I’m a sucker for a good documentary and I’ve recently been on a bit of a documentary-watching spree. A good doc can open your mind to the world around you like nothing else. I tend to go for the ones that focus on some kind of injustice – from environmental issues to social issues, to animal rights.
I’ve seen so many good documentaries lately that I thought I’d make a list of the ones that I think everyone needs to see. As I write this, each of these films are up on Netflix Canada, but I’ll also include alternate links for where you can find them.
Each title on this list has completely blown my mind and left me asking, “How did I not know this before?”. If you are ready to wake up and have your world turned upside down, check out my list of 9 must-see documentaries below!
Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret (2014)
This eye-opening documentary exposes the biggest threat to our planet today: the animal agriculture industry. If you care at all about the environment, you need to watch this.
This doc follows filmmaker Kip Andersen as he exposes the disastrous environmental impact of factory farming and uncovers why the top environmental organizations aren’t talking about it. You’ll never look at a burger the same way again. Find it on Netflix or here.
What The Health (2017)
This next documentary comes from the same creators as Cowspiracy, so you just know it’s going to be epic. The film takes everything you thought you knew about nutrition and flips it on its head.
In What The Health, Kip Anderson investigates the alarming rates of chronic disease in the US (heart disease, cancer, diabetes…) and unearths the secret to preventing and possibly reversing these conditions. More shocking? Kip discovers why the government, big business and even leading health organizations are keeping us in the dark. Watch it on Netflix or find it here.
A Plastic Ocean (2016)
If you think the plastic that you dispose of everyday is magically disappearing once you’ve recycled it, those blinders are about to come off. A Plastic Ocean travels the world uncovering the disastrous impact that plastic is having on our oceans and on the marine life that call it home.
Beautiful footage of the world’s captivating oceans is interspersed with disturbing images of the plastic pollution that litters the sea. You’ll be stunned as you watch researchers remove no less than 234 pieces of plastic from the dead body of a single seabird. And that’s not even a record. Find it on Netflix or here.
This is the story of Tilikum, a captive killer whale who stirred up controversy when he killed several people during his time in captivity. The documentary explores the tragic events that caused two trainers and one other man to lose their lives. The cruel treatment of captive orcas is unveiled.
With unsettling sea-park footage and compelling interviews from those who knew Tilikum, the film brings into question the ethics of keeping sea creatures captive for our own entertainment. Watch it on Netflix or find it here.
The Cove (2009)
This documentary will shock, disturb and upset you – but will leave you feeling inspired to take action. The film follows a crew of activists, filmmakers and freedivers who set out on a dangerous mission to expose the sinister secrets of a hidden cove in Taiji, Japan.
With footage obtained from underwater microphones and hidden cameras disguised as rocks, the documentary brings to light the gruesome capture and slaughter of dolphins in the cove. The film also exposes the danger of mercury poisoning from dolphin meat. Find it on Netflix or here.
The True Cost (2015)
Do you really know where your clothes come from? This documentary will make sure you do. The True Cost goes behind the scenes of the clothing industry and critiques the fast fashion epidemic that has us buying more clothes than ever and at ever lower prices.
The film reveals the deplorable working conditions in the clothing factories that are fulfilling our increasing demand for clothing. Ethics are questioned behind the big companies that stand to gain from the arrangement. Watch it on Netflix or here.
The Hunting Ground (2015)
Here’s another documentary that will alarm you, anger you, frighten you and ultimately move you to effect change. An exposé of rape culture on campuses, The Hunting Ground is not easy to watch but its message cannot be ignored.
The film shares the stories of numerous victims of sexual assault and follows them as they channel their traumatic experiences into activism. The documentary reveals the disturbing victim-blaming and blatant cover-ups actuated by universities that don’t want to deal with the problem. Find it on Netflix or here.
Where To Invade Next (2015)
Did you know that Finnish schoolteachers don’t believe in standardized testing or homework? Or that Italians get as many as 8 weeks paid vacation in a year? A documentary by the famous Michael Moore, Where To Invade Next is a funny and thought-provoking peek into the social and economic practices of 9 different countries.
Moore travels from country to country, examining local policies and uncovering the ways that other countries might be doing things better than the US. From school lunches to drug laws, the film sheds light on just how different nations are. Watch it on Netflix or find out more here.
Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things (2015)
The documentary that inspired my own minimalism journey, this one will leave you feeling infuriated by every advertisement you see and motivated to throw out all of your possessions. Or maybe something a little less extreme.
This groundbreaking film questions The American Dream and explores the consumerism trap that causes us to constantly pursue more “stuff” while never feeling satisfied. The documentary proposes a solution and shares the journeys of individuals who are choosing to live differently by actively pursuing a life of less. Watch it on Netflix or find it here.
So that’s a wrap on my list of 9 must-see Netflix documentaries. Are there any that I missed? Let me know in the comments!