I love watching documentaries and you should too. It is an easy way to learn something new while being entertained, and it is less of a time commitment than reading a book. I update this list with the documentaries I have watched most recently at the top.
Searching for Sugar Man **high recommendation**
This award-winning documentary follows a musician whose records completely flop in U.S., but sell millions in South Africa without anyone’s knowledge. The artist becomes a rock icon in South Africa, but tragically commits suicide in the U.S. due to his failed music career.
This documentary is surprisingly inspirational and great for music lovers.
Watch the full version here: Searching for Sugar Man
Give Me Sex Jesus **high recommendation**
This examines Purity Culture within Christianity by looking at the origins of the True Love Waits campaign. It asks valuable questions about why holiness has been so closely tied to sexuality within the church. Warning: many Christians may be offended by this documentary.
This will make you feel: Frustrated with Purity Culture and will cause you to think about your views of sexuality.
Hot Girls Wanted
The porn industry is rapidly growing, especially the demand for amateur videos with teenage girls. This documentary follows a handful of girls who choose to explore a career in porn.
This will make you feel: Melancholy. It will make you think about why girls go into porn and how it can hurt them.
Several men set out to find love in Ukraine by going on a “love tour” where they meet dozens of beautiful, single Ukrainian women looking to get married. Is it a financial scam, with the women just looking to take advantage of American men? Are these lecherous men just looking for a young, hot bride?
This will make you feel: Sad about how many lonely people there are and creeped-out by men with unrealistic expectations. But it will also make you see that meaningful relationships can have unconventional beginnings.
MissRepresentation ***highest recommendation***
This is a powerful summary of how women are portrayed in the media and how the US trails behind in gender equality.
This will make you feel: Angry, like taking action.
The Hunting Ground
This recent documentary exposes the rape epidemic on college campuses across.
This will make you feel: Horrified and like speaking out about sexual violence.
Dear Zachary **high recommendation**
A man decides to make a video about his murdered best friend, who was murdered by his pregnant girlfriend. His hope is that his best friend’s son, Zachary, will be able to watch the video and know who his father was. At the same time, the documentary follows the prosecution of the girlfriend and the battle for custody of Zachary.
This will make you feel: Frustrated. And you will probably cry.
Sexy Baby **high recommendation**
This follows the story of three women: A 12 year old coming of age in a world saturated with social media, a 22 year old seeking labiaplasty, and a 32 year old stripper and former porn star trying to have a baby.
It is a fascinating documentary about living in a sex-obsessed culture and how we find our worth.
This will make you feel: Worried about social media and porn.
Watch the trailer here. Watch the full version on Amazon.
This is a great introduction to veganism. It follows three New Yorkers who try to learn about factory farming and health while going vegan for six weeks.
This will make you feel: Like you can’t eat meat for a week.
This is another dietary documentary, but this one focuses on how much sugar Americans eat and the dangers of eating so much processed food.
This will make you feel: Like cutting sugar out of your diet.
A young American boy goes missing without a trace. Three years later his family gets a call saying that their son has been found in Spain. One problem: The boy is actually an adult man impersonating the missing teenager.
This will make you feel: Shocked.
America the Beautiful
Has America become obsessed with beauty? How is beauty defined and how does the media influence that standard? A great documentary with shocking statistics woven into the story of an adolescent model in America.
This will make you feel: Frustrated.
The Dark Matter of Love
This will make you feel: Like adopting a child.
Watch the trailer here. Watch the full version on Netflix.