A Different Perspective
Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things (2015) asks viewers how might your life be better with less? Directed by Matt D’Avella, the film follows Josha Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus as they spread the word of a new minimalist lifestyle which is centred around the virtues of less is more. It is an incredibly inspiring and thought-provoking film which also delves into issues of obsessive consumption and meaningless gain while having the ability to make anyone reflect on their own lifestyle. If you watch one documentary on this list, make it this one! Currently available on Netflix UK*.
Walk With Me (2017) explores the world of mindfulness and the teachings of the Zen Buddhist master Tich Nhat Hanh. Directed by Marc J. Francis and Max Pugh and narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch, simply the experience of watching the film itself is guaranteed to make you feel calmer. The film provides a visually sensual experience unlike any other as Max Pugh describes “We focussed on an experimental approach; to create a visceral and immersive experience which plunges the audience deep into the poetry of the present moment – a feeling so elusive in the reality of the daily grind”. Available to purchase on DVD.
Happy (2011) – Pretty self-explanatory. This documentary explores the concept of happiness through a range of different people from different areas of the world while also explaining new research in the field of positive psychology. Directed by Roko Belic the film will not only offer you different perspectives on happiness but also take you “on a journey from the swamps of Louisiana to the slums of Kolkata”. Currently available on Netflix UK*
What To Watch To Up Your Pub Quiz Game
Explained (2018) – this documentary series is made up of twenty individual episodes, each only twenty minutes long, on different topics ranging from the world’s water crisis to the female orgasm. Each one will provide you with concise expert knowledge on some of the most elusive and misunderstood topics facing the world today. Currently available on Netflix UK*.
Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends (1998-2000) – Where to start with Louis Theroux? Firstly, any of his documentaries offer an insightful view to different areas of life but Weird Weekends has to be one of our favourites. Each episode briefly delves into the lives of different people who you may not regularly come into contact with. From swingers to UFOs the series covers a whole range of topics that are bound to answer some of your questions and leave you asking some more. Series 1 and 2 currently available on Netflix UK*
Let’s Get Political!
Bowling For Columbine (2002) is a Michael Moore documentary on gun culture in US revolving around the Columbine High School shooting in 1999. The film has won a whole host of awards including the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature and has been an important conversation starter in the debate on gun control laws in the US. It is a highly emotional and incredibly impactful film and well worth a watch if you want to understand more about the social and legislative side of violence. (WARNING: this film contains real footage of the Columbine High School shooting, please be aware before watching). Currently available on Netflix UK*.
Jesus Camp (2006) - A documentary by Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing that focuses on a Christian Summer Camp in the US. The film aims to provide an unbiased look at the evangelical Christian Community without providing any political commentary. However, this has been questioned after the controversy the film was met with which prompted the closure of the camp in November 2006. Despite this the film has received good reviews and is a worthwhile watch. Available to purchase on DVD.
Just A Bit Of Fun
Chef’s Table (2015-2018) is an immensely popular documentary series in which each episode follows a world-renowned chef. Ranging from the lavishly luxurious to the everyday affordable, Chef’s Table offers a visual indulgence like no other. Our favourite episode? The one about Christina Tosi – you will never look at birthday cakes the same way again. Make sure you’ve got the snacks at hand for this one, it’s bound to make you peckish. Currently available on Netflix UK*
Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) – jump straight back into the 70s with this brand-new biopic about the British rock band Queen. Following their lead singer Freddie Mercury and directed by Bryan Singer, the film is almost as good as going to a real Queen concert with a good storyline thrown in. Although it has been criticised for being factually inaccurate in places, if you want an amusing and visually impressive film that also includes more emotional aspects such as the almost brotherly bond between some of the band members then this is the one for you. Currently on general release in cinemas*.
Tales By Light (2015-2018) is an Australian documentary series following adventure photographers on their quest to get the perfect shot. Each episode follows a new photographer with a new subject which range from misunderstood marine predators to adrenaline sports. This series will not only give you an insight into the complexity behind professional photography but also offer you breath-taking cinematography and shots of some rarely visited parts of the world. Currently available on Netflix UK*
*At the time of publication