A well-made documentary has just as much character, if not more, than a skillful fiction film. With the abundance of movies available to stream, it might be hard to narrow down the standouts from the pack. Great filmmakers like Katharina Otto-Bernstein have created Emmy-nominated docs that are available for you to enjoy in your living room. Here are six documentaries you will want to check out.
1. Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures
Robert Mapplethorpe was a famous American photographer from Queens who was mainly renowned for his black-and-white photos. In 1969, Robert moved into the Chelsea Hotel with Patti Smith and obtained his first Polaroid camera. The rest of the story is best left to this fascinating film, which was nominated for outstanding documentary at the Emmys.
2. My Octopus Teacher
After the success of books like “The Soul of an Octopus,” people have been mesmerized by the incredible makeup of the octopus. This film deals with the connection between one man and one octopus in the False Bay kelp forest. This slow, peaceful movie will leave you pondering your own curiosity and connection to nature. You may even find an octopus for yourself.
3. Echo in the Canyon
In this film, Jakob Dylan takes you on a journey through the music of Laurel Canyon in the 1960s. This particular scene produced a community of musicians that impacted music forever. Artists like Brian Wilson, David Crosby, Ringo Starr, Beck, Fiona Apple, and more discuss what this era meant to them over a backdrop of incredible scenery and melodies.
4. Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
Mister Rodgers, the television character created by Fred Rodgers, inspired children to be their best selves from 1969-2001. His benevolent identity and passion for helping others affected the lives of children and adults all over the world. This film discusses both his public persona and the man behind the scenes. If you’re looking for something touching, this is the documentary you’ll want to check out.
Amy Winehouse was an extremely talented singer who experienced a lot of success in her short life. This film follows her accomplishments as well as her tragic struggle with drug addiction and fame. Although the movie explores her battles with bulimia, alcohol, self-harm, and challenging relationships, it ultimately sheds light on her musical genius. You’ll be amazed at the impact Winehouse was able to have with only two records released.
6. The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst
On the opposite end of the spectrum from many of the inspiring films above, this true-crime series will leave you reeling after its end scene. Robert Durst’s story is widely known, even being depicted in a fictional movie by Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst. This documentary explores his possible guilt in several murders and goes over the details in a way that has never been seen before.
Any of the documentaries above go above and beyond to entertain and inform you. When you’re done watching, you’ll wonder why you had not seen them yet.