When you think of a documentary, you most likely think of an extremely monotonous person talking about an ancient artifact for two hours. Not all documentaries have to be painstakingly long and boring. I’ve picked out eight of my favorite documentaries that are great for people wanting to learn more about the world and how our minds work.
The Social Dilemma- This popular Netflix documentary sheds light on how the use of your personal information is being capitalized on by social media companies. The documentary interviews some of the media industry’s biggest players such as Tim Kendall, former president of Pinterest, and Tristan Harries, a former Google employee. They discuss how technology companies harvest your personal information to curate your feed and entice you to buy things by placing ads that they think you will be interested in. Both men that I mentioned above, both quit their high-rise jobs due to the unethical things the companies practiced. Kendall now works as the CEO of the app he created, Moment.
Minimalism- This is a great documentary to remind us of all the things we have but don’t necessarily need. It serves as a strong reminder that we don’t need the newest iPhone or the most expensive clothes and that all we need is the basic necessities. The documentary closely follows the day to day lives of many different people who practice minimalism. Some of the people they use are a scientist, a journalist, and even a former Wall Street broker. For those who are unsure of what a minimalist is, they are defined as, ‘being content with what you have without unnecessary items’. They do a really thorough job of explaining what they practice to be categorized as a minimalist and show in-depth how they live their lives.
Living on One Dollar- This documentary follows four friends on their quest to a rural lifestyle living off $1 (each) per day. The purpose of this film is to educate people and spread awareness about the 1.1 billion people living in poverty who only have $1 or less to spend a day to keep them, and even their families alive. In rural places such as Guatemala (where the friends stayed), the poverty levels are at an all-time high between the lack of jobs and the shortage of food and clean water.
Ladies First- In a male-dominated sport like archery, it can seem nearly impossible that a girl from a small village in India can become the number one archer in the entire world. That’s exactly what Deepika Kamari did and this documentary documents her journey from the bottom to the top. The movie depicts the many obstacles that Kamari had to overcome to achieve her dream.
The Kindness Diaries- This documentary series follows Lean Logothetis who relies solely on the kindness and generosity of people he doesn’t even know. Determined to make the world a better place, Logothetis sets off to live off the kindness of other strangers. Essentially, he goes around asking people if they have any places for him to stay or any spare food. He isn’t allowed to eat anything that’s not given to him. Sadly, the series ended with two full seasons in 2019.
My Next Guest Needs No Introduction- Hosted by actor and comedian David Letterman, this docu-series takes a dive into the personal lives of the world’s biggest celebrities. From Kim Kardashian West to Barack Obama, this series brings to light things that the public may not know about our favorite celebrities. Most famously, Letterman interviews TV Personality Kim Kardashian West about her traumatic experience getting robbed in Paris.
[Un]Well- This docu-series explores some of the world’s strangest medical practices. Each episode is centered around doing and explaining a specific type of natural medicine. For reference, one episode follows bee sting therapy and another episode follows the use of Amazonian hallucinogenic ‘potion’ Ayahuasca.
The Mind Explained- Lastly, this docu-series dives into the depths of how the human brain is wired. With episodes ranging from explaining what happens in REM sleep to anxiety and depression, this is a great series to learn more about our bodies and how we can make them function to the best of their abilities. I recently watched this series and it really helped me to get a better understanding of how my brain works and what certain things we do can affect so much for our brain.
Hopefully, this article will help us be more mindful of what we watch and how we can learn more about not only ourselves but for other people around us and even how the world works!