14 January 2014

Need A Reality Check?

Fake. Manipulative. Boring. These are just a few of the terms that come to mind for many when they think about documentaries. But I'm here to dispel those myths. A good documentary will challenge you, as well as educate you. It will entertain as well as bring about an awareness. It will open you to new perspectives and have you asking important questions. You'll want to know more. 

With all the "reality" we experience through TV and online on a daily basis, isn't it time for a reality check? The world needs more understanding, new perspectives and documentaries provide that. Let's start off the new year by opening our hearts and our minds. Here are just a few of my favourite documentaries to get you started:

Lovelace - Okay, so this one is more of a biographical film than documentary but it's still just as fascinating. Lovelace follows 70's icon Linda Lovelace's tragic journey into pornography and the tumultuous relationship with the man who would make her a star. It would only take 17 days before she'd renounce the industry that brought her so much fame.

Blackfish - You may have heard the buzz surrounding this one, with good reason too. It follows the story of Tilkum, the famous orca at SeaWorld who killed three people. It shows the devastating consequences of keeping these animals in captivity and will change the way you view marine parks and how they treat their animals (and their people too).

Hitler's Children - Can you imagine what it might feel like to be Hitler's child? This documentary follows direct descendants of many of the Third Reicht's highest ranking officials as they struggle to cope with the guilt and coming to terms with their family's unfortunate legacy.

Hungry for Change - This film tackles issues of food addiction, juicing, cleansing and fad diets and looks at how we have a penchant for taking "healthy" to the extreme. Interviews with industry experts expose the myths and misconceptions behind these health trends. It will shift your perspective about the quality of the foods that you eat.

Happy - What makes people happy and why? This documentary takes a look at people across the globe and the specific things that bring them happiness. Experts also analyze the science behind this joyous emotion and break down why you feel the way you do. Happy will have you re-evaluating your definition of the term and reflecting upon the things that truly matter.

Craigslist Joe - This is the story of one man with one computer and a mission: survive solely on the goodwill of others through Craigslist. Can it be done? The results will surprise you.

Long Way Round - Long Way Round and its companion title, Long Way Down, is broken down as a mini-series of sorts. It follows actors Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman as they make their way across the globe on their motorbikes. You see their struggles, their generosity through their work with UNICEF and their cultural experiences. This show will ignite the wanderlust in you and make you want to plan a trip of your own!

Beyond the Myth: A Film About Pit Bulls & Breed Discrimination - This is probably one of the most powerful documentaries I've ever seen. It completely changed my views on this controversial breed and is a MUST SEE for all dog/animal lovers. The stats will shock you, the stories will horrify you and the movie will make you eager for change. I know it had me volunteering at my local SPCA shortly thereafter.

Valentino: The Last Emperor - The man, the myth, the legend. Valentino is man who is revered by celebrities and fashion superstars alike. This documentary gives you an inside peek into the fashion icon's life and subsequent retirement from the industry. For me, fashion is an artform, so it's amazing to see where the man gets his inspiration. Plus, he has pugs. Lots of them.

Nowhere Boy - Music fans will love this one. Nowhere Boy follows John Lennon's early years, prior to joining the Beatles. Focusing mainly on his adolescence and the critical relationships with his aunt and absentee mother, you can see exactly how the man became such a musical genius.

Netflix offers a wonderful selection of award-winning, life-changing documentaries in a variety of subjects for the music fan, history buff, health nut, fashion junky and animal lover alike, so I have no doubt you can find one to entertain you. What are your thoughts on documentaries? Are there any that you would recommend? Sound off in the comments below!


  1. I love love love that you made this post! I just recently got in the mood to watch some documentaries but since I don't know a lot of people who watch them no one could give me any good recommendations. I did just watch Blackfish, and I can say that I will never be visiting SeaWorld. It seems all they care about is the money, not the animals. :(

    1. Thanks, Kay! I've been on a HUGE documentary binge lately and I do feel like they get a bad rep, so it was a long time coming. If you watch any of the above let me know what you think!

      And yeah, Blackfish hit me hard. Beyond the Myth is another one that did the same.

  2. Hitler's Children sounds really fascinating! I took a documentary class in college so I viewed quite a few then, but unfortunately not too many (if any) since. The one from the class that stood out to me the most was called Underground Children, about the orphans in Romania. I still think about it almost six years later.

    1. That sounds fascinating! I wish I had the opportunity to take a class like that. And yeah, I've heard about that one. I'll definitely have to check it out. Thanks for the recommendation!

  3. I've watched a lot of documentaries, but the only one I've seen of the ones above is Blackfish. (Lots of the others are in my queue, though.) Blackfish infuriated me, and I'm sure it's too much to hope that it could lead to putting Sea World and other similar "animal prisons" out of business.

    The best documentary I've seen recently is The Crash Reel on HBO. (Not on Neflix, unfortunately.) It's about a snowboarder named Kevin Pearce who suffered a traumatic brain injury while he was preparing for the last Olympics. He was very critically (and permanently) injured, and the doc follows the events leading up to the injury and his long recovery. It's excellent, and I highly recommend it!

    Thanks for sharing your other Netflix picks. I'll have to add these to my queue, too.

    Stephanie @ Inspiring Insomnia

    1. I've heard of The Crash Reel but I don't have HBO so I've never seen it. I'll definitely be on the look out for that one though!

      Let me know if you end up watching any of these other ones as I'm curious what you think. Especially Beyond the Myth.


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