30 Movies & Documentaries On Netflix You Didn't Know You'd Love
When it's getting colder outside or you just want to take a break from the busy-ness of the end of the year, your couch, TV, and Netflix account are there for you. While it seems that many people use Netflix as a way to binge-watch TV shows, with movies almost taking a back seat, there are many movies and documentaries on Netflix you didn't know you'd love, some of which you just might want to add to your must-watch list.
Netflix has movies and documentaries for just about anyone. If you're in the mood for comedy, romance, or drama, it has movies that'll fit the bill. If you'd prefer history, fashion, social justice, food, music, or other topics that'll teach you a little something along the way, Netflix can address that desire that as well. You're probably already well-aware that Netflix also has quite a bit of content for kids. Some of that even extends to the streaming service's documentary options; there are some that you can watch as an entire family.
Grab a blanket and pop some popcorn (and maybe add a mug of tea or cocoa or maybe a glass of wine) and shuffle over the couch to cue up Netflix. You have an awful lot of watching to do.
1. Gaga: Five Foot Two
This Netflix original documentary follows superstar Lady Gaga as she worked toward releasing her newest album while also getting ready to perform in the Super Bowl halftime show. It takes you behind the scenes and up-close, which will endlessly fascinate Gaga fans everywhere.
2. In Search Of Israeli Cuisine
James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Solomonov, who was born in Israel, grew up in Pittsburgh, and now owns Zahav in Philadelphia, takes viewers on a culinary tour in search of true Israeli cuisine. So much of the food made there has its roots elsewhere, so Solomonov went on a mission to find and define Israeli cuisine.
3. Diana: In Her Own Words
Unlike some of the other films that tell Princess Diana's story, this one uses recordings of interviews with Princess Diana, completed for the book about her life written by journalist Andrew Morton, to tell the story from her own point of view. The documentary was released in August of 2017 to coincide with the 20th anniversary of her death.
4. Tree Man
This documentary follows Francois, a "tree man" from Quebec, who is one of the many, many Christmas tree farmers who travel to New York City each year to set up tree lots and sell city-dwellers real Christmas trees. Some of his customers have been buying trees from him for years. It's the perfect thing to watch while sitting beside your own Christmas tree or if you've ever wondered what the month of December was like for those who have to travel to cities to sell their trees.
5. What Happened, Miss Simone?
This Netflix-produced documentary is all about the life and work of Nina Simone. Whether you're a fan of Simone herself or just love music in general, this will keep you interested from start to finish.
6. Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold
If you've ever read any of Joan Didion's work (or would like to, but haven't yet gotten around to it), this documentary about her personal and professional lives will give you all the background you need. Fun fact: according to IMDB, her nephew directed the film.
7. Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things
Ever considered getting rid of all of your excess stuff and embracing minimalism? (Did it happen while you were cleaning up or organizing? Me too.) Then you need to watch this documentary about what happens when you actually do just that.
8. Jiro Dreams Of Sushi
If you haven't seen this documentary about celebrated sushi chef Jiro Ono and his Tokyo restaurant, can I ask what, exactly, you're waiting for? Ono is often referred to as the best and most talented sushi chef in the world. Though he is quite old, there are plans for his restaurant, a destination for sushi lovers around the world, to live on with his son at the helm.
9. In Louboutin's Shoes
Louboutin shoes are perhaps the most iconic shoes in the world, known for their bright red bottoms. This BBC-produced documentary about Christian Louboutin, the man behind the iconic brand, also tells the story of his preparations to enter the Asian footwear markets after conquering much of Europe and North America.
In this Netflix-produced documentary, viewers see the opioid epidemic up close. Huntington, West Virginia, where the film is set, is, according to Netflix, the "overdose capital of America." This film tells the story of the people trying to help fight back.
11. Cuba And The Cameraman
Cameraman Jon Alpert visited Cuba many times over the course of many years to capture what was made into this film: several sides (though not all) of the story of what it was like in Cuba under Fidel Castro. The documentary follows three families over the course of nearly 50 years and captures quite a bit of history along the way.
This documentary by Ava Duvernay — so-named because of the Thirteenth Amendment, which formally banned slavery, "except as a punishment for crime" — examines how the amendment and its wording then led to mass incarceration, especially of people of color. Even if you think you know American history, you probably have much more to learn.
This documentary tells the story of the firefighters of Detroit, working tirelessly to protect and support their city. While many have discounted Detroit, these firefighters certainly have not.
14. Growing Up Wild
This family-friendly documentary shows viewers what it's like for five baby animals growing up in the wild — as opposed to zoos or other forms of captivity — and the kinds of obstacles they have to overcome to do so.
15. Cave Of Forgotten Dreams
Any history or art history buffs in the house? Then this documentary is for you. The film goes into the Chauvet caves in the southern part of France to explore what are considered to be the earliest drawings or visual depictions made by humans.
16. Forbidden Games: The Justin Fashanu Story
This documentary tells the very sad story of Justin Fashanu, the first openly gay professional soccer player. It was released about 20 years after his suicide, according to a Variety review of the film. Over the course of his life and career, he faced both racism and homophobia, though, according to the Variety review, he came out as gay in exchange for money from a tabloid. Ultimately, it's a look at an athlete with whom, likely, few in the United States are well-familiar.
17. Sour Grapes
This documentary tells the fascinating story about a young man who was considered a "wine-savant," an extremely knowledgable and talented collector and appraiser who sold wines to wealthy clients at very high prices. The only problem? They were counterfeit.
18. The True Cost
If you love fashion, this documentary is must-see. It tells the story of the fashion industry's impact on the people who make your clothing and their lives and also the impact that the industry has regarding sustainability. It won't be the happiest documentary you've ever seen, but it's important.
This documentary tells the story of two young women. One stumbles across a YouTube video of a woman who looks exactly like her and reaches out. As it turns out, both were adopted and look like identical twins. This is the story of their journey to find out more about who they are — and if they really were separated at birth.
20. Autism In Love
For those on the autism spectrum, it can be difficult to form solid relationships. This can be especially true of romantic relationships. This documentary gives viewers an inside look at what it's like trying to date and maintain relationships when you have an autism spectrum disorder.
21. The Details
This dramedy, starring Elizabeth Banks and Tobey Maguire, tells the story of a marriage in which seemingly everything goes wrong. The comedy is dark, for sure, and the story revolves around infidelity, murder, organ donation, and raccoons. Hooked yet?
22. A Royal Night Out
On V.E. Day, Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret are granted permission to go out and celebrate peace and the end of the war. However, the sisters decide that it's high time for them to have a bit of fun — maybe more than their parents were anticipating when they allowed them to leave — and they go AWOL. What will happen next?
23. While You Were Sleeping
Sandra Bullock, Peter Gallagher, and Bill Pullman star in this romantic comedy (and mid-90s classic). Bullock plays a Chicago Transit Authority token-taker who's fallen in love with Gallagher's character, Peter Callahan, who she's never technically met, but sees commuting every day. When Peter gets pushed onto the tracks and, after being saved by Bullock's character, Lucy, ends up in a coma, Lucy realizes that it's actually his brother Jack who suits her in real life.
24. The Great Gilly Hopkins
Gilly Hopkins is only 12 years old and has been in and out of a series of foster homes her entire life. When she moves in with Maime Totter (played by Kathy Bates), however, Gilly might not be able to be as rebellious as she's always been.
25. The Last Five Years
Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan star in this movie musical, based on the musical play, about a couple recounting their years-long romance. If you were a fan of the far too short-lived (in my opinion) NBC show Smash, then you'll recognize Jordan for sure.
26. To The Bone
Netflix original To The Bone tells the story of 20-year-old Ellen, who has anorexia nervosa, while she's receiving treatment at a group home with a somewhat unconventional doctor. This film was made in collaboration with individuals who actually have eating disorders, which is important to know before watching because it can be too difficult for some to watch.
27. Trouble With The Curve
Amy Adams stars as a daughter trying to reconnect with her older, sick father, played by Clint Eastwood, who was a celebrated baseball scout, by assisting him with what could potentially end up being his last professional trip. Justin Timberlake is also in the film.
28. Welcome To Me
Kristen Wiig and James Marsden star in this movie about a woman who wins the lottery, goes off her psychiatric medications, and launches her own morning talk show. It's a quirky comedy for when you're feeling like something a little bit different.
29. Already Tomorrow In Hong Kong
Ruby, played by Jamie Chung, and Josh, played by Bryan Greenberg, meet in Hong Kong and sparks immediately fly. As is so often the case, however, the timing isn't quite right and the two go their separate ways. That might not be all that fate has in store for them, though.
Lizzy Caplan, Kirsten Dunst, and Isla Fisher star in this off-beat comedy as three women who are asked to be bridesmaids in co-star Rebel Wilson's character's wedding. Normal, right? Well, the three bridesmaids-to-be used to pick on the bride back in high school. It's sure to be an interesting wedding.
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