The documentary gathers interviews with ex-employees from high-profile media companies including Google, Facebook and Twitter, who almost all left the companies due to ethical reasons. They give us insight into how social media has changed from its beginnings and how it has changed to just be battle for your attention. What this documentary does best is discuss the issues with social media without blaming the generation that uses it; instead, they place all accountability on the companies and those that run them. After watching this powerful documentary, you will rethink your own relationship with social media.
- Athlete A (Netflix)
“Athlete A” follows the investigative journalists from The Indianapolis Star as they break the story of Larry Nassar, the USA Gymnastics doctor who sexually assaulted young female gymnasts. You may have seen the news of Larry Nassar back when Olympic gymnasts, including Aly Raisman and Simone Biles, came forward with their stories. The documentary goes into great detail about Larry Nassar and how USA Gymnastics turned a blind eye to Nassar at the expense of their gymnasts. Throughout the documentary, we hear countless testimonies from young women. “Athlete A” will move anyone with a powerful young woman in their life and shows us the importance of investigative journalism in our society.
- Three Identical Strangers (Hulu)
“Three Identical Strangers” is the story of triplets who were separated at birth and adopted into three different families. In their college years, they find each other and become a global sensation. At first, their story just seems to be a remarkable heart-warming story; however, as the documentary progresses, we learn an unimaginable secret to the circumstances of their adoptions. Anyone who watches this film will undeniably be shocked by this true story and we highly recommend not googling the story beforehand.
- 13th (Netflix)
Filmmaker Ava DuVernay, who also brought “When They See Us” to Netflix, explores the racial inequity within the United States as it relates to the 13th Amendment in this documentary. “13th” is a powerful statement on systemic racism and explains why the nation’s prisons are disproportionately filled with African-Americans. The documentary chronologically explains everything that has led to the America we know today starting from the loophole in the 13th Amendment. This documentary should be required viewing for everyone and you will undoubtedly see the history of America with a much clearer perspective after watching it.
- Free Solo (Disney Plus)
“Free Solo” is an inspiring sports documentary following professional rock climber Alex Honnold as he attempts the first free solo climb of El Capitan — a 900-meter rock face in Yosemite National Park. The term “free solo” refers to the style of rock climbing without any ropes or safety precautions. This documentary gives insight into just how one trains to conquer such a difficult feat. It takes not only incredible skill but also meticulous planning. “Free Solo” is more than just an inspiring story; it also dives into the dangerous reality of rock climbing as the filmmakers must consider the possibility of Honnold dying during his climb and the ethical dilemmas this inherently creates. If you have a Disney Plus subscription, “Free Solo” should definitely be added to your watch list.
Each of these documentaries is so different in their subject matters but are all important stories. If you are in between shows right now or want to learn something new, watch any of these documentaries. They each seek to challenge the audience to broaden their perspectives and are each incredible works of film.