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Top 5 documentaries

Grace Hamilton
Documentaries are quintessential to a well-rounded film experience, tackling numerous themes – deconstructing the science behind natural disasters, downfalls of the education system, scientific phenomenons. Here are five must-watch documentaries that may deepen one’s perception of the world or simply stimulate diversity of thought.

As temperatures cool and leaves begin to turn orange, I can’t help but look forward to enjoying a good documentary. Streaming platforms such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video offer a plethora of documentaries. The appeal of documentaries lies in their intertwining of video clips, photographs, interviews and voiceovers to convey a story that transports viewers through a unique, authentic experience. In recent years, documentaries have become increasingly popular and regarded as evocative and educational.

Whether exploring the calamitous human impact on the depths of the ocean or delving into the college admissions scandal, indulging in a documentary from time to time is conducive to a full-fledged film experience. With myriad documentary programs to choose from – nature, true crime, sports, biographies – here are five must-see documentaries to add to your next movie night.

‘The Social Dilemma’

We are inundated with social media in our daily lives, from Instagram feeds to Snapchat conversations to tweets. “The Social Dilemma” uncovers the travesties and often imperceptible drawbacks to social media, a primary form of human networking. Knowledge from technological experts in the form of brief, engaging interviews permeates this documentary. These experts ultimately grapple with the intentional manipulation and deceitful tactics world-renowned platforms often utilize to hook their viewers.

As someone who tends to roll out of bed and immediately check my phone notifications, this documentary opened my eyes to the realities of social media and what actions I can take to actively resist them. With the ubiquity of social media, especially in recent years, users must become educated on its dangers. Thus, “The Social Dilemma” is a must-see, leaving viewers better equipped to identify and combat its challenges.

‘The Phenomenon’ 

Calling all science and mystery enthusiasts: finally, an in-depth documentary detailing the UFO phenomenon with accounts from a wide range of government officials and NASA astronauts, each offering a unique take on the enigmatic circumstances. 

Viewers are transported through testimonies and differing perspectives on the controversial UFO phenomenon – one of which many feel left in the dark. Perhaps the most notable appeal in “The Phenomenon” is the idiosyncrasy in the recounting of this unidentified aerial event. Masterfully narrated and exploring an interesting topic, “The Phenomenon” is a must-watch for everyone.

‘Kiss the Ground’

Climate change – and all of its tangible, very troublesome consequences – is one of the most pressing problems of our generation. Thus, learning about both individual and collective methods to preserve our planet before we cross the point of no return is crucial. 

Kiss the Ground” adeptly demonstrates how soil can be employed to prevent worsening the climate crisis. “Kiss the Ground” reiterates the notion that everyone has a hand in slowing climate change through maintaining biodiversity, specifically pertaining to soil well-being. This fascinating documentary unearths an incredibly important topic and what may be the key to aiding climate change efforts, rendering it the perfect option for a movie night.

‘The Game Changers’

The Game Changers,” a critically acclaimed and remarkably eye-opening documentary, dives into the brutal reality of the meat industry and its harmful contribution to carbon emissions in the atmosphere. Unlike the standard sanctimonious documentary one may stumble across on Netflix, “The Game Changers” may drastically alter viewers’ perspectives on meat consumption in an informative manner. 

“The Game Changers” follows James Wilks on his journey across the globe on a mission to understand meat, protein and their connection to strength. The documentary comprises experiences of elite athletes, soldiers and scientists to formulate a complete picture of meat and its involvement as well as impact on culture and lifestyle. Undoubtedly one of the best documentaries of the decade, this is a must-watch for everyone regardless of opinions on meat consumption. 


Nobody would have thought that a documentary on health care fraud could be remotely interesting. Yet, “Collective,” an evocative exposé on an event yielding unnecessary deaths in Romania, proves that assumption wrong. Described with information gathered from a courageous reporter, this documentary recounts the stories of the victims who perished in a nightclub fire due to remarkable neglect and corruption present within the country. 

Nearly 100 night-goers fell victim to an unexpected fire, yet the majority were deemed dead at the hospital days later as a consequence of secretly diluted disinfectant. “Collective” ultimately encapsulates fascinating aspects of both journalism and health care systems, the utmost importance of their role in society and the disastrous outcomes when circumstances take a turn. Captivating and powerful, “Collective” is an essential watch.

Grace Hamilton
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About the Contributor
Grace Hamilton, Editor-in-Chief
Grace Hamilton (’23) is the Editor-in-Chief of The Standard. Her love for writing stemmed into a passion for journalism, and she became involved with The Standard in Grade 9. Journalism provides her a powerful platform to inform the ASL community and learn more about local and global perspectives, issues and events. Outside of journalism, Hamilton leads the Sustainability Council, writes creatively and sails competitively.

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