Netflix Documentaries

My Favourite Netflix Documentaries 2017

My Favourite Netflix Documentaries 2017

One of my favourite activities from last month was watching Netflix documentaries. I can’t get enough of them.

I never used to watch documentaries and then I became a commuter. There are only so many programmes I can watch in the week. I can’t stomach soap operas. So that leaves me with Holby City, Saturday Night TV, and Bargain Hunt. Not really my cuppa.

I needed something else, something cultural. So, when Netflix added the download option I started downloading documentaries to watch on the train.

I became addicted. Netflix has a great selection of movies – but I’ve seen the majority of them. And the rest are of little interest to me. I am a culturally and academically interested person. I have a degree in History and Creative Writing. But having graduated I am missing that fundamental go-to in my life: education.

Because of this, I have been watching a lot of Netflix documentaries to learn more, and most documentaries on there are quite educational. Although, quite depressing.

Here are a few of the documentaries that moved me, and got me thinking.

The Hunting Ground

I remember Lady Gaga’s performance at the Oscars in 2016 like it was yesterday. The hair-raising moment of when the survivors of sexual assault stepped forward, together.

Rebelling about the injustices of the college systems in America. It shocked me. It appalled me. As a girl who recently graduated it really hit home how many students were attacked on campuses in America and were then penalised for it!

One of the culprits of rape – a heinous rape, with witnesses and obvious evidence – is now one of the leading NFL players in America. Nothing happened to him, at all. He got away with it. This documentary made me so angry! And rightly so. None of these students deserved what happened to them! And their schools let them down!

For the Love of Spock

Like most young adults I was never a Star Trek fan until the latest Star Trek movies came out. Much to my dad’s disappointment. I didn’t know who Leonard Nimoy was until he appeared in the new versions as Spock. Leonard Nimoy, by all accounts, was a good man. He wasn’t perfect, but he had an insane work ethic and did love his family. This is a documentary about his life, which started as a project between him and his son, but became something else when Leonard sadly passed away. This is a really lovely look at Leonard Nimoy’s life and the growth of Star Trek and how his role became a pivotal part of that favourite fantasy world.


This documentary made my stomach turn. It focuses on the life of a particular Killer Whale at Seaworld in Florida. Tillikum. He was captured as a baby – it’s on video – and it’s revolting. And then he was taken to Seaworld and ‘trained’ – more like abused – into being a show performer.

The facts about orcas in this documentary are horrifying. But what is more so is the cover-up of the deaths that Tillikum inflicted. He killed three people – two trainers and a tourist. Another trainer was also killed elsewhere.

The details of this documentary are not for the faint-hearted. There are videos of the last moments of one of the victims and it really is terrible. But whilst the whale killed them, it is not only the whale’s fault.

I think the next worst thing about this documentary is that I went to Seaworld when I was 10. I probably saw this whale ‘perform’. Never again. It’s sickening.

Audrie & Daisy

This is another documentary about the ridiculous rape culture of America and the penalization of the victim. This documentary focuses on two particular girls, who were victims of violent rape. Audrie and Daisy. They didn’t know each other – they had two different stories, with different endings. This is a detailed view of the effects of rape on the victims, as well as the lives of those around them. And also the long-term effects of public rape claims, trials and corrupt boards of policing. The Sherriff in this story should be fired without delay.

A Girl Like Her

This is a ‘film’ version of a real-life story. Focusing on the bully rather than the bullied. It is a fascinating look into the persona of young girls in high school. When a student attempts to kill herself, her best friend reveals that she was being severely bullied. He claims that they filmed the bullying as the bully was the ‘popular-can-do-no-wrong’ girl. The film is acted out by professional actors, and it runs like a film, but it is gripping and the ending is really surprising. It is very much worth a watch.

The Out List

A slightly more uplifting documentary on Netflix is the Out List. There are several versions of the out list, covering different genders and topics. But mostly it focuses on homosexuality, transgenderism, bisexuality and every different type of sexuality. In interview form with famous personalities. It is a discussion of the treatment people receive for their sexuality, both negative and positive. It’s uplifting and funny, well worth a watch.

And the Oscar Goes To…

As a total Oscar nerd, I loved this documentary. This is a tell-all look into the world of the Oscars, from as far back as its conception. With some highlighted speeches, looks into how the voting system works and why an Academy Award is called an Oscar. A great watch for anyone interested in films! Perfect for this month, with the Oscars only around the corner.


Not one for people who weep easily. This will destroy you. Newton was the place of the horrible attack on an elementary school in America. A suicidal gunman walked into a school and butchered an entire class of Year 1 students, teachers, and the principal. He did it with the speakerphone on over the whole school. So all the other pupils heard. This follows the parents of the child who died, as well as the community involved, as they try to instigate legislation for background checks to become compulsory before people are allowed to purchase guns. It is heartbreaking. But a powerful and important documentary.

My Beautiful Broken Brain

This is a documentary that follows 34-year-old Lottje Sunderland after she suffers a stroke. It tells her story, the story of her family as well as the outcome and aftermath of the traumatic experience.

She has to learn to speak, walk and communicate again and struggles on a daily basis. By all accounts, she was an incredibly intelligent, creative person who now struggles to remember if she has a niece or a nephew. Yet it always remains positive. This documentary looks at the studies into why strokes occur in young people and the treatments available. Lottje is honest about her experiences, and her fears, and whilst it’s raw story, it is also a beautiful one.

They are some of the Netflix Documentaries I have watched recently and think are worth a watch if you get a minute.

I wish they would include some ‘happier’ documentaries occasionally, but these are stories that do need to be told. And they are all effective in what they do!

Want to recommend a documentary to me? On Netflix or other sites? Let me know in the comments below! I’m running out of things to watch!

Love Ellie x Netflix

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