10 of the Best: Documentaries on Netflix

‘The problem with binge-watching on Netflix is that you lose three days of your life’ Harland Williams

Since the great Sky TV Debacle of 2009 where we weren’t allowed out of our contract the day before it was due to expire even though Dave was leaving the country to ride to Mongolia on his motorbike we’ve kept our TV simple. Freeview all the way.

It’s been made extremely well known that I love a documentary almost as much as I love The Real World (which when you think about it is kind of like a documentary show anyway, if you think really hard) and all the good docs are on Netflix. But we don’t have Netflix. You see the bind I’m in.

Enter big brother Gary and sister in law Ruth who do have Netflix and very kindly let me log in and use one of their profiles. Suddenly my TV world was open to more than I ever imagined possible and my autumn Sundays have now been taken over by hours and hours of blissful binge watching. So here are the top 10 documentaries I’ve found on Netflix that are definitely worth a watch if you have it (or have a sibling who has it)

Amanda Knox (2016)

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The most up to date documentary about the famous case surrounding the murder of British student Meredith Kercher in Italy and Amanda Knox (Meredith’s roommate at the time)’s involvement. I guess the documentary serves as Amanda’s chance to tell her side of the story however how successful she is in convincing the audience that she had nothing to do with it? I’ll leave that for you to decide.

Audrie and Daisy (2016)

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Two high school girls form different towns in America pass out drunk and are sexually assaulted by boys they know. Part of the perpetrators sentencing (if you want to call it that) is that they participate anonymously in this documentary offering their version of events. Much like Making a Murderer this highlights the injustice of the American legal system specifically how lenient the sentences are on account of the boys’ age.

Hannibal Takes Edinburgh (2016)

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Follow American comedian Hannibal Buress as he embarks on his first ever season at the notorious Edinburgh comedy festival where he performs 2 shows a day for the best part of the month. While at first he does come across as a whingy ungrateful American who just complains about everything, we get to see the evolution of his sets, the highs and lows, the shows, the jokes he tries out for the first time and tanks, the homesickness, and a sense of Fringe atmosphere. While it focuses almost completely on Hannibal’s material, you dont particularly need to be a fan to enjoy the film, even if his (sometimes crude) jokes aren’t for you, it’s a good behind the scenes insight to a national institution we rarely get to see.

Fed Up (2014)

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Kind of think Super Size me but a bit more talky and not just focused on McDonalds. Very much about the obesity epitemic in America but I’m guessing it could easily be applied to the UK too. Ever wondered why there are  more ‘fat free’ or ‘low fat’ products on the market now than has ever been before yet there are also more obese kids than ever before? A coinkidink? Could these fat free products not actually be all they seem? Joking aside it’s an interesting watch and what’s even more interesting is the brands and companies that refused to take part.

Kids for Cash (2013)

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Another judicial scandal that rocked America. This time a corrupt judge who was receiving backhanders for sending juveniles to private detention facilities for seemingly minor petty crimes such as swearing at a neighbour or being drunk at a party. The film follows the kids who were unfairly sentenced as they try and rebuild their lives after spending time in kid jail and the two judges who refer to acknowledge that they did anything wrong. Turns out it’s more than just a story of corruption and the ending will leave you feeling pretty distraught for a couple of the families involved.

Making a Murderer (2015)

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Documentary series rather than documentary film nonetheless if you haven’t watched this modern phenomenon yet then where’ve you been? Wisconsin man Steven Avery is exonerated after spending nearly two decades in prison for a rape crime he didn’t commit, and subsequently  files a law suit against Manitowoc County. Shortly after, however, Steven is accused of the murder of 25-year-old photographer Teresa Halbach. Despite bedwetting evidence that Steven had nothing to do with the murder he finds himself behind bars again, and you’ll find yourself throwing things at the TV for 7 hours at the injustice of all

Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine (2013)

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It’s a case that shocked a nation and lead to tighter legislation on the conviction of hate crime perpetrators. At age 21 Matt Shepard was brutally attacked, tortured and eventually murdered for being gay. This is the heartbreaking story of Matt’s early life, coming to terms with his sexuality, his horrific murder and the eventual aftermath. It’s a tough watch in places, so absolutely not for the faint hearted, however offers a very frank look into how cases of this nature are handled in the US court system.

The Hunting Ground (2015)

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This documentary focuses on the stories of two young college girls who are violently raped during their first few weeks of attending school. Shocking in itself are the descriptions of what happen to them however what is even more shocking is the way the schools handle the accusations and try and deter the girls from involving the police or taking their complaints any further. I defy anyone to watch a scene of a large gang of college boys chanting ‘no means yes; yes means anal’ outside an all girls dormitory and not what to throw your TV at their dirty, ugly, misogynistic faces.

Twinsters (2015)

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A young French university student stumbles across a Youtube video and recognizes the face in it, her own. She sends a message to the American actress in the video and the pair discover that they were in fact separated at birth and adopted by different families on different sides of the Atlantic. The story follows their initial contact, their first ever meeting and their journey to South Korea to try and find their birth mother.

Who Took Johnny (2014)

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Johnny Gosch went missing one morning during his paper round and despite a few witnesses and even a convicted criminal admitting involvement in his disappearance there’s somehow a reluctance from the police department to follow any leads. Possibly due to Johnny’s mother’s demeanor, which is odd to say the least however the twist in the story comes years later when Johnny’s mother receives shocking pictures of young boys bound and gagged suggesting that what happened to Johnny may be more terrifying than first thought. It’s one of those films that will genuinely leave you wondering who to believe, and what the hell happened to Johnny?!

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