When it comes to the documentary, you want a true telling about an interesting subject from a talented filmmaker who's done their research. But above all, you want one that evokes emotion — one that grabs hold and doesn't let go until you're crying, cheering, inspired or infuriated. These are those docs.
to become the style maven she is. A woman without a rulebook and one helluva collection of couture costume jewelry, she and her circle-rimmed spectacles are the centerpiece for this joyous portrait from Albert Maysles.
The world knows Nina Simone as the High Priestess of Soul, but director Liz Garbus's camera, with the help of Simone's daughter Lisa Simone Kelly, captures the true essence of who she really was: a classic pianist in a jazz world, a black female in racist America, and a woman losing the battle to her inner demons.
After her Best Picture nom for Selma, Ava DuVernay turns her focus to racial inequality behind bars. An analysis of the 13th amendment, DuVernay unflinchingly illustrates how the American incarceration system uses slavery as a punishment. Yes, slavery was abolished — for everyone except convicts.
Perfection: It's the unachievable ideal you work tirelessly toward as you Instagram your avocado toast. It's also what Jiro Ono seeks, even at age 91, as he slices and serves his three-Michelin-starred sushi in a tiny, subterranean joint in Tokyo. One virtual visit to his subway treasure, and you'll be a sushi fan for life.
Sigourney Weaver narrates Alastair Fothergill's Emmy-winning, fundamental yet breathtaking docuseries that explores the biomes, the creatures, and the wonders that inhabit our planet. Stick around after each episode for behind-the-scenes intel.
Now that you've absorbed the beauty of our great planet, see what greed, poachers, and war are doing to tear it down. Considered life and hope for the community, the Congo's Virunga National Park is home to the only suriving mountain gorillas, and it's up to a team of brave souls to make sure they — and the park — remain.
Errol Morris is a master at spinning a yarn so unbelievable, the only logical conclusion is that it must be true. The subject of this joyride? Miss Wyoming World 1973, otherwise known as Joyce McKinney, the American involved in the Mormon Sex in Chains case that set the British tabloids ablaze.
In this Netflix episodic crime doc, the former students of a Baltimore nun who was murdered in 1969 lead an amateur effort to solve her case. Not so much a whodunit, this one is more of a hedunit in the search for justice. The "he" in question: Father Joseph Maskell, who allegedly sexually abused many schoolgirls in the '60s and '70s. This is truly skin-crawling stuff.
A cinematic letter to the director's murdered best friend's unborn son takes a left turn into the unthinkable and never looks back. You'll want Kleenex for the first half of this crime doc, to be replaced with a bottle of whiskey as director Kurt Kuenne takes you through the infuriating, unjust rest of the story.
Simply heartbreaking. That's the only way we can describe Gabriela Cowperthwaite's deep dive into the dark side of SeaWorld. It focuses mainly on Tilikum, the killer whale who racked up a body count during his tenure at the water park, and how captivity and human meddling turned him into a killing machine.
You call yourself a , but have you immersed yourself in the conspiracy theory that is Room 237? Rodney Ascher, with the help of historians and film buffs, hunts for Easter eggs hidden throughout the Overlook Hotel in Kubrick's The Shining. It's a maze even more fun than that snowy labyrinth.
Though you may not know his name or recognize his face, you are definitely familiar with his hands. Meet Kevin Clash, the appendage behind the beloved furry red puppet known as Elmo. Get to know his journey from humble beginnings to pulling the strings on Sesame Street with this heartwarming doc.
It's been said that for people in the South, football's not a matter of life and death—it's a lot more serious than that. You'll see that that statement is far from an exaggeration after watching volunteer coach Bill Courtney lead his Manassas Tigers, particularly three underprivileged kids, to victory.
Ballet isn't all tutus and pointe shoes. It's painful foot stretchers, cutthroat competition, and nearly unlimited sacrifice. The youths in Bess Kargman's dancing doc are trading their childhoods for the perfect plié as they prepare for the Youth America Grand Prix, and it's a sight to see.
Rarely does a story so bizarre come along, it proves truth really is stranger than fiction. Bart Layton's thriller starts out detailing a missing-person's case: a blond-haired, blue-eyed teen goes missing. Three years later, he surfaces. Though now, he has brown eyes and a Spanish accent. Let the mayhem begin.
Chef's Table, David Gelb's gastronomic series that offers a peek into the lives of the people behind the plating, books a ticket to France to showcase four chefs, including Alain Passard and Adeline Grattard, revolutionizing French cuisine. Pro tip: Must view with fromage.
You'll need to reattach your jaw after watching this 10-episode murder case investigating Wisconsin man Steven Avery's possible innocence in the 2005 death of Teresa Halbach. After that, dive back into case, as Avery's nephew, Brendan Dassey — also in jail for the murder — will face a in September.
This expose reveals the sinister truth a staggering amount of esteemed college universities don't want you to know: higher learning also marks open season for rape and sexual assault. With a powerful Lady Gaga anthem, this film is a must-watch. Prepare to be floored.
Westgate Resorts owner David Seigel is swimming in cash, Scrooge McDuck-style, his fortune made off selling time shares to people who can't afford them. This doc reveals what he's doing with that dough—or rather, what his wife is doing with it. Read: a ridiculous mansion she soon won't be able to afford.
Director Alison Klayman bridges the gap between the artistic expression and social activism exhibited by the "Beijing Andy Warhol" who gives government the middle finger. Family members, his favorite animals (i.e., cats that open doors), and, of course, his brilliant resume of art fill the screen.