We have had some rough days in the past year and the only takeaway from those times is that we have come out as stronger beings not only as individuals, but species as a whole. The past year has taught us that even though times can be challenging and uncertain, there is no adversity in the world stronger than our human spirit.
As such, we have come into the new year with a healthy mindset of expecting the worst but hoping and working for the best. There are times though, when these difficult times may be too much for us to handle, but art and entertainment is never far away to provide the perfect antidote. By reading this article you will be armed with the best documentaries that you can watch to start your year with the right note.
- Paris is burning
This exquisitely direct documentary by Jennie Livingston follows the LGBQT community of color in 1980s New York, as they go about finding ways to make ends meet in the most famous city of the world. Their struggles and attempts to help each other out is inspirational to say the least.
- Rush: Beyond the lighted stage
Even if you are not a fan of the eponymous rock group, on whom the documentary is based, you cant skip the inspirational stories the band members have to tell you, as they defied their critics and did their own thing.
- Tony Robbins: I’m not your Guru
This documentary follows Tony Robbins, a self-help guru in real life, as he conducts his seminars for big hot shots with big money. If you’re the type of person who would rather skip on the big money this documentary is a must for you. The motivation it provides is a given.
- Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr story
Whichever way you look at it, Hedy Lamarr was an inspiration, whether in taking risky and bold decisions on her life and career, being an inventor as a side hobby, or just being a plain rebel who didn’t take no for an answer. The documentary encapsulates all of that, and then some.
- 20 Feet from Stardom
If you’ve ever felt that the background singers in some of the most popular songs deserve a raise simply because they are not being recognized enough, this documentary is for you, as it celebrates the unsung heroes who have lent their voices to some of the most iconic rock songs of all time but have never had the same level of recognition. It’s a bold and brash take on how the industry has treated these unsung heroes.
- Free Solo
This 2017 documentary follows Alex Honnold, a daft mountain climber in his own right, climb the Yosemite National Park’s El Capitan peak. It might be easy to dismiss this piece as another adventure documentary, but the fact that Honnold does it without any safety harnesses or ropes makes it so much more inspirational and a thrilling adventure ride.
- Jiro dreams of Sushi
Jiro Ono is an inspiration just by being the man that he is, and although he is pushing his 80s, he’s still a force to be reckoned with in the food and culture realms of Japan. Dive into this documentary about him that explores his Tokyo restaurant and his perfect rendition of the culinary art.
- Crip Camp: A disability revolution
Its just a regular documentary showing kids in a summer school having a gala time. There’s a twist though. They are all disabled in some way or the another and the lessons and relationships they go through in such an environment are inspirational enough. What’s more, they grow up to become agents of change, to ensure disabled people don’t have to go through the same struggles as they did. It’s an unmissable and wholesome experience.
- Best worst thing that ever could happen
This is a musical documentary about two buddies who made it big in the 70s Broadway scene and then endured a torrid time in the 80s while experimenting with new stuff. Interspersed between these happenings was their ever-increasing toll on their friendship but the documentary in question does such a good job of capturing it all it feels like a totally wholesome experience. It’s a must-watch during your dark and brooding times.