21 Documentary Recommendations

My background in journalism has solidified my love for true stories. Sometimes you truly can’t make fiction that beats real life. That’s why I like watching documentaries so much!

I feel like I’ve been watching documentaries and docu-series more than ever lately, so I thought I’d put together a list of ones I’ve really enjoyed + a few that are on my watch list.

Let’s dive in!

Ballet 422 | Prime Video

This follows Justin Peck — a young choreographer — as he’s hired to create a new ballet for the New York City Ballet. What?? In high school, I wanted to grow up and be a choreographer, so this just sounds amazing!

Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry | Apple TV

I’m a recent Billie Eilish fan and when I saw the preview for this, I knew I had to watch it. I didn’t walk away obsessing over it like I have with other music-type documentaries (I loved Katy Perry’s doc!), but it’s worth watching. Billie is certainly a young star and this does a great job of showing how talented she is, while still being a teenager.

Fake Famous | HBO Max

I watched this a few months ago and it was fascinating! As someone who worked — and still has clients — in the social media space, influencers have left a bad taste in my mouth and this documentary shows just how fake it all is. Some of the photo tricks they showed had my jaw on the ground.

Framing Britney Spears | Hulu, FX

This one has a ton of hype and I think it’s worth it. I loved Britney in the peak of her career, and this documentary looks back on how she was treated by the media. It’s heartbreaking to see now, but it also sheds a lot of light on the conservatorship she’s under.

Hillary | Hulu

This is on my watch list partly because right now I’m reading Hillary Clinton’s book, “What Happened” and because I’m curious what parts of her life this focuses on. The description does say there are scenes from the 2016 election, if anyone’s ready to relive that.

Hoop Dreams | Hulu, HBO MAX, PRIME VIDEO

I’m probably the only person on Earth who hasn’t watched this yet. This was filmed in 1994 and follows two high school students from Chicago who dream of playing in the NBA. I love me a sports documentary!

I am Greta | Hulu

Greta Thunberg has really come on the scene in the last few years and I put this on my watch list because I’ve loved any interview I’ve seen with her. She’s a badass and I want to know how she got to where she is. Plus, I care about the environment, so I’m hoping this doc shares some of her concerns for the planet.

Jawline | Hulu

I’m not huge into the YouTube culture, but I do follow a few MUAs. This documentary follows a small-town 16-year-old who’s trying to make it big via broadcasting and this looks SO good.

Kid 90 | Hulu

Soleil Moon Frye, star of “Punky Brewster,” was apparently ahead of her time, because she’s sharing aaaallll the video footage of her time as a child star and those who she met along the way. Other child stars are featured in this documentary including Mark Paul Gosselaar, Freddie Prinze Jr., and Joey Lawrence.

McMillion$ | HBO Max

This one covers the FBI investigation on McDonald’s Monopoly game. Spoiler: It was a giant scam. I remember when McDonald’s had the Monopoly pieces, so watching this was fascinating. Not only is the story interesting, but the people they interview… trust me on this one, it’s good. There’s also a podcast that pairs with each part of the series, so you can dive even deeper.

Paris is Burning | Netflix

This one’s been around for awhile, but I’m just now hearing about it (this is likely my fault). But it’s about ball culture in New York City during the 80’s and the communities involved in it. Many say this was the “Golden Age” of NYC and if it’s anything like “Pose,” I have to see this.

RBG | Hulu, Prime Video

Ruuuuth! May she rest in power… and this documentary follows her life and extraordinary career.

Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy | CNN

This is a polished version of Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown” (may he rest in peace) and I devoured it. Follow Stanley Tucci as he goes to various parts of Italy and visits the farms and vineyards responsible for some of the world’s most famous food. He goes to Naples, Rome, Bologna, Sicily… and you get to see the cheeses, the tomatoes, the wine windows, the pizza… it’s really a great way to get transported while we wait for international travel to start again.

The Central Park Five | Prime Video

I know there are a few documentaries about this case, but I’ve been putting off watching any of them because I want to read a book on it first. However, this one looks to be legit with extra details about the case. It follows the story of five teenagers who were ultimately wrongfully convicted in a rape case in Central Park.

The Weight of Gold | HBO Max

This focuses on the mental health consequences that can come with being an Olympic athlete. Several athletes — such as Michael Phelps and Lolo Jones — share their stories. While it’s very informative, I will say it’s incredibly dark and could be triggering for some.

Tiger | HBO Max

“Tiger” is a 2-part mini-series that shares the story of golf legend Tiger Woods. This one had me SHOOK. After I watched it, I couldn’t stop thinking about it! I went into it not knowing much about Tiger Woods and sure, this is not the entire picture, but seeing the clip of him getting pulled over and at the police station… wow. I’m not a fan of golf by any means, but this is so good.

Tina | HBO MAX

This just came out, and although I don’t know much about Tina Turner, the clips they’ve been showing on the talk shows (yes, I watch all kinds of pop culture talk shows) looks so good! According to IMDB, this is a celebration of her career.

Whose Streets? | Netflix, Prime Video

This is a closer look at the aftermath of police officers killing Michael Brown and how his community created a movement.

Won’t You be my Neighbor? | HBO Max

Last year, I read, “The Good Neighbor” so I put this documentary on my watch list because it sounds similar. This focuses on the life and legacy of Fred Rogers, the star of “Mister Roger’s Neighborhood.”

Yusuf Hawkins: Storm Over Brooklyn | HBO Max

I watched this a few months ago, and wow, it was moving. This follows the shooting of Yusuf Hawkins in 1989, which sent Brooklyn and surrounding areas into racial divide. There are interviews with his family and video footage of the protests, which often included a young Al Sharpton.

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