Before streaming, finding a good documentary meant either scouring the local video store or plundering the depths of YouTube. These days, we’re spoiled for choice. Netflix has a huge library of docos on-demand so it can be hard to differentiate between the good and the bad. But that’s where we come in.
Here are some of the best.
Welcome To Leith
Synopsis: When a noted white supremacist moves into their town, the residents of Leith, North Dakota do what they can to prevent him from taking control of the municipality.
Why Should You Watch It: With the current political climate, it’s quite an interesting look at American ideals, the neo nazi movement and the struggles in small town USA.
Jiro Dreams Of Sushi
Synopsis: A documentary on 85-year-old sushi master Jiro Ono, his renowned Tokyo restaurant, and his relationship with his son and eventual heir, Yoshikazu.
Why Should You Watch It: Because you haven’t lived until you’ve seen an absolute master of uncooked fish do his thing. An award-winner and hugely inspirational.
Synopsis: American exchange student Amanda Knox is convicted and eventually acquitted for the 2007 death of another student in Italy.
Why Should You Watch It: There’s plenty of true crime documentaries out there – and plenty worth your time – but I like this one because of the straight-down-the-barrel interviews with Knox. Did she do it?
Synopsis: Adopted from South Korea, raised on different continents & connected through social media, Samantha & Anaïs believe that they are twin sisters separated at birth.
Why Should You Watch It: Using the internet to find your identical twin is absolutely the best way to use the internet. An incredible story of chance and of the differing roads that you might travel in your life.
The Irish Pub
Synopsis: The tradition of the Irish pub. Speaking to pub owners all over Ireland, Alex Fegan gets into the heart of what makes “the Irish pub” the institution that it is.
Why Should You Watch It: You’ve likely been to an Irish Pub before – they’re noted watering holes all around the world. This takes a look at Ireland’s pub traditions and is just a cool little doco that makes you want to share a Guinness.
Synopsis: Three women fight to break the cycle one life at a time.
Why Should You Watch It: It destroyed me. I could hardly cope with watching this one. Some people are too good for this world.
Synopsis: An in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation’s history of racial inequality.
Why Should You Watch It: Moving and terrifying, Ava DuVernay paints a grim picture of the war on drugs, the 13th amendment and the American prison system. Gut-wrenching and eye-opening.
Synopsis: Follow National Geographic photographer James Balog across the Arctic as he deploys time-lapse cameras designed for one purpose: to capture a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers.
Why Should You Watch It: Because it is a harrowing tale of how we are messing up the world.
Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond
Synopsis: A behind-the-scenes look at how Jim Carrey adopted the persona of idiosyncratic comedian Andy Kaufman on the set of Man on the Moon (1999).
Why Should You Watch It: Carrey is as raw as ever in retelling this story and the lengths he went to so he could adequately portray Kaufman. Shows how strong an artist Carrey is and how important it was to him. Really engrossing stuff.
Winter On Fire: Ukraine’s Fight For Freedom
Synopsis: A documentary on the unrest in Ukraine during 2013 and 2014, as student demonstrations supporting European integration grew into a violent revolution calling for the resignation of President Viktor F. Yanukovich.
Why Should You Watch It: Unflinching in its depiction of the Ukrainian student riots of half a decade ago, it goes inside the revolution itself. You watch it unfold and witness the power of people rising up against the system. Powerful.
This article was originally published by Lifehacker Australia. Read the original here.