The Best Documentaries on Netflix
28 March 2023
Documentaries bring us all together. When it comes to documentaries, the essence of real life that is gleaned from the collections of historical footage, photographs, talking heads, pre-recorded audio, and sequences of physical excursions or simple quotidian tasks is the element that the majority of viewers tend to gravitate toward. Even when you are watching something that is clearly biased, you can’t deny that there is a feeling of authenticity. There is an unmistakable sense of intimacy, like being allowed into a filmmaker’s mind for a brief flash, even when the film’s overall focus is narrowed to fit a preconceived narrative. Great documentaries convey something profoundly personal, if not intimate, by utilizing snippets of the real world in a variety of forms and presenting images of universal, recognizable existence. Additionally, the “docuseries” format has recently gained popularity, allowing us to delve even deeper into a story than ever before.
There are a lot of great documentaries on Netflix that cover a wide range of topics, including sports, true crime, and even filmmaking. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite documentaries available on Netflix below. Check out our list of the best documentaries on Hulu and Prime Video or the best movies on Netflix for more recommendations.
Stutz is a deeply personal documentary about Jonah Hill, who also directed 21 Jump Street. In Stutz, the Academy Award nominee meets with his own therapist, Dr. Phil Stutz, a well-known psychiatrist, to openly talk about the intimate mental health issues the actor deals with and his views on the mental health industry as a whole. Stutz gives the audience life lessons, potentially useful tools, and ideally the chance to get better by embracing Stutz’s history and giving them a vulnerable look at Hill’s struggles. Stutz is a one-of-a-kind and deeply moving film that gives viewers a look behind the curtain of therapy, ideally reducing the stigma.
Sr. is a sincere and personal tribute to Robert Downey Sr., the late filmmaker and father of one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Robert Downey Jr., his son, produced (Avengers: Endgame), with assistance from Chris Smith, Sr., the director examines the progressive director’s unimpeded career. Sr. sees it through the eyes of his bold son. allows friends and coworkers like Alan Arkin (The Kominsky Method) and Norman Lear (One Day at a Time) to share true and sometimes risqué tributes to the visionary who ushered in the comedic counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s. is frequently touching without hiding harsher realities.
The truth about the horrible crimes committed by Jeffrey Epstein’s confidante and co-conspirator, Ghislaine Maxwell, who is only now facing criminal charges for her role in his years of abuse is made clear in Filthy Rich. Interviews with Epstein’s victims are featured by Maiken Baird and Lisa Bryant, who also use archive footage of Maxwell, Epstein, and other powerful people to show how deeply involved Maxwell was in the trafficking of young women. Maxwell, Ghislaine: The case against the woman at the center of these tragedies is detailed for nearly two hours in Filthy Rich, revealing the monster she is.
This Changes Everything, a documentary produced in collaboration with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender and Media, which was recently highlighted at the 2022 Emmy Awards, delves into the unfortunate topic of sexism in Hollywood. The film, which stars a number of well-known actors and filmmakers from the industry, including Jessica Chastain, Sandra Oh, Reese Witherspoon, and Shonda Rhimes, is a powerful and significant look at gender inequality and how we can address it.
Shania Twain is unquestionably one of the most influential country singers of all time. You probably know at least a few of Mark Twain’s songs, including “That Don’t Impress Me Much,” “From This Moment On,” and “Man! I’m like a woman now!” are just a few of her many hits; you might not know how many challenges she faced to achieve her success. Things haven’t always been easy for her, from the sexism she experienced as a female in the industry to the tragic deaths of her parents, an ugly divorce, and a bout with Lyme disease. Twain, on the other hand, has never given up, making the documentary a gripping and motivating tale that both looks back on her difficult and pioneering past and into her bright future.
The Leo Baker Story is a surprising journey into a sport that is often overlooked. It follows Leo Baker as he rises to professional skateboarding’s highest levels. The film’s directors, Nicola Marsh and Giovanni Reda, investigate the competitive nature of skate culture, which quickly developed into an exclusive inner circle from the neighborhood skate park to the global stage. Marsh and Reda let Leo Baker talk about how his skills helped him reach the top, paving the way for others to follow, and creating a welcoming space for the LGBTQ+ community through the documentary.