5 Mind-blowing Documentaries to Watch on Netflix

1. Blackfish

This documentary from 2013 captures Sea World, in particular their killer whale breeding and famous shows put on at theme parks around the world. It highlighted their most famous orca whale, Tilikum, who actually killed several trainers and bystanders throughout his years in captivity. It sparked major controversy over the morality of captive orca whales and the movie itself caused Sea World’s ticket sales to plummet and they cancelled their breeding programs.

            The movie was eye-opening. I visited Sea World myself as a child and you never think about how keeping the whales in giant tanks and making them perform was actually inhumane. The film also addressed what was being done to help the whales and how we as humans are learning from our mistakes. Highly recommend this movie.

2. Making a Murderer 

This is a documentary series filmed over a decade and made into ten 50-minute episodes. It follows the story of Steven Avery, a man who was put in jail for 18 years for a crime he did not commit. When DNA evidence proved his innocence, he was released and he filed a lawsuit against the county sheriff department for wrongly accusing him. Suddenly, he is accused again, and this time for a murder he did not commit.

            This series will make you lose all hope in our justice system. Not only will it make you feel a million different emotions from anger to happiness to sadness and all over again, it’s the perfect real-life story to binge watch (I did with my roommate freshman year). This series is really really good. 

3. Amanda Knox 

This documentary was recently added to Netflix in September of this year and has had insane reviews. Amanda Knox was convicted in 2007 for the murder of her roommate—another exchange student—in Italy. She was eventually acquitted for the crime, and the movie covers every viewpoint possible from the people involved to the media and police in this extremely popular case.

            The movie was really interesting, and you find yourself taking different sides as the story progresses. It really makes you consider the role of media and public opinion when convicting suspects in high profile cases. The murder itself is fascinating, and the documentary took it a step further where you cannot stop watching. 

4. The Ivory Game

The Ivory Game also came out on Netflix this year.  It addresses the crisis of poaching and the decline of elephant populations throughout Africa, however, it also covers the deeper problems that cause poaching—illegal ivory trade.  Undercover investigators search China as well as Africa to track down the sellers of ivory while wildlife activists work to take down poachers.

            This is probably one of the most intense documentary I have ever watched.  It was filled with suspenseful moments, and also makes you really sad and concerned for the future of elephants. If you liked Blackfish—or animals in general—you will really appreciate this movie. 

5. Twinsters

This documentary followed two, 25-year old girls as they accidentally found each other on the internet and discovered they were twins separated at birth. Both were put up for adoption in South Korea, one ended up in the U.S. and the other in France.  The filmmakers captured them meeting and their journey to contact their birth mother.

            If you want a movie that makes you really happy, this is it.  Their story is so cute and their friendship and joining of families and cultures makes you feel good about the world and the possibility of fate. Definitely recommend this movie.