Documentaries You Can’t Miss On Netflix

Documentaries are one of the Easter egg gems when it comes to Netflix. While you may not be looking for it, once you find a good one, you get sucked into the vortex. If you take a break from that ‘Stranger Things’ binge and watch something eye-opening, you may learn something new -or at the very least- you will question what you thought you knew. Sahir and I have been trying to make our way through our Netflix documentary bucket list and I wanted to share the highly-researched and reviewed movies that are on our list to help you on your next documentary night. We all know that finding what to watch is the hardest part.

13th

This is one of those documentaries that after you watch it, you become obsessed with telling everyone else about it and insisting that they drop everything and watch it immediately #Guilty. The 13th is about institutionalized bias in our society from before emancipation to the present day. It explains how laws in the US have been put into effect and their impact on our prison system. I’m talking, in recent times. I was honestly flabbergasted by the sheer number of facts in this documentary and made me realize just how prevalent racial bias is when it comes to incarceration. Everyone needs to see this one, and then you will force all of your friends to watch it too. After all, it was Oscar-nominated for a reason.

Mercury

Obsessed with Hidden Figures? Me too. The Mercury space program put Americans into space for the first time and behind the curtain were 13 female pilots who tested as candidates. This documentary finally gives these unsung heroes credit for their contributions to the history of space flight and highlights the struggles that remain for women in the sciences.

Casting Jon Benet

I’ve recently gotten into learning about the big events that happened in my lifetime that I was either too young or too uninterested in truly learning about. Amongst the OJ Simpson trial and Bill Clinton scandal is Jon Benet Ramsey. The notion of who murdered her still plagues the world, but there are some details that got lost in the media frenzy. The documentary takes a different angle where various Colorado-area actors are interviewed and tested for the roles of real people involved in the case, including John and Patsy Ramsey, Burke Ramsey, John Mark Karr, and Boulder police officials. During the process, the would-be actors reveal their emotions about the case and offer their own speculations.

Oklahoma City

Before 9/11, the United States experienced their greatest act of domestic terrorism on April 19th, 1995 when Timothy McVeigh drove five-ton fertilizer bomb in his truck and parked it in front of a federal building in Oklahoma City. A few minutes later 168 people were dead and 675 were injured. It was the first modern day mass terrorist attack from an alt-right supremacist group and feels a little too close to home in the political climate we are currently in. As we all know – history has a strange way of repeating itself, so this is a must-see for those of us who didn’t live it.

Amanda Knox

This case will forever have my heart and genuine interest. Amanda Knox and her boyfriend were twice convicted and later acquitted of the murder of her roommate while studying abroad. The documentary actually features Knox and her trials while explaining what it’s like to serve a prision sentence for being wrongfully convicted in another country. After you watch it, it’s up to you to decide if you believe her.

Icarus

I first learned about these documentaries, when I heard about it on NYT’s podcast, The Daily that I listen to every morning and knew I had to watch it. This documentary was groundbreaking when it came to Russia and the Sochi Olympics. It was by accident that the director discovered the makings of the Russian doping scandal and the intense cover up behind it. You’ll be shocked that you didn’t know this was happening just a few years ago and the unbelievable story of mad scientists and scary politicians.

RBG

Okay I cheated, this one isn’t on Netflix (yet) but is so worth it. I paid $15 to watch it on iTunes and I maintain that it was the best $15 I spent this month. I absolutely loved this documentary. The storytelling itself in this narrative is so well done that you are encapsulated from the first minute to the very last. RBG, of course, stands for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and it follows her legacy while becoming an unexpected pop culture icon. She’s 84 years old and quite possibly a real life superhero. You will laugh, smile, feel empowered, angry, and even sad throughout this film, but that’s the sign of a good one. She even goes through her legal wardrobe with you and the different designs she has for different decisions on the Supreme Court – so cool. Highly recommend this documentary.

That’s my list thus far, let me know if I left any that you love off. I’m always looking for new things to watch and have developed a strong taste for documentaries with dinner.